Ellen Ochoa

Astronaut and Director, NASA Johnson Space Center (retired)

San Diego State University, B.S. in Physics
Stanford University, MSEE, Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering

Ellen Ochoa was the Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX from 2013 until her retirement in May 2018. She became the first Latina to go to space when she flew on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, logging nearly 1,000 hours. She currently serves on several boards including as Chair of the National Science Board and previously served as chair of the Nomination Evaluation Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Prior to her astronaut career, Dr. Ochoa was a research engineer and holds three patents for optical systems. She received a B.S. in Physics from San Diego State University, and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. 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, and the International Air & Space Hall of Fame.


What are you most proud of in your work or life?

Either participating in developing and assembling the International Space Station or being the namesake for 6 schools


What are your passions and hobbies?

Playing the flute


Do you have a personal motto or other words to live by?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” (John Quincy Adams)


Favorite snack food?


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