The Women’s Leadership Institute continued with the extraordinary women lecture series featuring Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. Dr. Mae Jemison presenting her lecture, “On Fear, Audacity, and the Importance of Inclusion,” at the AU Hotel and Conference Center at 4 p.m. with a book signing after the lecture. (Photo, NASA)
Dr. Mae Jemison’s lecture was the sixth in the series presented by the University Leadership Institution in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University. This lecture series provides students and the general public the opportunity to interact with and be inspired by outstanding women leaders. Women’s Leadership Instituted executive director, Barbara Baker said, “the institute decided to bring Dr. Jemison as part of its shared efforts with University Outreach and the newly formed Tuskegee Auburn Women’s Leadership Alliance.”
The two universities are co-sponsoring the lecture as a way of promoting interaction with extraordinary women. “We reached out broadly on campus for support and collaboration so that we could provide our students, faculty, and community with the opportunity to interact with a truly extraordinary woman on a timely topic of relevance,” Baker said.
Dr. Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut and made her historic flight aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. This not only qualifies her as an extraordinary woman but also a pioneer. Jemison founded the 100 Year Starship as a means to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel. Jemison has a background in many subjects that makes her a qualified to lecture students. A medical doctor, Peace Corp Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College are a few of Jemison’s accomplishments making her qualified to speak on the topic of inclusion. (Photo, NASA)
Women’s Leadership Institute’s partnership with AU Outreach led Baker and director of faculty engagement, Chippewa Thomas, to invite several colleges and significant programs on campus to participate in the signature event of the AU Outreach / TAWLA Symposium. “We are delighted that so many units across campus have elected to engage in our outreach mission,” Thomas said.
Jemison had the crowd engaged in her lecture through humor and relating the topics to the audience. The audience ranged from a little girl dressed in an astronaut suit to senior citizens all joined together to enjoy Jemison’s lecture on inclusion. After a question and answer segment, she took photos with audience members including members of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“Empowerment comes in three steps,” Jemison said. “First, you have to believe you have something to contribute, then you have to believe you have the right to empowerment, and then you have to do it.”
(Photo credit: Davin Cobb)