(Science Question of the Day: Are you often teased and put down by peers and others because of your love of science or engineering? So was Ellen. Read her amazing story of success!)
Blasting off into space was once an all-male’s game. But on the heels of such trailblazers as Sally Ride, engineer and inventor Ellen Ochoa became part of growing breed of NASA female astronauts who have since helped change all that. In 1993, she made history by becoming the first Hispanic woman from any country to travel in space. She would follow up this journey with three more space flights in 1994, 1999 and 2001, logging more than 700 hours in space.
Ellen is now deputy director of the Johnson Space Center, and remembers while growing up in La Mesa, CA that science was one of her favorite subjects in school, but that some students often put her down for this, and even some of her teachers didn’t think she would go far in this male-dominated field. Believe in yourself, is the message she gives students today.
An expert in optics and optical recognition in robotics (an area in which she holds three patents), Ellen earned a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She is also a licensed private pilot and an accomplished classical flutist.