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Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Hispanic-American Team Members


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September 16, 2019

At NASA’s Johnson Space Center, diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Hispanic-American employees play a key role in developing innovative ideas to help advance the agency’s mission. In the past, Hispanic astronauts such as Ellen Ochoa, Fernando Caldeiro, Franklin R. Chang Diaz, George D. Zamka and Jose M. Hernandez, along with many other Hispanic employees, have helped further space exploration. Today, Hispanic astronauts, engineers, scientists, analysts and managers are diligently working toward a common goal: to put the next man and the first woman in the Moon by 2024. 

To recognize the outstanding work of our NASA Hispanic workforce, Janette Garcia, a NASA early career professional, provided an opportunity for all NASA employees and contractors to share their stories, and then publish them on social media, during Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I felt the responsibility to make the change I want to see in this country, which is to recognize all of the outstanding work Hispanics do to support NASA’s mission,” Garcia said. “Therefore, I led a project which consisted of providing an opportunity for all NASA JSC Hispanic employees and contractors to share their stories. Every time I see Hispanic janitors, engineers, scientists (and) analysts at work, I feel so proud of them, because I know it wasn’t easy to be where they are now.”


Garcia collaborated with Hispanic Resource Employee Group’s committee executives, including Erik Lopez and Elena Fermín, to send out the call to make sure all Hispanic employees had the chance to share their stories.

In commemoration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and as a recognition of the outstanding contributions from NASA’s Hispanic community, Johnson is honored to feature 40 of our Hispanic employees and contractors and how they feel to be a part of NASA's next giant leap!



Zero to five years of experience:

Esteban Guzman

 

Navigation, Guidance and Control Engineer

 

It's always been a passion of mine to contribute to human space exploration. My favorite part of working here is the amount of passion and commitment my fellow workers have had in realizing our joint goal.

 

I work service module abort analysis for Artemis 1.

 

Janette Garcia

 

Software Engineer

 

My favorite part of working at NASA is that I have the opportunity to collaborate closely with passionate individuals who, just like myself, want to invent cutting-edge technology to help further space exploration.

Having high-performance aircraft is a critical element in the human spaceflight training program. My team and I focus on developing and maintaining the information system, which manages aircraft data in order to certify the aircraft is airworthy for the assigned mission.

 

Major Albert F. Meza

 

DoD Payloads Manager

 

My favorite part of working at NASA is that THIS is called work! I would do it all just for fun! I have always wanted to be a part of NASA, and I have always wanted to be a military man.  Here at NASA, I get to do both.

I am assigned to the Department of Defense Space Test Program. We partner with NASA to put experiments into space. The science we collect improves the development of future space technology.

 

 

 

Eddie Aguilar

 

Software Engineer

The ability to have new experiences and learn something new every week.

Inspire American students to pursue a Bachelor of Science in robotics engineering.

 

 

 

Victor Kitmanyen

 

Lunar Lander Human Systems Integrator

 

Working with people from different backgrounds, who are all equally curious and passionate about human space exploration.

I help ensure that the next vehicle to take humans to the surface of the Moon follows human systems engineering and integration requirements and processes set by the Health and Medical Technical Authority. 

 

Angel Ramirez

 

Electrical Engineer

 

Learning about space. Not just the theoretical aspects, but also making it happen. I work in the Communications Systems Branch (EV8), and contributing to communicating with ISS (International Space Station) and anything that is on space is very exciting.

I design and simulate things that help astronauts complete successful EVAs (extravehicular activities). I also contribute to doing testing and analysis of equipment that interacts with the ISS and future exploration missions (like Gateway).

 

Angelica Garcia

 

Simulation and Software Engineer

 

Being part of the astronaut training process and experiencing firsthand how it's accomplished.

I help maintain and develop simulation systems and tools that aid instructors train astronauts.

 

Jennifer Becerra

 

Internship Program Coordinator

 

Encouraging interns to continue their STEM journey and returning to NASA as the future workforce of the space program. I enjoy making connections with the people I get to work with at JSC and contributing to the NASA mission.

 

Yes, I believe interns are the future of NASA and will contribute to future NASA missions. They are the Artemis generation.

 

Raymond Venegas

 

AST Experimental Facility Development

 

Support all the facilities at JSC, Sonny Carter, and Ellington Field.

 

All the JSC facilities are unique, and they need water, electricity, heating, ventilating and air conditioning to be operational to support other NASA programs.

 

 

 

Sergio Leal

 

Science Applications Engineer

 

Getting exposed to all the astromaterials research and the experiments that scientists work on.

 

I work by handling the engineering side facility operation for the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division and by helping with the systems that scientists need to run their labs and experiments.

 

 

Abraham Blanco

 

Ground Control Officer

 

Every day I learn something new. I have the opportunity to work with amazing individuals with phenomenal experience. I smile every time I walk into the Mission Control Center and sit in a control room.

 

I help manage the Ground/Space Networks and Mission Control Center systems used to meet mission, sim and test objectives.

Herbert Silva

 

Structural Dynamics Engineer

 

I get to learn while contributing to the future of spaceflight.

 

I test and analyze the new structures that will take humans to the Moon and Mars.  

Diana Garcia

 

ISS Research Integrator

 

Watching science unfold.

 

I help others understand science.

Hector Colon-Colon

 

Test Engineer

 

The constant quest for learning through research geared towards space applications.

 

My work leads to safer, reliable and sustainable water-treatment operations for consumption, cooling equipment and any system that uses water.

Anita Dorio

 

Secretary

 

Feeling of family.

 

I support a branch chief and deputy branch chief so they can focus on the mission!

 

Ruben Mendez

 

PAE- Safety

 

I get the opportunity to be part of something a LOT bigger than myself.

 

I am part of the FSS team, and I believe that together we can accomplish what President Dwight D. Eisenhower said in 1958: "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind."

 

Rodrigo Mireles

 

Live Television Specialist

 

Being a part of the return to the Moon.

 

We broadcast content on the NASA TV channel to keep the public informed of the happenings in the space program.

Erik Lopez

 

Systems Integration Engineer

 

That I get to use and practice my native language, which is Spanish, to share space station science news and NASA's message around the world.

 

My work helps inspire and educate the future generation of space explorers about the benefits of the ISS as an orbiting laboratory.

 

 

Valeria Cruz

 

Accountant

 

My favorite part is the sense of fulfillment that comes with working for an agency that makes amazing contributions to society.

 

 

The work that I perform allows for effective and efficient operations and reduces risk.

Victoria Aponte-Blizzard

 

Pathways Co-op

 

I feel honored to be able to contribute toward breakthroughs that not only get us closer to other planets, but improve our quality of life on Earth.

 

I am currently designing an SMS alert system that would notify Gateway flight controllers via text on mobile devices when a telemetry parameter crosses a limit.

Six to 10 years of experience:

Zaida Hernandez

 

Thermal Engineer

 

I love the community at JSC and knowing that I am helping advance human space exploration!

I support thermal analysis, design and testing for the Orion Program and advanced lunar exploration.

 

Jackelynne Silva-Martinez

 

Aerospace Engineer Flight Controller

 

Working with a diverse group of NASA colleagues and international partners, from different professional, geographic, generational and cultural backgrounds.

I help manage the most expensive resource in human spaceflight, crew time on ISS.

 

Elisabeth Gambone

 

Aerospace Engineer

 

Watching launches and missions and knowing that I helped make them successful.

I design flight software that keeps the astronauts safe!

 

Veronica Pruneda

 

Orion PCD Software Project Lead

 

The opportunity to work in a diverse space program. Always changing.

Preparing for deep space exploration, the PCDs on Orion will become crucial for crew members to communicate back home, as well as the mechanism for providing support to the crew members in their everyday life, work and personal.

 

 

 

Jessica Shafer

 

Epidemiologist

 

Learning about all the strange effects of microgravity on the human body.

I help maintain and curate the astronauts' health data, which supports occupational surveillance and research to understand and mitigate the effects of space travel.

Alicia Baker

 

Project/Test Engineer

 

Helping make science fiction real in manned exploration of space!

As Test Director for SERFE (Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment), I coordinate testing of payload hardware that may be used in the thermal loop in future generations of spacesuits. 

 

Marcos Flores

 

Flight Director

 

My favorite part about working at NASA is the passionate people that work hard towards a challenging goal. It is a unique organization that strives in achieving the impossible every day.

As a flight sirector I provide operational leadership for human spaceflight by training, planning and executing challenging missions. I lead high-performing teams while ensuring the safety of our astronauts and spacecraft.

 

 

Eleven to 15 years of experience:

Louis Huerta

 

IPV Project Lead/ODF and OCA Specialist

 

Being able to contribute to the future in an organization that cares about its people.

I manage the development of the procedure viewer the ISS Crew and FCT uses every day to do their work. I will continue this work with Orion and Gateway. Additionally, I work as an OCA specialist, providing data transfer to the ISS.

 

Vanessa J. de Vera

 

Analytical Chemist

 

Contributing to space exploration.

Analysis of archival air samples for the ISS and materials for spacecraft.

Fidel Lemus Jr.

 

Network Operations Controller

 

Being part of the space program!

I help monitor and maintain the ground segment of the Space Network to ensure the flow of telemetry from ISS and commercial space vehicles reaches flight controllers all over the world (JAXA, HTV, ESA, RSA, SPACEX, CYGNUS).

 

Pedro Lopez

 

ESD SMA Lead for Human Rating, Crew Survivability, and Validation & Verification

I have had the opportunity to work with the most advanced space vehicle ever built (the space shuttle), and now I get to work on the vehicles that will enable us to return to the Moon on our way to Mars ... Truly a dream come true!

I currently work as a Safety & Mission Assurance lead, ensuring safety is taken into account as the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion, Gateway and the Human Lander System (HLS) are designed, built and operated.

Susana Tapia-Harper

 

Manager for Materials Flight Acceptance Testing

Working on a team with passionate and amazing people.

We keep astronauts safe by understanding and preventing fires, as well as ensuring they have clean air to breathe.

Eliseo Reyes

 

SPARTAN Flight Controller

Working in mission control.

Plan. Train. Fly. That is our motto in FOD (Flight Operations Directorate) in order to ensure we train our crew members to safely fly and execute the ISS mission.

Sixteen to 20 years of experience:

Juan Moreno-Gongora

 

IT Chief Architect

 

Human Exploration and Operations and the effort that the agency puts on inclusion and diversity.

I am in charge of a very diverse group of dedicated IT professional that sustain our applications for the Cargo Mission Contract (CMC).

 

William Lorenzo

 

Personal Equipment Tech

 

The people, the most diverse and remarkable group of people I have ever experienced.

Maintaining, inspecting and repairing aviation life-support equipment for astronauts, pilots and other aircrew members.

 

 

Sal Placencia

 

PPE Technician

 

My favorite part of working at NASA is knowing that I am part of something bigger than I can imagine. I enjoy working with people, and take satisfaction in knowing that I contribute to the various accomplishments of the WSTF (White Sands Test Facility) team.

I am indirectly involved in each hazardous operation when testing space hardware since I maintain the TES (Total Encapsulated Suit) that the technicians use to perform the test safely.

 

21 to 25 years of experience:

Sergio L. Lucero

 

Engineering Supervisor

 

The passion for exploring the unknown that brings us together to work as a team.

I am helping to train the next generation of systems engineers.

More than 25 years of experience:

Linda Riviera

 

Quality Assurance Specialist

 

My favorite part of working at NASA is the opportunities that are available to everyone at any time in your career.  I'm continually inspired by the talented people I meet and work with every day in our NASA community.   

As a quality specialist, I provide quality support to various projects at labs and facilities on-site at JSC.  These projects are all pieces of work that will support all the major NASA programs, from ISS to Orion.     

 

 

 

Mike Ruiz

 

Aerospace Engineer

 

One of my favorite parts of working for NASA is the ability to work with other NASA team members on projects utilizing unique spaceflight hardware, which currently flies on the ISS and eventually will on the Orion Spacecraft.

My work contributes to the NASA mission by testing and analyzing data from our Orion spacecraft Optical Navigation System, which will be used to launch crew members to other celestial bodies, as well as bring them home safely.

Alex Pena

 

Computer Operations Support Analyst

 

Interfacing with people and working together as a team to achieve a common goal is my favorite part.

Helping astronauts (on space shuttle missions, on ISS and soon on Orion) to be efficient and productive with the use of onboard portable computing devices like shuttle laptops (PGSCs), ISS laptops (SSCs) and soon ... tablets on Orion.



Esteban Guzman
Esteban Guzman
Janette Garcia
Janette Garcia
Major Albert F. Meza
Major Albert F. Meza
Eddie Aguilar
Eddie Aguilar
Victor Kitmanyen
Victor Kitmanyen
Angel Ramirez
Angel Ramirez
Angelica Garcia
Angelica Garcia
Jennifer Becerra
Jennifer Becerra
Raymond Venegas
Raymond Venegas
Sergio Leal
Sergio Leal
Abraham Blanco
Abraham Blanco
Herbert Silva
Herbert Silva
Diana Garcia
Diana Garcia
Hector Colon-Colon
Hector Colon-Colon
Anita Dorio
Anita Dorio
Rodrigo Mireles
Rodrigo Mireles
Erik Lopez
Erik Lopez
Valeria Cruz
Valeria Cruz
Zaida Hernandez
Zaida Hernandez
Jackelynne Silva-Martinez
Jackelynne Silva-Martinez
Elisabeth Gambone
Elisabeth Gambone
Veronica Pruneda
Veronica Pruneda
Jessica Shafer
Jessica Shafer
Alicia Baker
Alicia Baker
Louis Huerta
Louis Huerta
Vanessa J. de Vera
Vanessa J. de Vera
Fidel Lemus Jr.
Fidel Lemus Jr.
Pedro Lopez
Pedro Lopez
Susana Tapia-Harper
Susana Tapia-Harper
Eliseo Reyes
Eliseo Reyes
Juan Moreno-Gongora
Juan Moreno-Gongora
William Lorenzo
William Lorenzo
Sal Placencia
Sal Placencia
Sergio L. Lucero
Sergio L. Lucero
Linda Riviera
Linda Riviera
Mike Ruiz
Mike Ruiz
Alex Pena
Alex Pena