Astronaut, Engineer, Musician
Born on May 10, 1958, in Los Angeles, Ellen Ochoa became the first ever Hispanic female astronaut. She received her bachelor of science degree in physics from San Diego State University and then went on to complete both her masters’ and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at Stanford.
In 1990, she was selected by NASA to become an astronaut and has since been on four space flights and logged more than 950 hours in space. Her assignments have included flight software and computer hardware development, testing and training. She has been lead spacecraft communicator in Mission Control and has been Acting Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She currently serves as Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She has received numerous awards including NASA's Exceptional Service Medal (1997) and the Outstanding Leadership Medal (1995).
Aside from her astronaut work, Ochoa patented an optical system that detects imperfections in repetitious manufacturing work. Her interests outside of science engineering include playing classical flute. Ellen Ochoa presently resides in Texas, with her husband and two children.