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Alumni Profiles

Alumni & Parents

Zena Cardman

NASA Astronaut Candidate

About Zena Cardman

SEA Semester year:
College/University: UNC Chapel Hill
Class: 2010
Major: Biology
Graduate School: UNC Chapel Hill
Graduate Degree: MS, Marine Sciences

SEA Semester grad Zena Cardman’s career has ranged from the depths of the ocean to, more recently, the inky void of Outer Space. In 2017, she was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class, and began a two-year training program in August. At the time of her selection, Zena was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at The Pennsylvania State University.

As an undergraduate researcher and later graduate student in Ocean Sciences at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Zena studied microbial ecology in hydrothermal vents, the Arctic, and oil-spill-affected sediments of the Gulf of Mexico. Her field experience includes multiple Antarctic expeditions, work aboard research vessels as both scientist and crew, and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho, and Hawaii.

Of her SEA experience Cardman writes: “SEA solidified my interest in going to sea and I now want to incorporate marine science into my science interests.”

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