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This month, the American Board Teacher Diversity Fund Strong Role Models Campaign is focusing on strong African-American role models in honor of Black History Month.  This week on the American Board website, we’re featuring Mae Jemison. Her story is a fascinating one and worth sharing with students.

Mae Jemison was born in 1956 in Decatur, Alabama. From an early age, she knew that she wanted to be involved in science. However, she discovered that women had obstacles presented to them at the time to go into science. In an interview in Ebony Magazine, she stated, “In kindergarten, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her a scientist.” The teacher asked her if she meant that she wanted to be a nurse, but she insisted she wanted to be a scientist.

And she ended up one of the premiere scientists of any color or gender of the 20th century. After receiving her degree in chemical engineering from Stanford, she completed medical school at Cornell.

She made history by becoming the first African-American woman in space when she served as a Mission Specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. She also served as launch support for multiple other missions. Since her mission, she founded a science camp in honor of her mother, who taught English and math in Chicago, and serves as a professor-at-large at Cornell.

Mae Jemison, with her perseverance and commitment to science, serves as a great role model for future scientists everywhere. She shows children of all races that they can reach for the stars!

More information on Mae Jameson can be found on her website at:

To contribute to the American Board Teacher Diversity Fund Strong Role Models Campaign, to help aspiring teachers who want to be strong role models, visit