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Jan 28, 2017 11:05 AM EST

NASA’s Former Astronaut Ellen Ochoa Joins National Science Board

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Ellen Ochoa, the current director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is now a member of the National Science Board.

Maria Zuber, the NSB Chairwoman, says that Ellen Ochoa's addition to the National Science Board means that she is going to bring a whole set of experiences and ideas that everyone is looking forward to hear.

Ochoa started her career as a research engineer at Sandia National Laboratories after getting her Ph.D. from Stanford University and she is a veteran of four space flights and previously served as Deputy Director and Director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA.

She is also the first to travel to space in 1993 on a nine day mission aboard the Discovery, as reported by Space Ref. She also logged almost a thousand hours of space time in orbit. As well as being the first Hispanic and second female director of NASA's Johnson Space Center on January 2013.

In addition to her expertise, she is also the first Hispanic woman to go to space in the Discovery mission.

According to Ochoa, she looks forward to contributing to the discussion on America's science policy. She will serve on the National Science Board until May 2022 and will help provide insight to research and development, STEM education and workforce training. During her six year term, she represents science and engineering.

She is passionate about STEM education and has voiced out its importance. In her honor, an elementary school was named after her as the Ellen Ochoa Elementary School in Cudahy, CA. In 2014, another school opened in East Los Angeles, CA as the Animo Ellen Ochoa Charter Middle School. In Grand Prairie, Texas, a school is named as Ellen Ochoa STEM Academy at the Ben Milam Elementary School, as featured in Start Class.

Ellen Ochoa was one a Women in STEM Honoree for her amazing work in the STEM field, paving the way for for more girls and women to pursue STEM careers. Watch the video below for more info:

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