Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Ellen Ochoa, '80. Ellen Ochoa, '80.
 


SDSU Alumna Headed to California Hall of Fame

The ninth class of inductees includes Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center.
By Stefanie Banks
 

When it comes to SDSU alumna Ellen Ochoa, being first is nothing new.
 
Ochoa, '80, became the first Hispanic woman to go to space and now, the first Aztec to be inducted into the California Hall of Fame.
 
Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown, along with the California Museum, announced the ninth class of inductees to the California Hall of Fame Sept. 29. The newest class of inspirational individuals will join 88 Californians previously inducted for exemplifying California’s spirit of innovation.
 
In addition to Ochoa, the class includes: acclaimed actor Robert Downey Jr; celebrated artist David Hockney; journalist and news anchor Lester Holt; martial arts superstar Bruce Lee; country music icon Buck Owens; legendary cartoonist Charles M. Schulz and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.
 
“These talented individuals with their unique set of accomplishments show the best of California,” said Brown. “Their creativity and perseverance are a real inspiration."

About Ochoa

Ochoa is a former astronaut and current director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Prior to becoming an astronaut, Ochoa was a research engineer and inventor, holding three patents for optical systems for aerospace missions.
 
In 1993, she served a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery, and she became the first Hispanic woman in space. She has gone to space four times, spending nearly 1,000 hours and 16.7 million miles in orbit.
 
On one of these missions, STS-56, Ochoa took her flute to play. She is a classical flutist and was a member of both the Wind Symphony and the Marching Aztecs at SDSU, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in physics.
 

Awards and recognitions

Ochoa’s induction is not the first prestigious award she has earned, she has also received:

  • NASA Exceptional Service, Distinguished Service & Outstanding Leadership Medals
  • Harvard Foundation Science Award
  • Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award
  • President's Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History
Inductees and family members of posthumous inductees will receive the Spirit of California medal from the governor and first lady in the official state ceremony at 7 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 28, at the California Museum in Sacramento. Inductees will also be commemorated with an exhibition of personal artifacts highlighting their lives and achievements.