Emily Cox is a graduate research assistant at EIH. She is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science with a specialization in biology at University of Houston-Clear Lake. Her thesis is focused on the densities of microplastics concentrations found in surface waters and shore sediment of Galveston Bay. The project is in collaboration with Galveston Bay Estuary Program (GBEP) and Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN).
Emily graduated from Texas A&M at Galveston in 2014 with a B.S. in marine biology and a minor in anthropology, and promptly went to work as a fisheries observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Embarking from Dutch Harbor, AK, she would complete 90-day contracts aboard commercial fishing vessels to document species catch and regulatory compliance, often as the only scientist (and woman) on board. As a North Pacific groundfish observer, Emily acquired field data collection skills and encountered many rare species. Some favorites include red Irish lord (Hemilepidotus hemilepidotus), darkfin sculpin (Malacocottus zonurus), and Alaska skate (Bathyraja parmifera). The unique experience instilled a deeper passion for environmental conservation which she hopes to pursue upon earning her master’s.
In the meantime, Emily has worked full-time at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) supporting astronaut spacewalk training since 2017. The facility contains a 40ft-deep, 6.2-million gallon pool which houses a mockup of the International Space Station (ISS), which allows for the simulation of zero-G conditions that astronauts experience. She assists in facilitating training as both a safety diver and space station remote manipulator system (SSRMS) operator.