NASA astronaut and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) pilot George D. Zamka was born to a Colombian mother and Polish father in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1962. Zamka grew up living at one point or another in each of the following places: New York City; the village of Irvington, New York; the city of Medellin,... Continue Reading →

Irene Rico’s longtime career with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) began in 1985 when she joined the agency as a highway engineer trainee. She had received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso the previous year, and would earn her M.S. in civil engineering from the University of New... Continue Reading →

Francisco D. Mercado, Jr., who served in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II, was born in East Los Angeles, California, in 1920. As a Hispanic American, he experienced one of his most egregious encounters with prejudice after graduating from high school in 1939. Having shown both a strong aptitude and interest... Continue Reading →

In the time since she began working for Lockheed Martin Corporation as a senior systems engineer in 2006, Vanessa Aponte Williams has been significantly involved in that company’s initiatives on behalf of human spaceflight. As Lockheed Martin’s senior manager for ascent element mission operations, for example, she oversees the development of integrated systems to help... Continue Reading →

Alfonso Sanchez Bermudez, head keeper of the Isla Caja de Muertos Lighthouse (located just off the coast of southern Puerto Rico), performed a lifesaving action in September 1916 that would earn him a formal commendation. This action involved rescuing a man who, while sailing in the vicinity of the lighthouse, found himself in danger of... Continue Reading →

In 1991, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Katherine Faverey Tiongson took command of the newly built USCG cutter (USCGC) Bainbridge Island. This assignment made Tiongson the first Hispanic American female to command an afloat unit in the USCG. Tiongson took command of the 110-foot (34-meter) USCGC Bainbridge Island during a commissioning ceremony... Continue Reading →

In 1997, Carlos Ismael Noriega made history as the first Peruvian-born astronaut to fly into outer space. He had been born in Peru’s capital city of Lima in 1959. In a 2016 interview with the University of Southern California (USC) News, Noriega discussed his family’s move to the United States. “We came to this country... Continue Reading →

Antonio Valent, the son of a seaman who immigrated to Texas from Spain, was born in 1884 in the town of Point Isabel (now Port Isabel) in the Lone Star State. He launched a fishing business in that region of the Gulf coast in 1902. The market for the fish he caught was initially restricted... Continue Reading →

As a young engineer, Victor M. Mendez wasted little time deciding what to focus on in his career. “Thinking back, I migrated to transportation very early,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post in 2012. “I remember how satisfying it was to be able to say I helped design and construct a road... Continue Reading →

Robert Files Lopez was born in the city of Davenport, Iowa, on March 31, 1857. He was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1874 and made history in 1879 as the first Hispanic American to graduate from that institution. Lopez’s subsequent naval career included serving as an ensign aboard the USS Thetis when that... Continue Reading →

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