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Mae was especially attracted to science-fiction on TV and in the movies. She liked "Star Trek" and "Lost in Space." Her early interest in science led her to study engineering and medical research. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University in 1977. She then earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from Cornell University in 1981. Her many interests also led her to wonder about the history of African-Americans. At another university she earned an Associate degree in African-American Studies.

Mae joined NASA in 1987. She enjoyed her training to prepare to be an astronaut some day on a space mission. Five years later, in 1992, her chance to go on a space mission finally came. Mae went into space with six other crew members. Their seven-day flight was called the Spacelab J Mission. The point of the mission was to see if certain materials could be produced in weightlessness. Other experiments included animals.



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