Department of Political Science

University unites to support NASA Astronaut's lecture on inclusion

Published on Jan 24, 2016

Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, will deliver the Extraordinary Women Lecture at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 at the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center. Her lecture, “On Fear, Audacity, and the Importance of Inclusion,” the sixth in the series presented by the Women’s Leadership Institute in the College of Liberal Arts, is a collaborative effort among many university constituents, many of whom are working together for the first time.

WLI executive director, Barbara Baker, said that 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 units will co-sponsor the outreach symposium scheduled for Feb. 15-17, 2016, with the Mae Jemison Lecture set as the keynote event. 

“We reached out broadly across 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.

Jemison, a native of Decatur, Alabama, served six years as a NASA astronaut and made her historic flight aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. Since then she founded and leads the 100 Year Starship, an initiative of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel. As a medical doctor, member of the National Academy of Sciences, Peace Corp Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia, and professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College, Jemison has a rich background that speaks to a host of topics of interest across campus.

On Feb. 17, Jemison's lecture on inclusion promises to inspire and encourage as she shares the achievements and obstacles in her own life.

“We think that the issue of inclusion is especially timely for us now,” said Baker. “And we sought an extraordinary person who could offer universal wisdom through her very particular set of circumstances.”

WLI’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 with our outreach mission,” Thomas said.

Sponsors include the Colleges of Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Sciences and Mathematics, Veterinary Medicine, and the School of Nursing. Units involved include Access and Community Initiatives, University Outreach, WLI, the Biggio Center, Community and Civic Engagement, OLLI at Auburn, the Leahy Family, and the Multicultural Center. Sponsoring departments are English, History, and Music, and the Africana and Women’s Studies Programs.

The lecture will be followed by a book signing, and the event is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Barbara A. Baker 
Executive Director 
Women’s Leadership Institute 
Auburn University