Zena Maria Cardman
October 26, 1987
Urbana, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (BS, MS)|
|Selection||NASA Group 22|
Cardman was born on October 26, 1987, in Urbana, Illinois to Helen and Larry Cardman. Her family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, where she attended Bruton High School. Cardman attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in biology, with minors in chemistry and marine sciences, and wrote her thesis in poetry. She later earned a Master of Science in marine sciences, in the research group of Andreas Teske. While at the University of North Carolina, Cardman studied microbial systems in hydrocarbon seeps, hydrothermal vents, and the Arctic. During that time, she also worked with the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research Network in Antarctica, analyzing ecosystem changes as part of a multi-decadal study. Cardman has additional experience with NASA-supported research in British Columbia, the Canadian high Arctic, Idaho, and Hawaii, and has sailed with the Sea Education Association as Assistant Engineer. At the time of her selection in June 2017, Cardman was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Pennsylvania State University, investigating microbial metabolism and biogeochemical cycling in cave systems.
Prior to her astronaut candidacy, Cardman worked in science and operations for the NASA Pavilion Lake Research Project (2008–2015) and BASALT (2016–2017), with Darlene Lim. In June 2017, she was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Group 22, and began her two-year training at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Her hobbies include rock climbing, caving, poetry, and power lifting.
Cardman has received numerous academic awards, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Royster Society Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, Chancellor's Award (UNC Chapel Hill), and Space Grant Consortium Fellowships.
This article incorporates public domain material from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration document: Heather Tonnessen. "Astronaut Candidate Zena Cardman". Retrieved June 2, 2020. (Official NASA biography)