Jessica U. Meir, class of 1999

Jessica U. Meir was born and raised in Caribou, Maine. After graduating from Caribou High School, Meir earned an AB in Biology from Brown University in 1999 and a Master of Science degree in Space Studies from International Space University in 2000. From 2000 to 2003, Meir worked for Lockheed Martin’s Human Research Facility (NASA Johnson Space Center) supporting human physiology research on the space shuttle and International Space Station. During this time, she also participated in research flights on NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft and served as an aquanaut crew member in the Aquarius underwater habitat for the 4th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) mission. Meir went on to earn a Doctorate in Marine Biology (diving physiology) from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD) in 2009. During that time she studied the diving physiology of marine mammals and birds, focusing on oxygen depletion in diving emperor penguins (Antarctic field research) and elephant seals (northern California). She investigated the high‐flying bar-headed goose during her post‐doctoral research at the University of British Columbia, training geese to fly in a wind tunnel while obtaining various physiological measurements in reduced oxygen conditions.

In 2012, Dr. Meir accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she continued her research on the physiology of animals in extreme environments. She also took part in Smithsonian Institution diving expeditions to the Antarctic and Belize, and has been very active with scientific outreach efforts. Meir was selected by NASA in 2013. She most recently served as flight engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 61 and 62, during which she and Astronaut Christina Koch made history conducting the first all-women spacewalk in October 2019. When she is not working, Meir enjoys skiing, hiking, running, cycling, soccer and SCUBA diving. She is a private pilot and is conversational in Swedish and Russian.

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