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Dayton Engineer

UD School of Engineering celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15, the University of Dayton School of Engineering acknowledges and honors the contributions of Hispanic professionals to STEM fields!

At the University of Dayton, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) is a branch of the national organization, which is the nation’s largest association dedicated to fostering Hispanic leadership in engineering! As a professional organization, they support Hispanic students in building confidence in STEM at UD and across the country.

On campus, SHPE has a special interest house, which is a great way for engineering students with similar cultural interests to come together and support one another and build upon the successes of professional Hispanic engineers and scientists, such as the five notable professionals that we celebrate in this article.

Please enjoy and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with us!

Ellen Ochoa

Ochoa, a veteran astronaut and the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center, was JSC’s first Hispanic director and second female director. She was the first Hispanic woman to go to space as part of the nine-day STS- 56 missions aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She earned a degree in physics and a master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering. She also received NASA’s highest awards for senior executives in the federal government: The Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award.

Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena

Camerena’s engineering interests began when he took apart electronics as a child. By age 23, he was awarded a patent for inventing the first color television transmission system.  His recognition for the importance of equity and inclusion motivated him to create a simplified bicolor system, so that his system would be accessible to families of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Camarena’s patent technology is the foundation for modern color televisions, and his bicolor system transmitted the first color images of Jupiter for a NASA mission.

Vanessa Galvez

Galvez is a civil engineer who became interested with the STEM field after Hurricane Katrina because she wanted to make a difference. At age 26, she supervised the installation of 164 bioswales in Queens, NY. Bioswales help mitigate the toxins and pollutants in urban stormwater runoff, which will protect the borough from pollution and flooding. Galvez’s work can provide a blueprint for future city improvement projects, and it is hugely important to Queens, creating a safe and clean environment for generations to come.

Franklin Chang-Díaz

Franklin Chang-Díaz, mechanical engineer, physicist and entrepreneur was a former NASA astronaut that tied the record for the most spaceflights and is in the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame. Chang-Díaz, is the founder and CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company that focuses on developing advanced plasma rocket propulsion technology.

Nicole Hernandez Hammer

Hammer, a Guatemalan researcher and biologist, studies the effects of climate on sea levels, as well as vulnerable populations on the coastal areas of the southeastern United States. She speaks extensively on climate change impact and has authored several papers for international media outlets such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Nicole Hernandez Hammer also started the Moms Clean Air Force, working to enlist parents in the public policy debate over how to stop air pollution and global warming. 

You can learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month at UD in the library guide!


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