NASA astronaut and UC San Diego alum Jessica Meir, who was one-half of a historic all-woman spacewalk a few years back, will have to add "commencement speaker" to her already impressive resume.
In October 2019, Meir and her friend and colleague Christina Koch made history when they completed a spacewalk to fix a faulty battery; it was the first time in a half-century that a woman floated out without a male crewmate.
Meir, the 228th person in the world to conduct a spacewalk and the 15th woman, will be the commencement speaker at the ceremonies in La Jolla on June 11.
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Meir "is a shining example of how ... the Triton spirit can propel you to infinite heights and world-renowned impact," reads the announcement on UC San Diego's website. "While a marine biology student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Meir researched the physiology of diving mammals and birds. Today, she is internationally recognized as one of the two NASA astronauts who made history performing the first all-woman spacewalk, she lived in space for 205 days, made 3,280 orbits of Earth traveling 86.9 million miles, and currently is poised to be one of the first women on the moon."
At the time of her spacewalk, Meir was at the International Space Station since Sept. 25,in her first-trip to outer space. During her six-month mission, she conducted experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science inside a microgravity laboratory.
Meir studied diving physiology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and, according to school officials, holds a doctorate in marine biology from the school.
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Before receiving her doctorate in marine biology at UC San Diego, Meir studied biology at Brown University and attended the International Space University in France. She worked for three years at NASA's Johnson Space Center to research how humans' physiology changes in space.
When Meir was 5 years old, she was asked to draw a picture of what she wanted to be when she grew up. The drawing, she recalls, was a photo of an astronaut on the moon with an American Flag behind her. Now, she is that astronaut.