On May 25, 2017, Zena Cardman received a phone call from a Houston area code. Her stomach dropped. When she answered, the person on the other end informed her that she has been accepted into the 2017 NASA astronaut class.
“It was one of the most surreal moments of my life,” the UNC alumna told Endeavors more than two years ago. “Honored and overjoyed doesn’t even being to explain it.”
Now a NASA astronaut, Cardman will return to her alma mater on November 6 to share her journey from conducting research as an undergraduate to training for future space missions. This free event is part of University Research Week, an annual celebration of Carolina’s research excellence that takes place November 4-8 on UNC’s campus.
To see other Endeavors stories come to life that week, check out “Science to Summits,” a presentation by Mary Lide Parker, another UNC alumna and a former writer and videographer for Endeavors. Parker will dive into how now, as a freelancer, she uses photography and videography to help researchers tell their stories.
On Monday, November 4, recent feature Li Qian will give a TEDx-style presentation on how her work is changing the world by transforming “non-beating” scar tissues cells within the heart into “beating” muscle cells. She is one of four Hettleman Prize winners who will present. The week ends with a panel of undergraduates who will discuss their struggles and triumphs during the seven weeks they spent in Ecuador this past summer with UNC geographer Diego Riveros-Iregui.
Check out the slew of other events that will take place that week including NASA Day, a musical 50th anniversary celebration of the moon landing, and how to get involved in research as an undergrad. Events are being added weekly through October. Please check the University Research Week website regularly for updates.