“As the job market rapidly changes, STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – skills have become increasingly valuable. These careers are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying, yet Latinas only account for 3% of the industry.” Hispanic Network. MANA recognizes the need to promote and support Latinas seeking careers in these challenging fields. To this end, MANA created the STEM Scholarship and named it after Dr. Ellen Ochoa. We not only want to honor past Latinas in these fields, but also support those following in their footsteps.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa became the first Latina to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, logging nearly 1,000 hours. Her 30-year career at NASA culminated in serving as the 11th Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, from 2013 until her retirement in May 2018. Prior to her astronaut career, Dr. Ochoa was a research engineer and an inventor, with three patents for optical systems. She currently serves on several boards, continues outreach through speaking engagements and bilingual children’s books, and recently concluded a term as Chair of the National Science Board. She is honored to have six schools named for her and has been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, the California Hall of Fame, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, the Government Hall of Fame, and the National Academy of Engineering.