Mae Jemison is cool as shit. Let me tell you why: not only was she the first African American woman to travel in space, but she also had a great sense of humour and never let anyone dissuade her from pursuing a career in science.
“In kindergarten, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her a scientist,” Jemison says. “She said, ‘Don’t you mean a nurse?’ Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a nurse, but that’s not what I wanted to be.” (Haynes, Karima A. “Mae Jemison: coming in from outer space”, Ebony, December 1992.)
Jemison got a medical degree from Cornell university, and spent two years abroad with the Peace Corps. working in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as doing vaccine research with the CDC. Jemison is also a badass because she never gave a damn about the conventional hierarchy. She went to space in 1992, and then resigned from NASA when she returned in 1993 to pursue more philosophical applications of social science and technology. Oh, and did I mention she also built a dance studio in her home and has choreographed and produced several jazz and African dance shows?
She is also the first real astronaut to make a cameo appearance in an episode of Star Trek.
So the next time your trajectory seems to be heading down an unconventional path and it scares you, just think of Mae Jemison and remember not to let other people’s expectations crowd your judgment.
p.s. This post is part of a weekly series I do of free wallpapers featuring one of my photos and a famous quote. Click on the image above to download the full-sized wallpaper.