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The View from Kern - July 2017

Greetings from the Graduate School. As we gear up for the start of a new academic year, I wanted to share very exciting news. Zena Cardman, a Ph.D. student in geosciences, has been named a member of NASA's 2017 class of astronauts.

Over 18,300 people applied to the astronaut program, more than doubling the previous record of 8,000 set just before the dawn of the space shuttle era in 1978, according to NASA. Cardman is one of 12 individuals selected for the new class.

Cardman studies microbe-rock interactions and what they can tell us about life on early Earth and beyond.

“I’m especially interested in life that lives in oddball environments on Earth, the extremophiles,” Cardman said after learning she was an astronaut finalist. “For me, that’s a good analogy for environments that might be habitable on another planet.”

Additionally, Cardman was named a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow (GRF), one of the most prestigious fellowships that only selects outstanding graduate students. There are a total of 75 NSF GRP recipients currently enrolled in graduate degree programs at the University. According to the NSF, “the reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching.”  

This issue also includes a profile on alumna Dr. Jacquelyn Fetrow, an Alumni Fellow recently named the 15th president of Albright college; a profile on Ph.D. student James Fraser who is driven to understand red blood cell production by his personal story; information about how to nominate outstanding alumni for the Graduate School Alumni Society awards; and of course, Class Notes, comprised of alumni updates and news. I encourage you to not only read the updates but take just a minute to submit your own update for future issues of the Newsletter.

Our Graduate School community is pleased to maintain a connection with you through this publication, and eager to create new opportunities for engagement. Thank you for your time and interest.

Dr. Regina Vasilatos-Younken
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and
Dean of the Graduate School

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