Astronaut Ellen Ochoa has ventured out of this world, but she considers La Mesa her home. Recently, she was honored with a mural at Parkway Sports & Health Science Academy, where she spoke to ~40 students about her career journey.
Ochoa graduated from the school in 1971, when it was Parkway Middle School. This served as a launching pad for her education and career — she received her doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1985 and joined NASA in 1988. But, she blasted into the history books when she became the first Latina woman to travel into space in 1993.
The veteran astronaut also received local recognition from her alma mater San Diego State University — where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 1980. The university named the Ellen Ochoa Pavilion (formerly West Commons) in her honor for her out-of-this-world accomplishments in STEM education.