In 1995, NASA astronaut Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle mission, commanding the Discovery's rendezvous with the Mir space station. Collins would also earn the title of the first female shuttle commander in 1999, when she was tasked with the commanding of the space shuttle Columbia.
2. First African-American Golf Champion: Tiger Woods
After sweeping his U.S. Amateur games and being named the PGA's Rookie Of The Year, Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997, becoming the youngest winner of the tournament and setting a stroke record.
3. First Female Secretary of State: Madeleine Albright
In 1996, Madeleine Albright was unanimously confirmed by a Senate vote of 99–0 to become the nation's first female Secretary of State. Before her term as Secretary, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. As a Czech-born American, she was not eligible to be a Presidential successor, as she would have been third in line in the succession plan.
4. First African-American to Read a Poem at a Presidential Inauguration: Maya Angelou
In 1993, Maya Angelou read her poem "On The Pulse Of The Morning" at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming both the first African-American and first woman to achieve such an honor. The recording of the poem would later win Dr. Angelou a Grammy Award for "Best Spoken Word" category in 1994.
5. First Latino in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame: Carlos Santana
In 1998, Carlos Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, honored for his dynamic electric guitar stylings. Santana also contributed to another '90s landmark, collaborating with Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas on the single "Smooth," which spent 19 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Charts at the end of 1999, making it the last top single of the decade.
6. First Female Attorney General: Janet Reno
Nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Reno became the first woman to hold the position of Attorney General, a position considered the chief lawyer of the U.S. government.
7. First African-American Woman to Win the Nobel Prize in Literature: Toni Morrison
In 1993, Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and is currently the last American to have received this honor. Her citation for the prize described the impact of her work, "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." Among Morrison's best-known works are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. Another quintessential '90's fact: Morrison is credited with the first referral to then-President Bill Clinton as "the first black President."
8. First Jazz Musician to Win the Pulitzer Prize in Music: Wynton Marsalis
In 1996, the Pulitzer Prize board, having never awarded a prize in Music to a jazz musician, announced a review of their criteria to make the award more accessible. The next year, in 1997, famed jazz artist Wynton Marsalis won the prize with "Blood on the Fields," a three-hour oratorio themed around slavery.
9. First Terrorist Attack on U.S. Soil by American Citizens: Oklahoma City
In 1995, a truck bomb shook the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 186 people and injuring nearly 680 others. The two main perpetrators, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, were both U.S. citizens, who were protesting the federal government and the Waco siege in 1993. Until the attack on September 11, 2001, the Oklahoma City bombings were the deadliest terrorist attacks to happen on U.S. soil.
10. First Cloned Mammal: Dolly the Sheep
The world's first - and most famous - clone, Dolly was produced from an adult cell in 1996 by scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. Cloning using adult cells is notoriously more difficult than with embryonic cells, but Dolly was born after 277 attempts, Famously, the sheep was cloned from a mammary cell, and named accordingly - after Dolly Parton.
11. First Surviving Set of Septuplets: The McCaughey Septuplets
Multiple births is a risky process, especially for seven kids. In 1997, the McCaughey septuplets defied the odds by becoming the first set of seven infants to all survive birth.
12. First Feature-Length Computer Animated Film: Toy Story
Pixar's first film, Toy Story was released in 1995 and went on to earn over $361 million worldwide. Critics praised the movie's unique, technologically-advanced animation style. In fact, the film was the first feature-length to be animated entirely on computers, rather than by hand. All in all, In total, the film required a massive 114,240 frames of animation.