Astronaut speaks at Carleton

Mae Jemison seeks to inspire other women and minorities in STEM


Marta Hill

Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to travel to space, speaks at a convocation at Carleton College Oct. 26

Marta Hill

After hearing Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to travel to space, speak, sophomore Bella Steward said the most empowering aspect of the program was how applicable Jemison’s message is to her own life.

“My favorite part was when (Jemison) spoke. She is really inspirational, and as a woman of color, it was really inspirational to see that she can thrive,” Steward said. “I want to be in STEM fields too, so I just really took that to heart.”

According to chemistry teacher Alexander Polk, the field trip Oct. 26 to Carleton College was inspirational because of the messages she imparted.

“My take away from her talk was that we have to work for tomorrow to create a better world today,” Polk said. “To me, that was really impactful and made me think.”

Polk said he hopes students did not see the field trip as just a way to skip school.

“I hope the students found it beneficial and took something away from it besides just getting out of school for a day,” Polk said. “I really hope they took something of long-lasting value that can have a positive impact on them.”

According to Polk, the field trip’s environment was rewarding for students.

“To me it was pretty awesome. I hope that was the perspective of everybody else,” Polk said. “It was really cool to have that group of students get to experience that kind of setting, at a pretty good school and to be able to see what it’s like to be at that school.”

Steward said Jemison was a good speaker because she is very dedicated to her job.

“She really (is)involved in her job, and you could tell that she’s not just in it to be famous, you could tell that she is super passionate about it,” Steward said.

Polk said students got to hear from Carleton students who may share some background with them, and that it was powerful to hear everyone speak.

“To be able to hear from that panel of five students, and then from a ground-breaking astronaut is an incredible opportunity,” Polk said.

According to Polk, one of the student panelists who spoke to Park students talked about her experiences with imposter syndrome, and he hopes that Park students learn that if they work for something, they deserve it.

“I really hope that people take away that nobody can take away from you what you have earned,” Polk said. “It’s not about you being gifted a college, it’s not about you being gifted a job, because you are a student of color, because you are a female, because you are living in a different area, it’s because you have earned it and you busted your butt for it.”