Spacewalk astronaut and former student Jessica Meir will be the launch keynote speaker


Astronaut and UC San Diego alumnus Jessica Meir will be the keynote speaker at the 2022 All-Campus Launch Ceremony. Meir was part of the 2020 six-month expedition to the International Space Station and was selected to fly to the moon in 2025 for NASA’s Artemis project. Meir will be the second woman to have the honor of speaking to UCSD graduates, following former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

In a statement, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said Meir’s impressive accomplishments as a scientist and astronaut made her the obvious choice for the speaker.

“UC San Diego alumnus Jessica Meir made history as a scientist, an astronaut, and an ambassador of peace and goodwill for all mankind,” Khosla said. “His fearless exploration and collaborative research with scientists and astronauts around the world exemplifies the spirit of UC San Diego. Our graduates look forward to discovering his adventures – from sea to space – and hearing his words of wisdom.

Meir will most likely be addressing the largest graduating class ever, where it is believed that up to 11,000 students could graduate.

The all-campus launch ceremony on Saturday, June 11 at RIMAC Field will begin at 8:15 a.m., with the grad procession, and will last from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. 3:30 p.m. Next, from the beginnings of individual colleges, graduates of John Muir College will march from 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. 30 to 6:30 p.m. From 30 to 7:15 p.m., Sixth College graduates will march for the start of Sixth College.

Additionally, on June 11, the Jacobs School of Engineering will host a ring ceremonywhere undergraduate graduates of the school will recite a graduation oath and receive a ring representing their commitment to uphold ethical, integrity and quality standards as engineers.

Then, on Sunday, June 12, there will be other launch ceremonies focusing on specific schools and colleges. Revelle College graduates will march to the start of their own college from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., while Rady School of Management graduates will march to RIMAC Arena from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thurgood Marshall College graduates will have their own start at 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the RIMAC Field. Next, graduate students from the School of Global Politics and Strategy will debut at RIMAC Arena. The opening of Eleanor Roosevelt College will take place from 3 to 4:45 p.m. at RIMAC Field. Finally, the start of Earl Warren College will take place at RIMAC Field from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Additionally, there will be special graduation ceremonies for certain groups of students on campus. the Army-related graduation ceremony will take place on May 25 at 12 p.m. On Tuesday, May 31, the CASP graduation ceremony will take place and will feature student leaders from partner schools CASP, VCSA, VC EDI, VC Advancement, EVC, College Provosts, and Deans. On June 1, the Grad Transfer Celebration will take place in person at 7 p.m. Rainbow Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQIA+ students will take place on June 4 at 10 a.m. Finally, the black graduation ceremony and the Xicanx/Latinx Graduation Ceremony will take place on Friday, June 10.

Meir graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1999, then obtained a master’s degree in space studies from the International Space University of the University of Strasbourg in 2000. She then obtained a doctorate in biology marine at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009. .

“Since graduating, she has continued to be involved with the campus, including participating in a facebook live video to answer questions from students in 2017 and talk with young space students through a program with Scripps Oceanography in 2020,” said Erika Johnson, associate director of academic communications, on behalf of UCSD.

Before becoming an astronaut, Meir studied the physiology of animals living in extreme conditions. From 2000 to 2003, she worked for Lockheed Martin’s Human Research Center. During this time, Meir participated in research flights on NASA’s Low Gravity Aircraft and served as an aquanaut in an underwater habitat for NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operation.

While a doctoral student at Scripps, Meir studied the physiology of deep-diving animals like emperor penguins. She has studied penguins on four research expeditions to Antarctica. There, Meir lived in seclusion with a small team that included her Scripps advisers Paul Ponganis and Jerry Kooyman. Meir credits this experience with helping her prepare for space travel.

“There are so many parallels to the way we do things at NASA in terms of learning those valuable teamwork skills: leadership, tracking, communication and team support,” said Meir at the UC San Diego News Center. “Especially in a challenging environment like Antarctica and space, there are so many parallels and all of this training, all of my Scripps mentors have been really invaluable to this process.”

In 2013, Meir was chosen for astronaut training at NASA. In September 2019, Meir soared to new heights on her first trip to space. Meir traveled to the International Space Station, where she spent more than 200 days as part of the outpost’s science team. A month later, on October 18, 2019, Meir and fellow astronaut Christina Koch made history by performing the first all-female spacewalk while performing upgrades.

When asked why UCSD chose Meir to speak at the graduation, Johnson said Meir was a great inspiration to students at his alma mater and was a shining representation of the collaborative mission. and ingenuity of UCSD.

“Meir, PhD ’09, is a shining example of how Triton’s spirit of innovation and bold exploration can propel you to infinite heights and world-class impact,” said Johnson. “Meir’s fearless exploration and collaborative research with scientists and astronauts around the world exemplifies the spirit of UC San Diego. She has advanced science in a way that only a small number of people ever have. – or never will – and represents the ethos of innovation, protecting our planet, and creating new paths that our students learn to embrace.

UCSD also hopes Meir will give graduates some great ideas for future career paths.

“Meir will offer insight into her journey as a scientist, astronaut and peace ambassador to inspire graduates to see limitless possibilities for their future,” Johnson said.

The all-campus launch will be an in-person ceremony for all undergraduate and graduate students and is open to all graduate students and their guests. For those unable to attend the opening ceremony in person, a livestream will be available on the UCSD Launch Website starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on June 11. For more information, you can check out the UCSD Commencement website.

Photo courtesy of NASA

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