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Sheyna Gifford

Sheyna Gifford’s passion for both scientific exploration and writing has enabled her to work for NASA in many different capacities, from science journalist to health and safety officer on a year-long simulated mission to Mars. Gifford graduated from UC Berkeley in 2003 and went on to earn an MA in in biotechnology and clinical laboratory science from the University of Rhode Island in 2006 and an MA in science journalism from USC in 2015, as well as an MD in 2013. She worked as a researcher at several prestigious hospitals and universities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, and Brown University, before becoming a mission specialist for the asteroid simulation HERA in 2015. Later that year, she became the health and safety officer for the six-person crew of the HI-SEAS IV mission, which simulated a year on Mars by housing the crew on a barren lava field in Hawaii, to work out potential problems before an actual manned mission to Mars. On HI-SEAS IV, with a built-in communications delay to the outside world, Gifford served as both doctor and crew journalist, handling medical emergencies and documenting the mission’s progress. A prolific writer and blogger, she has worked as a science journalist for NASA since 2013. In 2017 she began working at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where she trains in rehabilitation and physical medicine, skills she hopes to use on future NASA missions.

Sheyna Gifford
Full image
Photo of Dr. Sheyna Gifford, the health and safety officer for the HI-SEAS IV Mars mission simulation. Photo courtesy of Dr. Gifford.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
St. Louis, Missouri

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sheyna Gifford." (Viewed on February 20, 2019) <>.


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