Ellen Ochoa; the first Latina woman in space, an electrical engineer, a first-generation Mexican American, and a classical musician; was born on this day in 1958. Ochoa—who was also the first Hispanic person and second woman to serve as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center—is dedicated to education, inspiration, and promoting opportunities for the next generation.
Ochoa’s history-making mission took place aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993, and she would eventually log almost 1,000 hours during four trips to space. During that first flight Ochoa played her flute in space as part of an educational event.
Her advice doesn't end at reaching for the stars: Ochoa stresses the importance of education in pursuing dreams.
“I tell students that the opportunities I had were a result of having a good educational background,” said Ochoa. “Education is what allows you to stand out.”