Former NASA astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman, will be the speaker at Choate Rosemary Hall's 127th Commencement on Sunday, May 28. During Dr. Coleman's 24 years with NASA she took three trips to space including two space shuttle missions and living six months aboard the International Space Station.
After receiving her BS in chemistry from MIT, Coleman joined the US Air Force as a Second Lieutenant and research chemist. During active duty at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, she continued her graduate work for a PhD in polymer science and engineering from UMASS - Amherst. She was then selected by NASA to join the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1992. During her time on the ground at NASA, she served in a variety of roles within the Astronaut Office, including Chief of Robotics, lead for tile repair efforts after the Columbia accident, and lead astronaut for integration of supply ships from NASA's commercial partners. Most recently, and until her retirement just this past December, she led open-innovation and public-private partnership efforts for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters.
Beyond her tremendous success in science, she is also an accomplished musician. She is part of the band "Bandella" which also includes several of her fellow astronauts. A flutist, she has taken several flutes to the International Space Station and has played live from space for several programs. Coleman's appreciation for the arts extends beyond music. She serves on the board of directors of the Hollywood Science Fiction Museum. She also served as a consultant to Sandra Bullock as she prepared for her role in the Oscar-winning film, Gravity.