February is Black History Month -- a time to honor the contributions and sacrifices of Black Americans who have paved the way in shaping our nation. Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy was built on the structure of innovation and curiosity and recognizes the incredible effort that Black scientists, engineers and doctors have made to help build the world of science to what it is today, against great adversity.
Here are just a few of the many contributors towards STEM that we’ve had the honor of hosting at the Talcott Mountain Science Center as a part of our Project Prommise program that took place from 1993-95:
1.Ronald Mallett - Ronald Mallett, Ph.D, is an American theoretical physicist, academic and author. Mallett has paved the way in his field, receiving several awards and accolades over the course of his career. He’s best known, however, for his ground-breaking research to contribute towards the reality of actual time travel. We were honored to have Ronald on our Board of Trustees, as well as host him as a speaker during our Project Prommise program that took place in 1993. You can read more about his work in his book, “Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality”
2.Mae Jemison - Dr. Mae Jemison is the first Black, female astronaut to travel into space upon the space shuttle Endeavor, which was launched in 1992. Alongside this accomplishment, Jemison is also a renowned physician, academic and entrepreneur. After working with NASA, Jemison founded Jemison Group Inc., where she helped develop a satellite-based telecommunications system to help improve healthcare in developing nations. Jemison is also a published author, known for her children’s book, Mae Among the Stars.
3.Guion “Guy” Bluford - Guion Bluford, also known as Guy to his peers, is the first person of African-American descent to go to space. Before this, Bluford was one of 10,000 applicants in NASA’s first competition to become a space astronaut. Bluford was chosen, among 35 others, and rode aboard the shuttle orbiter Challenger to help deploy a communication satellite. Bluford retired from NASA in 1993, and was inducted into both the International Space Hall of Fame and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame.
4.Bernard Harris - Dr. Bernard Harris, an accomplished astronaut and medical doctor, made history in 1995 by being the first African-American to walk in space. Harris joined NASA in 1987, where he was originally working as a flight surgeon and clinical scientist. By 1991, he became an astronaut and participated in two missions, one of which he made history by walking in space. After his time with NASA, Harris dedicated his career to helping educate and inspire young children by founding The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, where he was committed to helping minority children develop a love for science, just as he had when he was that age.
5.Robert “Bob” Parris Moses - Robert Moses was an American Civil Rights Activist and educator who dedicated his life to helping pave the way for Black Americans in a time in which they faced great adversity. Moses played a pivotal role during the Civil Rights Movement, where he helped organize the Freedom Summer Project - an initiative to raise awareness about the violence that many Mississippi Black people endured when attempting to exercise their right to vote. His efforts as a Civil Rights Leader helped push the Voting Rights Act of 1964. Moses continued his legacy by establishing the Algebra Project, a program dedicated to teaching mathematics and problem solving to Black and underprivileged youth. Today, there are thousands of students who have learned to use math as a means of activism through the hard work of Robert Moses.