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IDS 400 - Diversity

Course guide for students in IDS 400 to support the course concepts and research needs, including lenses identified, research basics, and diversity.


To get you started in thinking how your topic might be looked at through the historical lens, let's use the topic of Mae Jemison as an example. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman in space, onboard the Endeavor in September of 1992. Learning more about the topic and about Jemison is vital to building a strong understanding of the event. This understanding will help you determine what avenues to explore inside of each lens. A  secondary resource like the ebook Women of Color in STEM: Navigating the Workforce This link opens in a new window, and the chapter that focuses on NASA and women of color could be useful. Primary sources like images from the NASA archives This link opens in a new window from Jemison's mission STS-47 can provide insights into the event as it occurred at that time. To see more, type in STS-47 in the NASA archives search box to get a robust image results list.

Watch the Celebrating Contributions by Women to Space Exploration from the NASA archives to learn more about NASA and it's history with women working there. 


Mae Jemison (1956--). (2012). In L. Bracks, African American almanac : 400 years of triumph, courage and excellence . Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press. 


To begin to analyze this event like a historian, what would be some questions that we could ask? Here are some ideas:

  • What was happening during the late 1980's that encouraged Jemison to apply to the NASA astronaut program?
  • How had the NASA astronaut program been developed? When did NASA have diverse applicants? How did the program grow and change over time?
  • How did Jemison's flight impact NASA and STEM opportunities for other women and people of color?
  • What had happened for other women pursuing the role of astronaut prior to Jemison applying that set the stage? See the video below to learn more.

Suggested Databases

The list below are some examples of the library's databases that you could use to search for primary and secondary sources on NASA, women in NASA and Mae Jemison.