“As a child I thought that becoming an astronaut was the coolest thing but one of the most impossible”. A couple decades and a PhD later, former CIA agent, Jeanette Epps became the first black female astronaut assigned to space. She was pulled out months before launch but this setback by no means mars her sterling, professional track record.
A twin, Jeannette was raised by parents whose backgrounds were not in science. She was encouraged to take part in several Maths and Science programs. Epps graduated with a degree in Physics and eventually earned her doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. It was’t only academic competence that helped to get her this far. She fondly recalls the constant encouragement from family. Her older sister often told her “Well, you’re intelligent enough to do this. You’re smart enough to do this. You can do it.” From hearing positive words to daily admiring a poster of her childhood hero, Mae Jemison,** Jeanette Epps is now the childhood hero of many young, aspiring scientists.
**Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space on September 12, 1992.