Dr. Mae Jemison, a renowned astronaut, engineer, entrepreneur, physician and educator, delivered the closing keynote at the 2019 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). Drawing on her unique experiences as the first woman of color to travel to space, her global initiative to create sustainable interstellar exploration, and her passion for science and continuing education, Jemison challenged school leaders to prepare students to be agile adapters to succeed in a workforce that is heavily driven by, and changing with, technological advances.
Reflecting on her past educational experiences, which includes attending Chicago public schools, the completion of degrees from both Cornell University and Stanford University, and her work with Cambodian schools, Jemison drew parallels between her experiences working in two fields that operate within largely unpredictable futures: space and education. Jemison leads 100 Year Starship®, an independent, non-profit global initiative to ensure the capabilities for human travel to another star within the next 100 years. During her presentation, she talked about how her team works to totally reimagine space travel, which will look vastly different than it does today. Similar to preparing for interstellar travel, which will need to equip travelers will the ability to address the unknown, Jemison described the challenge for educators to prepare students for a future they cannot reliably predict. Read more.