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Mae Jemison was just beginning hers. Born in Alabama in 1956, Jemison grew up in Chicago and was involved heavily in dance yet also held a fascination with science.
She graduated from Stanford University with a chemical engineering degree in 1977 and received her medical degree from Cornell Medical College four years later. After holding a brief medical practice, Jemison took time off to serve in the Peace Corps, which is when she discovered she was accepted into the NASA program.