Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Trailblazers

September 25, 2020

As we continue celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, we also would like to shine a spotlight on many prominent Hispanic trailblazers and their contributions over the years. This week’s feature is the first Hispanic woman to go to space, Dr. Ellen Ochao and the first elected Hispanic U.S. Senator, Octaviano Larrazolo.

Ellen Ochoa was born on May 10, 1958, in Los Angeles, California. She studied electrical engineering at Stanford University, earning both a master’s degree and a doctorate. Dr. Ochoa worked as a research engineer at Sandia National Laboratories and the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She helped to create several systems that were awarded patents relating to optical systems for the detection of imperfections in a repeating pattern and the recognition of objects.

Known as the “silver tongued orator,” Octaviano Larraolo, a free-thinking lawyer from New Mexico who immigrated to the United States, was elected the first Hispanic Senator in U.S. history. He was known to have built a political career around his persistent defense of Hispanic civil rights and was “the great champion of the Spanish-American people.”

We honor these incredible leaders for their contributions and fearlessness. Continue to check back as we celebrate history’s Hispanic Heroes this month.