Hispanic Influence in Science and Technology

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As part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we want to acknowledge those who have influenced and changed the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) for the better. Did you know that four Nobel prizes have been awarded to Hispanic scientists? There are many more scientific and technological advancements attributed to Hispanic pioneers and many more future achievements to come. Here are just a few of the important names in science and technology that you should know:

Ellen Ochoa: Born in California, Ochoa became a research engineer at NASA in 1988 for the Ames Research Center. In 1990 she was selected to be an astronaut and moved to the Johnson Space Center, where she would become the first Hispanic woman to go to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She would travel to space four times over the course of her career and log almost 1,000 hours in orbit overall. She also happens to be an alumna of San Diego State University having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physics! Through her work with NASA and the space program Ochoa has been awarded three patents for her inventions, and has been the author for several technical papers. A recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, two of the highest honors at NASA, Ellen Ochoa has many incredible achievements on her resume.


Bernardo Alberto Houssey: Born in Buenos Aires Argentina, Bernardo Houssey is responsible for a major breakthrough in the research on, and treatment of, diabetes. An exceptionally smart young man, he entered the School of Pharmacy of the University of Buenos Aires at the age of 14 in 1904. It wasn’t long before he had graduated and moved on to earn his graduate degree in the Department of Physiology where he would begin to study hypophysis. He earned his M.D. by 1911 and would go on to become Professor of Physiology. He also worked for the National Department of Hygiene in charge of the Laboratory of Experimental Physiology and Pathology. He made a lifelong study of hypophysis and his most important discovery concerns the role of the anterior lobe of the hypophysis in carbohydrate metabolism and the onset of diabetes. He was awarded honorary degrees from twenty-five universities and the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1947.


Jaime Escalante: You may have already heard about the influential and passionate mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante, as his life efforts were honored on the big screen in the movie Stand and Deliver in 1988. A math teacher at Garfield, an East Los Angeles high school, in the 1908’s, Escalante was tasked with teaching calculus and advanced math in an area of Los Angeles that was labeled as a notorious barrio of only poor and minority groups. However, Escalante saw great potential in his students and created a tough campaign to bring advanced calculus to his school and help students prepare for the advanced placement exams. When outside groups only saw troublemakers, Escalante saw students who came to campus an hour early, stayed hours after school, and willingly worked together on Saturdays as well as in summer school. Unfortunately when 18 of his students took the advanced placement exams in 1982 and passed, they were accused of cheating. Escalante was adamant that this accusation was based in racist bias and eventually the students were allowed to retake the exam and passed a second time, proving that their hard work had paid off in the end. Towards the end of his career he had inspired over 600 students to not only become involved in advanced placement math, but in many other subjects as well. His teaching methods were not always conventional, but his legacy as a teacher will remain as an important moment in Hispanic history.

Hispanic Heritage Month is meant to celebrate the achievements that have come from the expansive Hispanic culture. The world of science and technology will never be the same because of these innovators and passionate learners. Join us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Coleman University!


If you are interested in starting on the path to a successful career in technology, call us for information about our degree programs. Classes start every ten weeks (Graduate classes start every five weeks), and we offer flexible scheduling! Call (858) 499-0202 to speak to an Admissions representative Monday through Thursday from 8:00am-6:00pm, and Fridays from 8:00am-3:00pm.

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