Over the weekend I came across one of the new 2017 Lego pieces featuring a woman named Mae Jemison. Jemison was born in Alabama, in 1956, and moved to Chicago when she was three years old. She entered kindergarten knowing how to read, and when teachers asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said a scientist.
Jemison was a bright student, exceling in her studies, as well as pursuing opportunities as a dancer. She entered Stamford University at the age of just 16, graduating four years later having completed the requirements for both a Bachelor of Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts. She got a medical degree four years later from Cornell Medical College and became a general practitioner. She traveled to Cuba, Kenya and Thailand to provide medical care, and then served as a Peace Corps Medical Officer in Liberia and Sierra Leone. And then, after achieving so many amazing accolades, Jemison was inspired by the flight of Sally Ride – the youngest American astronaut to travel to space. She was accepted to NASA’s astronaut program in 1987. Five years later, she was the first African-American woman to travel in space on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Today, she is retired, but still teaches at Cornell, and is the current Principal of the 100 Year Starship Organization.
Jemison has been a strong advocate for a more comprehensive education connection between arts and science – pushing for a vision of learning that combines arts and sciences, intuition and logic.
“The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin even, or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”
One of the things I love about what we do in Impact Network schools, is that it does just that. While learning how to add and subtract, students often learn about how to care for their environment. While piecing together how to read, they are also creating artwork. While figuring out the parts of a flower, they are also learning about the origin of light. When is the last time we did that as adults?
-Reshma Patel, Executive Director