When astronaut Mae Jemison saw actress Nichelle Nichols portray Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, her life was changed forever. Seeing an African-American role model helped steer Jemison toward a goal – she was determined to join NASA and become an astronaut. Years later, Jemison achieved her goal when she made history as the first African-American woman to go into space with the U.S. space program.
Jemison’s accomplishment had positive ripple effects, and now she is cited as a source of inspiration for so many African-American students who are themselves reaching for the stars, but Jemison is not alone. There are many African-American physical scientists, such as Jedidah Isler, Hakeem Oluseyi, Chandra Precod-Weinstein, Sylvester James Gates, Tabbetha Dobbins, JC Holbrook and so many others, who are doing important scientific work and also influencing countless students.
AIP is so proud to celebrate Black History Month. Visibility and representation matter, and one small act – such as seeing a role model achieve success – can have lasting effects on a person’s future.
During February, AIP is committing itself to highlighting resources and materials that celebrate the accomplishments of African-American scientists. Follow along and join the conversation here.