By Allison LanteroMae Jemison went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor on September 12, 1992 and became the first African American woman in space. She is also a trained medical doctor, served as a Medical Officer in the Peace Corps and currently runs BioSentient Corp, a medical technology company.

Here are some other facts about the inspiring Mae Jemison you might not know:

1. Dr. Jemison is a trained dancer — she built a dance studio in her home and even brought a poster from her dance school on her space mission. But when she was debating whether to go to medical school after college or become a professional dancer her mother advised her, “You can always dance if you’re a doctor, but you can’t doctor if you’re a dancer.”

2. She began college at Stanford University to study chemical engineering when she was only 16 years old.

3. Jemison faced many roadblocks to her dreams of pursuing science. Once, when Jemison said she wanted to be a scientist when she grew up, her teacher asked if she meant a nurse. She later founded The Earth We Share (TEWS), an international science camp that encourages science literacy for all.

4. She’s afraid of heights, but she didn’t let that stop her from going into space. She says she relied on the strength of her ego to push forward.

5. She was on an episode of Star Trek! Jemison began each of her shifts in space by saying, “Hailing frequencies open,” a reference to Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. In 1993, Jemison appeared in her own episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as Lieutenant Palmer.

The beautiful illustration of Mae Jemison that leads this piece is by Carly Wilkins, Multimedia Designer Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy. It is available as a free download here.

About The Author
allison_lanteroAllison Lantero is a Digital Content Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to joining the DOE, Allison worked at the Dept. of Transportation. In her spare time she enjoys trivia, reading, and exploring D.C. She hails from Chicago and is currently in search of a decent Italian beef sandwich in D.C.

This article previously ran on and was originally republished on Women You Should Know on October 17, 2016 with the express permission of the author.