Last Tuesday evening, after their normally scheduled lab time at Aurora Flight Sciences, the girls and mentors from Rocket Team headed over to Lesley University to meet the inspiring Dr. Mae Jemison. Dr. Jemison was being hosted by Lesley University as part of their Creativity Forum. The first African American woman in space, Dr. Jemison has spent her career inspiring children across the globe to engage in STEM fields. As a dancer, she is passionate about infusing the arts into STEM, encouraging students to use both intuition and logic in their educational pursuits. We were thrilled that she was able to take the time to snap a photo with the girls and share a one-on-one moment with them at the end of the talk.
Rocket Team is one of Science Club for Girls’ “Challenge Teams”, where the girls design and build their own rocket to enter in the national Team America Rocketry Challenge. They work throughout the school year on the project with mentors from their host company, Aurora Flight Sciences.
Dr. Jemison was at Lesley to speak about her new project, the 100 Year Starship, a program determined to make human interstellar travel possible within the next 100 years. Alyssa, a student involved in both Rocket Team and the Internships Program at Science Club, had this to say about the event:
“The talk from Dr. Jemison was definitely one of the most interesting things I was present for in the past few years. Being able to hear from such a pioneer of space research was inspirational and changed the way a lot of people, myself included, thought about the world. The fact that she was a woman was also incredible, since it is more difficult to find great female role models. All in all, the experience was unforgettable and I hope to see her again in the future!”
Alyssa’s words harken back to the recent book launch party that we hosted for Penny Noyce’s new book, Magnificent Minds: 16 Pioneering Women in Medicine and Science. Having female role models in STEM allows girls to really see themselves in the field, and Mae Jemison is particularly influential in this respect.
Angelica Cardona, an engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences and a mentor for Rocket Team, found the following quote from the talk especially poignant:
“…Life and science are both manifestations of creativity – Dr. Jemison”
Angelica goes on to say:
“This quote from her, which seemed to be the main theme of her lecture, is a feeling and statement that I directly relate to. She basically put into words a personal mantra and life outlook I’ve carried with me since I was very young, trying to blend together my passions for the sciences (in the form of engineering and a fascination with space exploration) and for the arts (for me specifically in the form of creating music through composition).
Overall, it was a great honor to meet and greet one of the main inspirations of my life, as a young woman of color who read about her around the age of 12, aspired to be and now is a rocket scientist, and is still aiming for the stars, literally! (I still want to be an astronaut!)”
Thanks for sharing, Alyssa & Angelica!
If you are interested in more of the Challenge Teams that Science Club has to offer, don’t miss the chance to check out our Internship Program girls at the upcoming Cambridge Science Festival!
—Brandy A. Freitas, STEM Internships and Challenge Team Manager