Dr. Mae Jemison to Speak at 2016 Power of the Purse®

The first African-American woman in space, Dr. Mae Jemison, is the featured speaker for the 12th Annual Power of the Purse® taking place Tuesday, May 24, at the Expo Center at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville. Reservations can be made beginning in March.

"Dr. Jemison is a scientist, a medical doctor, an astronaut, a dancer, a role model and a dedicated STEM advocate," said Elizabeth Brazas. "We are delighted that she will bring her message of education, empowerment and achievement to Western North Carolina next May.

Dr. Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut. In 1992, she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-47, a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. She performed experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness.

Because of her love of dance and as a salute to creativity, Jemison took a poster from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with her on the flight."Many people do not see a connection between science and dance," says Jemison."I consider them both to be expressions of the boundless creativity that people have to share with one another."Jemison also took several small art objects from West African countries to symbolize that space belongs to all nations as well as a photo of Bessie Coleman, the very first African-American woman to ever fly an airplane.

Prior to her work with NASA, Jemison was an Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia. She earned her M.D. from Cornell University and practiced medicine in Los Angeles. She is currently leading the 100 Year Starship, an initiative exploring human interstellar space travel, and is the founder and president of two medical technology companies. Jemison is a strong, committed voice for science literacy and a sought after speaker on health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation.