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postitforward: “I realized, really for the first time, that…

postitforward:


“I realized, really for the first time, that people who didn’t even know me were wishing for my success —  hoping to share in the pride of future accomplishments, but even more important, willing to provide encouragement in the face of disappointments. I hope that by sharing my experiences, others will be inspired to set high goals for themselves.”

Ellen Ochoa is the first Hispanic director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the first Hispanic woman to go to space.

Q: You were the first Hispanic woman to go to space, and you’re the first Hispanic director of the Johnson Space Center. What does the achievement of firsts like these mean to you? What kind of responsibility comes with paving the way?

Becoming an astronaut was a personal goal for me, so I was surprised and overwhelmed to receive such warm support from the entire Hispanic community when I was selected for the astronaut corps. I realized, really for the first time, that people who didn’t even know me were wishing for my success —  hoping to share in the pride of future accomplishments, but even more important, willing to provide encouragement in the face of disappointments. In the same way, in addition to working hard to do my best at every position I’ve had, it became an important part of my job to provide encouragement to others, particularly women and minorities underrepresented in STEM [Science Technology Engineering and Math] fields. I hope that by sharing my experiences, others will be inspired to set high goals for themselves.

Q: Have you experienced any particular challenges as a female astronaut? How have you stayed motivated in the face of such challenges?

Actually, the women astronauts who came before me performed their jobs so well that it really wasn’t an issue.  There was probably more skepticism due to my research background, given that the job is an operational one, and I didn’t have much experience in that environment. The training we’re provided helped prepare me well, as did veterans astronauts who passed on helpful tips.

Q: As a pioneer of spacecraft technology and a champion of outreach, how do you think we can inspire more women to enter STEM fields?

Use every available communications avenue to let women know about the interesting and rewarding careers in the STEM fields. The website Women@NASA profiles many women around the agency, having them describe in their own words what they do and the path that led them to their careers. And since girls start making choices in middle school that can limit their options later on, there’s a section on the website aimed specifically at middle school girls called Aspire to Inspire featuring women at Johnson Space Center. NASA has also made great use of many social media platforms to spread the word on what we are doing in space exploration, both human and robotics. From the first flyby of Pluto to the completion of a one-year mission onboard the International Space Station, this has been an exciting year for NASA.

Source: You’ll find lots of information about our solar system, planets, new planets, alien planets. Also we have facts about the Planet Facts, Facts on Planets, Moon Facts, and outerspace.

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