The Chief Microbiologist for the Environmental Control and Life Support System project.
|Education||University of Puerto Rico (BS), |
University of Alabama (MS)
|Awards||NASA Space Flight Awareness Honoree Award, NASA Silver Snoopy Award, Space Station Program Office Team Excellence Award, Distinguished Performance Awards, NASA Innovation Award|
|Institutions||National Aeronautics and Space Administration|
Monserrate Román a.k.a. "Monsi", is an American scientist in NASA who helped NASA build part of the International Space Station. She is the Chief Microbiologist for the Environmental Control and Life Support System project who determines how microbes will behave under different situations and in different locations, such as the nooks and crannies of the Space Station.
Román (birth name: Monserrate Román Cerezo [note 1]) was born and raised in Puerto Rico where she received her primary and secondary education. It was as a child that she developed her fascination with science and living organisms. She was inspired by her science teachers who nurtured her curiosity and encouraged her to participate in the local science fairs which at the same time allowed her to work with real scientists. She enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico after graduating from high school. Because of her in interest in microbiology, Román would wash dishes in the institution's science laboratory with the intention of having access to the same. Eventually she was hired as a research assistant before earning her bachelor's degree in biology. Román continued her academic education and earned a master's degree in microbiology with a minor in chemistry at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Career in NASA
In 1989, she applied and was hired as a microbiologist by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) at Huntsville, Alabama. As a microbiologist, Román studies microbes, living organisms and agents including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, which are only visible under a microscope.
Román was a member of the team that built the International Space Station. The Station was designed with materials that are microbe-resistant. Temperature and humidity are controlled to discourage microbe growth. According to Román:
As chief microbiologist for the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) project, Román must determine how microbes will behave under different situations and in different locations, such as the nooks and crannies of the Space Station. Román must study an international, multicultural group of the microbes, since crewmembers, visitors, experiments and hardware hail from 15 Station partner countries and comes with his or her own unique set of microbes.
She ensures safe water and air for the crew of the International Space Station. Román works closely with MSFC engineers who are designing and testing the Oxygen Generation and Water Recovery equipment, a more sophisticated air and water recycling system to be installed on the Station.
In her spare time Román helps with classes at NASA's Challenger Learning Centers and at the agency's Educator Resources Center in Huntsville. Every summer, she mentors a student who works by her side as an intern at the MSFC.
In December 2006, Román participated in the "What Did You Do At Your Job Today?" video series, an advertising campaign designed to bolster federal employee recruitment. The "What Did You Do At Your Job Today?" video series, spotlights individuals working in unique posts across the federal government. On May 7, 2007, Román was honored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for her outstanding work for the government.
- List of Puerto Ricans
- Puerto Rican scientists and inventors
- List of Puerto Ricans in the United States Space Program
- History of women in Puerto Rico