WMU News

Astronaut Mae Jemison is lead speaker in science and math series

August 4, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- The nation's first African-American female astronaut will deliver a keynote address for an Aug. 12-14 seminar at Western Michigan University that will focus on helping Michigan educators improve the mathematics and science achievement levels of minority students.

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, who made history in 1992 when she traveled into space as a member of the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor, will speak at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, in the Kirsch Auditorium of the Fetzer Center. Her talk is part of the three-day event called "Goals 2000 Mathematics and Science Seminar Series." The free public series is expected to attract teachers and administrators from around the state to hear speakers that include some of the country's leading figures in science and mathematics education.

Jemison is now a professor of environmental studies and director of the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries at Dartmouth College. The institute promotes and implements sustainable technology for the developing world through collaborative projects with governments, private agencies, universities and private industry.

Jemison, who is a fierce advocate of public education, was honored by the Detroit Public Schools in 1992 with the naming of a science magnet school in her honor. She is a member of the National Women's Hall of Fame and the National Medical Association's Hall of Fame. She has been named to Ebony magazine's list of 50 most influential women as well as People magazine's 1993 list of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World."

Prior to traveling in space, Jemison earned a medical degree from Cornell University, served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia and practiced medicine in Los Angeles. She served for six years as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Other keynote addresses for the "Goals 2000" series will include:

A talk on "Balancing Standards and Culture: Transforming Leadership" by Dr. Terrence E. Deal, professor of educational leadership at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College. Deal, the author of the best-selling book, "Leading with Soul: an Uncommon Journey of Spirit," will speak on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m. in the Kirsch Auditorium.

A discussion of the role of superintendents, central office administrators and school principals in providing vision, resources and leadership to solve the problem of academic underachievement of disadvantaged students, by Dr. George J. McKenna III, deputy superintendent of instruction for the Compton (Calif.) Unified School District, at 10 a.m. Friday, also in the Kirsch Auditorium. McKenna, whose work has been highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, the "CBS Evening News" and "Nightline," successfully changed an inner-city high school plagued by low achievement and violence into a model school that sends 80 percent of its graduates on to college.

Afternoon speakers for the series will be Robert Moses, founder of the Algebra Project Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.; Mozell P. Lang, science education consultant with he Michigan Department of Education; Dr. Brenda Earhart, assistant director of the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center; Dr. J. Arthur Jones, senior associate for the Quality Education for Minorities Network in Washington, D.C.; Dr. Sharon Lewis, director of research at the Council of the Great City Schools in Washington, D.C.; Dr. Carol E. Malloy, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Dr. Martin E. Orland, associate commissioner for data development and longitudinal studies at the National Center for Education Statistics.

All sessions will be held in the Fetzer Center. Morning sessions will run from 10 a.m. to noon each day. Afternoon sessions are set for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. daily.

The series is a collaborative effort by WMU's Institute for Leadership Transformation and the Michigan African-American Superintendents Association. Series events are free and open to the public but persons wishing to attend must register by calling Pamela Somerville in the Institute for Leadership Transformation at (616) 387-8370.

For more information about the series, persons should call Dr. Lynn C. Todman, associate director of the Institute for Leadership Transformation at the above number.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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