Shawna Pandya

Dr. Shawna Pandya is a physician, scientist-astronaut candidate program graduate with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences/Project PoSSUM, aquanaut, speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver, pilot-in-training, VP Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies, Director of Medical Research at Orbital Assembly Construction, and Fellow of the Explorers’ Club. She is also Director of the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences (IIAS)/PoSSUM Space Medicine Group, Chief Instructor of the IIAS/PoSSUM Operational Space Medicine course, a clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta, podcast host with the World Extreme Medicine’s WEMCast series, Primary Investigator (PI) for the Shad Canada-Blue Origin student microgravity competition, member of the ASCEND 2021 Guiding Coalition, and Life Sciences Team Lead for the Association of Spaceflight Professionals. She serves as a medical advisor to several space, medical and technology companies. Dr. Pandya was part of the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero-gravity in 2015. She earned her aquanaut designation during the 2019 NEPTUNE (Nautical Experiments in Physiology, Technology and Underwater Exploration) mission. She previously served as Commander during a 2020 tour at the Mars Desert Research Station.  In 2021, Dr. Pandya was granted an Honorary Fellowship in Extreme and Wilderness Medicine by the World Extreme Medicine organization and named one of the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, as well as a Canadian Space Agency Space Ambassador. Her career and trajectory have been captured at the Ontario Science Center’s “Canadian Women in Space,” exhibit, alongside Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space (and Dr. Pandya’s idol growing up).

3 words to describe Nature?

Vast. Inspiring. Infinite

3 things Nature taught you?

To be in the moment

To be prepared

That everything else can wait

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The Canadian Rockies

Hapuna Beach, Kona, Hawaii

The sunset over the pond behind my parents' house

When you look at the OCEAN, it makes you feel...?

At peace, knowing that I am one tiny part of infinity.

When you see a FOREST, it makes you feel...?

Like I am at the start of an adventure.

When you see a VOLCANO, it makes you feel...?

Full of awe at nature's power.

When you see a SUNRISE or SUNSET, it makes you feel...?

Grateful and satisfied to be able to have that moment to appreciate.

When you hear THUNDER, it makes you feel...?

Excited for the subsequent storm.

When you hear the WIND HOWLING, it makes you feel...?

Like I am in a mystery or adventure novel!

Are you an OCEAN, MOUNTAIN, FOREST, or DESERT person?

All of the above

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

When I was 14, we went on a survival camp. My best friend and I were only 2 of a handful of girls in a class of over 35. We proudly built and slept in one of the best lean-tos, and managed to keep a fire going all night. We also went caving on that same trip!