WT’s Distinguished Lecture Series to Take Off with Space Pioneer – The PRAIRIE

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CANYON, Texas — The next event in West Texas A&M University’s Distinguished Lecture Series will be out of this world with the first Latina astronaut in space.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa will discuss the importance of STEM education, among other topics, at WT’s Distinguished Lecture Series event at 6 p.m. on October 17 at Legacy Hall at the Jack B. Kelley Student Center on the Canyon campus. .

The event complements Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations sponsored by WT’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Ochoa began her NASA journey in 1988 when she worked as a research engineer at the Ames Research Center. Two years later, she landed her role as an astronaut at Johnson Space Center and flew on four missions as the first Hispanic woman to go into space, logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit, starting with Discovery in 1993.

She was later named the 11th director of Johnson Space Center, making her the center’s first Hispanic director and second female director, where she served from 2013 to 2018.

“I became interested in becoming an astronaut when the space shuttle was being developed because it was capable of so many different activities in space, including scientific research in many different disciplines,” Ochoa said.

The California native received her bachelor’s degree in physics from San Diego State University. She continued her education at Stanford University where she earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering. Ochoa has received numerous honors throughout his career, including NASA’s highest honor, the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for senior federal government officials, and the Distinguished Service Medal.

“Dr. Ellen Ochoa has made great strides in her scientific and research work,” said Angela Allen, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at WT. “Dr. Ochoa’s accomplishments give representation and empowerment not only to women in STEM, but also to the Hispanic population. »

His achievements include numerous technical papers and three patents, and six schools bear his name. She is involved with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Association of the Advancement of Science, and she chairs the Nomination Evaluation Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

“There are so many brilliant minds out there, and being able to see someone who looks like you doing things like research and space paves the way for Hispanics and others of Latino descent,” said Allen. “STEM fields are among the fastest growing fields with so many opportunities, and being able to meet Dr. Ochoa and hear his story provides possibilities for so many who dare to dream.”

The diversity of the student body, faculty and staff is a key principle of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From begging to the world.

This plan is fueled by the historic amount of $125 million one west huge fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which launched publicly in September 2021 — has raised more than $110 million.

The mission of Distinguished Lecture Series is to invite nationally recognized experts to the WT campus to expose students to some of the most important issues of our time and to inspire and enlighten students, faculty and the community. All DLS events are free and open to the public.

Angela C. Hale