STEM Professional of the week



Monserrate C. Roman      
NASA




Monserrate (Monsi) C. Roman is a Chief Microbiologist, Environmental Control and Life Support Systems, for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. As a Life Support systems expert, Monsi conducts research critical to ensuring the health, safety and well being of humans in space. While her mission is to deliver technically sound products that will enable the next generation of human exploration, the benefits of her work could potentially be even more fare reaching to humans in general.

Ms. Roman joined the NASA team at Marshall Space Flight Center as a member of the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) group, first as the microbiologist for the Space Station Freedom and later as the Chief Microbiologist for the International Space Station (ISS). During the 16 years she worked with ECLSS, she collaborated with various teams to make significant contributions to this vital area of research. Together they designed, developed, tested and manufactured parts for the water and air systems currently used on ISS. She and her team of engineers also resolved chemical/microbiological issues with the ISS coolant system. Although she had little flight hardware development experience, she led a team of engineers to develop a Portable Fan Assembly for the ISS crew. The fan was delivered on schedule and under budget, and Ms. Roman was named a Space Flight Honoree for her contributions to this accomplishment.

Her training in microbiology and her experience in the development of spaceflight life support technologies gave Ms. Roman a unique perspective of the engineering design requirements, hardware performance and the issues that need to be addressed in spacecraft/habitats. It made her especially qualified for her current position as the project manager for the Atmosphere Resource Recovery and Environmental Monitoring (ARREM) project. She leads a team of 44 civil servants at five NASA Centers to develop Air Life Support Systems and Environmental Monitoring Systems for long duration missions. She also supports the development of an in-flight monitor to detect and identify bacteria, viruses and fungi for the ISS and future space systems. This work in space microbiology earned her the prestigious NASA Snoopy Award in 2011. She has more than 60 technical publications in the care of space microbiology, biofilm, microbial monitoring and life support systems.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Monsi carries her Hispanic heritage proudly. In 2002 she was honored with the International Latino Women Congress’ Silver Letter Award, and in 2005 the New York’s Distinguished Puerto Rican Heritage Month Award. In 2012, she was invited to be the Grand Marshal in Chicago’s Puerto Rican Pride Parade. And in his book, Boricuaso: Tu Orgullo Nacional, author Jesus Omar Rivera profiled her as one of NASA’s top women.

Monsi has a bachelor of science degree in biology/chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, where she trained as an environmental microbiologist. She moved to Huntsville, Alabama where she enrolled at the University of Alabama to earn her masters’ degree in microbiology. Ms. Roman is the 2012 HENAAC Outstanding Technical Achievement – Government Award Winner.

© 2012 Technica Magazine



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