Black History Month: Inspiring STEM Pioneers

Often overlooked, these people have made incredible contributions to our world

Black History Month: Inspiring STEM Pioneers

In celebration of Black History Month, check out some of the most inspiring STEM pioneers throughout history!

Science Pioneers: Mae Jemison and Charles Drew

Mae Jemison 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 three other African American women astronauts.

Charles Drew 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 organization’s policy on segregating blood based on race. Until the end of his life in 1950, Drew remained highly respected and honored in the medical community and is known as a father of blood banks.

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