A Day in the Life: Bioastronautics student Emily Matula talks astronauts, algae, and mentoring adolescents.

When I walked into the Bioastronautics High Bay in the Aerospace Engineering wing at CU Boulder, I could immediately tell that I was not in your standard academic lab. Directly in front of me was an 11-foot-tall, 10-foot-wide, towering silver structure that I later learned is nicknamed the “tin can.” Emily Matula, a Bioastronautics graduate student in the lab, informs me that this is a lunar habitat mockup meant to study different living configurations for astronauts.

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“It’s definitely the most impressive and imposing part of the lab,” quipped Matula as she showed me around. Matula explains to me that this lunar habitat mockup is the work of approximately 20 graduate students. Each year, students work on similar large-scale projects, recruiting test subjects from around the University to give them feedback on what it’s like to complete different tasks that an astronaut might perform in that space (e.g. eating a meal or exercising.)

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Meet the WiSE woman behind the SciComm Symposium

From roaming through Montana while dabbling in documentary filmmaking to singing and writing science-y songs in a two-man band with her husband Derek, Tess Eidem is not your typical postdoctoral fellow. The energetic, permanently good natured and fascinatingly organized Eidem has a passion for communicating science in unique ways and a knack for bringing like-minded people together.

One of Eidem’s many passion projects includes the annual Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Science Communication (SciComm) Symposium. Eidem started the Symposium to help bridge the disconnect between researchers and the general public. And, she wanted to equip young scientists with the skills to easily communicate their work with other people.

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