Next Stop: Mars with Mae Jemison

by Summer Ash

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mae Jemison in person as part of a celebration of National Geographic's upcoming special on Mars (part documentary, part drama). Dr. Jemison was a science advisor on the project and helped the team to accurately portray astronaut behavior in crisis as well as how the bunks of the spacecraft should be designed. And she would know, having flown on the Space Shuttle as a Mission Specialist for STS-47.  

After a panel discussion to open the day, I was fortunate enough have Dr. Jemison all to myself for almost half and hour! Knowing I would have this amazing opportunity, I came prepared thanks to Celine...

In addition to personally wearing one of Slow Factory's Women Who Inspire scarves featuring Dr. Jemison along with fellow astronaut, Jan Davis, Celine gave me the scarf of Dr. Jemison alone to present to her in person. So before my time with her was up, I showed her the full design on the scarf I was wearing and told her all about the Women Who Inspire collection. She was amazed such a thing even existed. To her surprise, I then gave her the second scarf and needless to say, she loved both. I managed to get this photo of both of us rocking our scarves in celebration of women everywhere. 

The day ended with a screening of the first episode of the MARS miniseries so clearly I had to represent the red planet with some more Slow Factory

If you don't know Dr. Jemison's work already, I highly recommend reading up on her. A former dancer, she entered college at age 16 and finished medical school by age 25. She then did a stint in the Peace Corps before going on to become the first African American women in space (such a slacker!). One of her current projects it the 100 Year Starship which aims to make interstellar travel a reality in the next 100 years by "including the broadest swath of people and human experience in understanding, shaping and implementing this global aspiration."

National Geographic's MARS airs nationwide on Monday, November 14th. You can already stream the first episode online and there are three more to come. It's a stunning mix of science and narrative jumping between the present in 2016 and the future first crewed mission to Mars in 2033. It will inspire the hell out of you. 

Summer Ash is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. Having been both a rocket scientist and a radio astronomer, she’s now harnessing her powers for science communication. She is the "In-House Astrophysicist" for The Rachel Maddow Show and has written for The AtlanticScientific American, Slate, and Nautilus Magazine. She tweets as@Summer_Ash and is also one-half of Startorialist.

Filed under: astronaut astronauts awe event feminism going to space inspiration mae jemison mars national geographic nyc scarf scarves science space who wears slow factory women who inspire

Beyond Vivienne Westwood: Fashion brands that are changing the world

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Join us at AIGA NY on Tuesday, October 20th!

A lively discussion about bridging design and fashion to create social and environmental change. Moderated by Ahmed Shihab-Eldin and featuring these two trailblazers:

Miki Agrawal, co-founder and CEO of THINX, a high-tech underwear solution for women with periods. She and her partners also teamed up with AFRIpads in Uganda to fund a pack of washable cloth pads for every pair of THINX underwear sold to get millions of girls back in school. Forbes wrote an article that went viral in May of 2015.

Celine Semaan Vernon, is founder and CEO of Slow Factory, a mission-driven design boutique mixing open data and activism with high-end fashion design. Each collection is developed in partnership with an internationally-recognized NGO working in the environmental or human rights sectors and is aimed to inspire us to slow down and look at the big picture – we are after all, just floating in space. She is also co-founder of Le Design Team.

Our moderator Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist, social-media addict & news producer, founding member of HuffPost Live, and one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 “young disruptors, innovators and media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world.”


Ahmed Shihab-Eldin has been sent to Palestine as VICE correspondent. To replace him, we have his colleague Sami Emory, Sami Emory writes for The Creators Project, VICE’s arts and culture section, with a focus on female artists, and is currently completing a thesis at NYU on the work of Iraqi Bloggers during the Iraq War.

Filed under: aiga ny event fashion activism panel