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First African-American woman to travel into space, Dr Mae Jemison receives UCD honorary degree

Dr Mae Jemison, the American engineer, physician, and first African-American woman to travel into space has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering by UCD College of Engineering & Architecture.

She was conferred with the honour at the university's graduation ceremony in the company of hundreds of students who were receiving their degrees.

"Dr Mae Jemison epitomises what a global and inter-stellar explorer should be: she thinks, makes, and moves beyond boundaries of time and space, beyond silos of academic disciplines, beyond expectations and social or even scientific norms. She embodies a much-needed optimism and spirit of adventure, driving and informing her determination to succeed not only for her own sake but also for all humanity and for the sake of the Earth itself," said UCD Professor Lizbeth Goodman who delivered the citation at the award ceremony today.

Dr Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut. She was the first woman of colour to go into space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour (1992) on a joint space shuttle mission with the Japanese space agency.

Trained as an engineer, social scientist and dancer, Jemison, also and perhaps mainly a practicing medical doctor, served as the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia.

She was the first actual astronaut to appear on the Star Trek TV series. And she is also the inspiration for a LEGO figurine in the LEGO Women of NASA kit.

She is an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame (US), the National Medical Association Hall of Fame (US), the Texas Science Hall of Fame, and the International Space Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service, the National Organisation for Women’s Intrepid Award, and the Kilby Science Award.

Dr Jemison is Bayer Corporation USA’s Making Science Make Sense® chief ambassador. She authored ‘Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life and the ‘True Books’ series on space exploration. She is a series host of National Geographic’s ‘One Strange Rock’ and space operations advisor for its global miniseries, ‘Mars’.

She started The Jemison Group, Inc. a technology consulting firm integrating critical socio-cultural issues into the design of engineering and science projects.

In 1994, Dr Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share™, a program of the non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence which designs and implements STEM education experiences impacting thousands of students and hundreds of teachers worldwide.

LOOK UP!, also led by Jemison, focuses the attention of people all around the world, on a single day, to weave a global tapestry of what we individually and collectively see, feel, think, love, fear, offer, need and hope, as we look up at the sky.

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