Dr. Janet L. Kavandi, deputy director at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Glenn Research Center and a Missouri University of Science and Technology graduate, will speak at two graduation ceremonies at Missouri S&T this month.
The first ceremony, for all graduate candidates and undergraduate candidates in arts, business and science programs, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. More than 500 degrees will be awarded during the 10 a.m. ceremony.
The second ceremony, for all undergraduate engineering candidates, will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. More than 350 degrees will be awarded during the 4 p.m. ceremony.
During commencement, Kavandi will receive the doctor of science, honoris causa. She earned a master of science degree in chemistry from Missouri S&T in 1982.
Kavandi serves as the deputy director at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Glenn Research Center. In this position, she shares with the center director responsibility for planning, organizing and managing the programs and projects assigned to the center. The Glenn staff consists of more than 3,200 civil service and support contractor employees and has an annual budget of approximately $581 million.
Prior to being named deputy director, Kavandi served as the deputy director of the Health and Human Performance Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she was responsible for the NASA flight surgeons and human research investigations on the International Space Station. She also served as both the director and deputy director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson, where she was responsible for the Astronaut Corps and aircraft operations at Ellington Field near Johnson.
Kavandi was selected as an astronaut in December 1994. During her time in the Astronaut Office, she supported payload integration for the International Space Station, capsule communications and robotics, and served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office. She is a veteran of three space flights, serving as a mission specialist on STS-91 in 1998, STS-99 in 2000, and STS-104 in 2001. Kavandi has logged more than 33 days in space, traveling more than 13.1 million miles in 535 Earth orbits.
Born in Springfield, Missouri, Kavandi earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, a master of science degree in chemistry from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and a doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Kavandi has been recognized with a Presidential Rank Award, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two Exceptional Service Medals and three NASA Space Flight Medals. In 2011, she was honored during Missouri S&T’s inaugural Alumni of Influence celebration.
She and her husband, John, have two children.