Kalamazoo Community Foundation invites former astronaut to Community Meeting

The first woman of color in space, Mae Jemison, M.D., will be the keynote speaker at Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s 2017 Community Meeting. She will speak at 7 p.m. March 23 at Western Michigan University’s Miller Auditorium. 

Jemison, who trained as an engineer and then became a physician before joining NASA, was a mission specialist on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. In her talk – titled “Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential” – she will speak about her dreams of becoming an astronaut while growing up on the southside of Chicago.  

She will also talk about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and the need for increased participation of women and minorities in science and technology.

Jemison is at the forefront of integrating physical and social sciences with art and culture to solve problems and foster innovation. She uses her experience to build global initiatives and advocacy to generate radical leaps in knowledge and social responsibility. More information is available at her website here.

Jemison was a Peace Corps doctor serving in Sierra Leone and Liberia before spending six years as a NASA astronaut. She founded the international science camp, The Earth We Share, and is currently leading the 100 Year Starship, an initiative for human interstellar flight within the next 100 years. 

She founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, named in honor of her mother and dedicated to improving student science achievement. She also founded The Jemison Group, a technology consulting firm, and BioSentient Corporation, a medical technology devices and services company.

Her memoir, Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life, is geared for teenage readers, and she is the author of four books for students, third grade through middle school: The 100 Year Starship, Exploring Our Sun, Journey Through Our Solar System, and Discovering New Planets.

“Dr. Jemison’s inspirational story illustrates the barriers she had to overcome simply because of her race and gender and how those barriers unfortunately still exist,” says Carrie Pickett-Erway, president/CEO, Kalamazoo Community Foundation.  "We’re hopeful her visit will inspire our youth and the community-at-large."
The Community Meeting is also part of University Center for the Humanities at WMU’s 2016-2017 speaker series: Science and the Human Endeavor. Registration is free and open to the public. However, the Community Foundation requests that attendees register here. Parking at the Miller Auditorium ramp will be free.
“This will be a unique family event that can add to conversations about how we can make our community a place where every person can reach full potential,“ Pickett-Erway says.

Source: Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Photos Courtesy of NASA

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