Happy Birthday, Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman in space!

800px-Mae_Jemison_in_SpaceToday is the birthday of Mae C. Jemison, the firs African-American woman to go into space! But that’s only one of her many accomplishments…

Born on October 17, 1956, in Deactur Alabama, Mae C. Jemison graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University, where she also completed the requirements for a B.A. in  African and Afro-American Studies. She then got her MD at Cornell University.  Jemison then worked as the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia.

NASA selected Jemison for the astronaut program in 1987.  And in 1992, she was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab-J, an 8-day long shared mission between the U.S. and Japan.

As if that’s not enough, she is a member of the American Chemical Society, Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of Space Explorers; an honorary Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; a board member of World Sickle Cell Foundation, American Express Geography Competition; and an honorary board member of the Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition. She is also a clinical Teaching Associate at the University of Texas Medical Center.

According to Jemison’s NASA page, Jemison’s, “recreational interests include traveling, graphic arts, photography, sewing, skiing, collecting African Art, languages (Russian, Swahili, Japanese), weight training,” and she has “an extensive dance and exercise background and is an avid reader.”

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Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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