Woman Immigrates to US with $300; Now Leads NASA Mars Rover Team

Many folks immigrate to the US searching for a greater life and extra alternatives, together with Diana Trujillo. She grew up in Cali, Colombia, and had a powerful curiosity in science and outer space from an early age. Little did she understand how far these goals would take her a couple of many years later.

She turned her imaginative and prescient of getting a science career with NASA right into a actuality. She works as an aerospace engineer, main a 45-person workforce at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. There, her workforce labored on creating the robotic arm for the Perseverance Mars rover.

As a little bit woman rising up in Colombia, Diana longed to discover the universe and acquire extra understanding of it. This fascination led to her taking an enormous leap of religion to obtain her goals.

She knew she wished to pursue a career in science however noticed many hurdles in her path. Being a Latina girl in a male-dominated discipline, Diana felt not sure how far she might advance her career. However, her Dad thought that having the ability to converse a second language would give her a bonus. He turned her largest cheerleader and instructed she stay with her aunt in Miami whereas going to college.

So, she determined to immigrate to the US at solely 17 years previous to pursue a science career. She solely had $300 in her pocket. But she vowed to develop into profitable in her new nation. She took jobs in housekeeping to pay her approach by college at Miami Dade College. There, she took English courses and likewise enrolled in aerospace engineering programs.

While she had to battle by college, generally taking six buses to get to class, she by no means complained. Despite having to clear bogs for her job, she was grateful for the possibility to obtain her goals.

She is a real inspiration! This girl who efficiently achieved weight reduction has some nice inspirational phrases on her tips to shedding weight and retaining it off.

Diana persevered to develop into the primary Hispanic girl at NASA Academy

“I saw everything coming my way as an opportunity,” Diana advised CBS News. “I didn’t see it as: ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this job at night, or “I can’t believe that I’m cleaning a bathroom right now.’ It was just more like, ‘I’m glad that I have a job and I can buy food and have a house to sleep… ’”

However, she had another excuse for wanting to immigrate to the US to examine science. She additionally felt motivated to develop into an aerospace engineer to show a few of her household unsuitable.

“I wanted my — especially the males of my own family — to recognise that women add value,” she mentioned, including, “it came from wanting to prove to them that we matter.”

When she bought to school, nevertheless, she had a distinct motivation to succeed. The day she had to declare her main on the University of Florida, she remembered not understanding what to select. Then, when Diana reached the dean, she appeared over at {a magazine} cover with feminine astronauts on it. Right then and there, she knew she wished to pursue aerospace engineering.

She additionally seen that hardly any Hispanic college students or girls stood in line with her. At that second, she remembered part of why she determined to enrol in school within the first place.

Diana continued her research, majoring in space science at MDC. Her professors acknowledged her efforts and inspired her to apply to the celebrated NASA Academy. The coaching program eagerly accepted her, and he or she turned the primary Hispanic immigrant girl within the academy. She excelled, and NASA supplied her a full-time job alongside with only one different scholar from the academy.

Diana defied the chances to work for NASA, however she has a much bigger mission in thoughts.

While enrolled on the NASA Academy, Diana bought to know robots skilled Brian Roberts. He instantly noticed her potential, asking her to be part of his NASA space robotics analysis division on the University of Maryland. There, she earned a Bachelor’s diploma in Aerospace Engineering and graduated in 2007.

“By moving to the University of Maryland, I was a year behind in my career, but it was worth it because I managed to get into the NASA education department as the Academy’s operations manager,” she advised the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo

Later that year, she turned a member of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center within the Constellation program. She additionally started working within the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on human and robotic space missions. Since being employed at NASA, Diana labored her approach to turning into the Flight Director for the Mars Rover.

She hit a career milestone in 2014 when she led the operational security workforce for the Curiosity Rover. During this mission, she developed a mud removing device to assist scientists higher discover Mars’ floor. This vital achievement earned her recognition as one of many 20 most influential Latinos within the technology business. Since then, Diana has solely saved setting the bar larger.

When the Mars Perseverance rover landed on Mars final month, Diana supplied commentary for the historic occasion. This marked NASA’s first-ever Spanish-language transmission. Following that, Diana hosted NASA’s first-ever Spanish language broadcast known as Juntos perseveramos (Together we Persevere). Since it streamed stay final month, it has garnered over 2.5 million views on YouTube.

Final Thoughts: Diana turned the primary Latina immigrant at NASA and hopes to encourage different girls

Since she determined to immigrate to the US, Diana has achieved a lot. According to the Student Research Foundation, Hispanics make up solely 8% of the STEM workforce, of which 2% are girls. Diana continues to encourage girls, particularly minorities, to go after their goals, regardless of their background. She believes higher visibility of minorities in STEM will encourage extra youngsters to pursue careers on this discipline.

“The abuelas, the moms or dads, the uncles, los primos, like everyone has to see this,and they have to see a woman in there, too. So, that they can turn around to the younger generation and say, ‘she can do it, you can do it.’”

Diana nonetheless goals of sooner or later being an astronaut and happening space missions. However, proper now, her mission is to encourage extra girls to pursue careers in science and engineering.

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