Sunday, February 21, 2016
Science Pioneers: Mae Jemison and Charles Drew
As the first female African American astronaut,
Mae C Jemison definitely earns her spot on the list of STEM pioneers. Throughout her life, Jemison was interested in STEM fields and received a degree in chemical engineering from Stanford. She worked in the Peace Corps for several years before pursuing her dream of being an astronaut. Jemison became the first African American woman in space in 1992 and subsequently won a variety of awards. Her legacy continues today as her path has paved the way for women and minorities to pursue careers in STEM and in space. Since Jemison, there have been five other African American women astronauts — Stephanie Wilson, Joan Higginbotham, Yvonne Cagle, and Jeanette Epps. Wilson and Higginbotham have travelled to space.
|Euphemia Lofton Hayes|
Charles Drew is remembered for his efforts in processing and storing blood. Drew worked hard for his achievements, going to college on a sports scholarship and working as a teacher and coach to afford medical school. He studied blood and developed the best way to dry and use plasma, earning him his doctorate degree and making him the first African American to receive a doctorate from Columbia. During WWII, Drew helped run the campaign ‘Blood for Britain’ and later worked for the American Red Cross as well. He soon quit his position at the Red Cross because of the organisation’s policy on segregating blood based on race. Until the end of his life in 1950, Drew remained highly respected and honoured in the medical community and is known as a father of blood banks.
Patricia Bath was the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent. From a young age, Bath was interested in STEM fields and her parents encouraged her by buying her a chemistry set and discussing travel and different opportunities and cultures. She worked hard and excelled in school, ultimately studying ophthalmology, a branch of medicine dealing with the eye, at Columbia. She went on to become the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. Bath championed the belief that eyesight is a basic human right and created a more precise way of removing cataracts. Her creation, the Laserphaco Probe, helped many patients who suffered from blindness finally regain eyesight.
|The ‘Black Edison’ Granville Woods|
Often nicknamed the ‘Black Edison’,
Granville T Woods is responsible for many technological advances that we take for granted today. Though he registered over 60 patents throughout his life, Woods is best remembered for his work with railroads and the telegraph. Woods started his career as a railroad engineer and held a variety of STEM-related jobs. His most important invention was his induction telegraph. The invention allowed people to communicate vocally through telegraph wires and prevent train collisions. Thomas Edison challenged the patent but Woods prevailed. The inventor died in 1910 but leaves a powerful legacy in the continued use of his technology.
If you grew up having water fights with your friends, you can thank
|Stephanie D. Wilson|
Lonnie Johnson, the inventor of the Super Soaker water gun. Johnson grew up tinkering with inventions and ideas. In high school, he won a science fair held at the University of Alabama as the only minority student competing. He went on to study nuclear and electrical engineering. He served in the Air Force before joining NASA, where he developed his now famous water gun as a side project. Johnson has acquired multiple patents and has many inventions – some successful, some failed – to his name, but none has surpassed the popularity of the Super Soaker, which ranks as one of the top toys around the world.
Lilia Abron is a significant STEM pioneer in the field of engineering. In 1972, she became the first African American woman to receive a doctorate in chemical engineering. She went on to teach and also create an engineering firm to protect the environment. Abron shares her passion for engineering with students and promotes STEM at elementary and middle schools. more