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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Former astronaut to speak at Eastman as part of Black History Month Feb. 4


KINGSPORT — Eastman Chemical Co. is inviting the public to hear Dr. Mae Jemison — a former NASA astronaut and National Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee — at the Toy F. Reid Employee Center on Thursday, Feb. , at 7 p.m.
Seating is limited and will be on a first-come basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Jemison will share her experiences as a medical doctor, astronaut, entrepreneur, foundation founder, and visionary leader.

Eastman is hosting the event as part of a monthlong celebration of Black History Month, honoring the traditions and contributions of African-Americans to science, technology, engineering , art and math.

“We’re thrilled to host Dr. Jemison and bring her inspiring story of innovation, leadership and service into our community,” Perry Stuckey, Eastman’s chief human resources officer, said in a prepared release. “Eastman team members share Dr. Jemison’s unrelenting focus to make valuable, innovative contributions to our society. Her story aligns perfectly with Eastman’s commitment to unleash the full potential of our powerfully diverse workforce by fostering inclusion that inspires innovation, encourages respect and promotes unlimited success.”

From an early age, Jemison became interested in science. Before joining NASA as an astronaut, Jemison served as an Area Peace Corps medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

While at NASA, she became the first woman of color in space. Her entrepreneurial efforts have focused on health care, energy and sustainable development.

She established the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence in honor of her mother, an educator who firmly believed that every person can and should achieve personal excellence and make a unique contribution to society. The foundation’s efforts center on education with an emphasis on science. Its premier program, The Earth We Share International Science Camp, brings together children ages 12-16 from around the world to solve current global dilemmas.

Jemison also leads 100 Year Starship (100YSS), an initiative seed funded by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to assure that the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years.

“At Eastman, we have an increasingly diverse, global team of talented and dedicated people working together to innovate for the future and create a brighter tomorrow,” said Mark Cox, Eastman’s senior vice president, chief manufacturing and engineering officer. “Dr. Jemison serves not only as an inspiration, but also as a testament to the amazing things you can accomplish when you believe in possibilities and strive to achieve them.”

Eastman is partnering with Milligan College, Northeast State, and East Tennessee State University on the speaking engagement.