A NASA Trailblazer’s Inspiring Journey from Colombia to Mars
Diana Trujillo takes audiences on her journey, sharing her incredible story from being born and raised in Colombia to becoming an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Flight Director on NASA’s Perseverance rover mission. Immigrating to the United States at 17, Diana enrolled in English as a Second Language courses and held down full-time jobs as a housekeeper and a fast-food service worker to support her studies. She discusses the hard work, dedication, perseverance, and passion it took to realize her dream of working at NASA. Diana's story inspires and motivates audiences to aim high and reach for the stars, regardless of what they're trying to achieve.
The Importance of Diversity in STEM Fields
From the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics to the educational program Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street), trailblazer Diana Trujillo is a passionate advocate for diversity in STEM. Diana also created and hosts #JuntosPerseveramos, NASA’s first ever Spanish-language live broadcast of a major mission milestone, and provides English and Spanish language updates on the Perseverance mission via NASA’s Martes de Marte weekly video series and her Twitter account. Through the lens of her own experience, Diana talks about why she pushes for more inclusion of the Latinx community in STEM, and why diversity is mission critical to the innovations of tomorrow.
Speaker Spotlight: Diana Trujillo
NASA Aerospace engineer DIANA TRUJILLO immigrated to the United States at the age of 17 to pursue her dream of working for NASA. She enrolled in English as a Second Language courses, holding down full-time jobs as a housekeeper and a fast-food service worker to support her studies, and is now working to send her second spacecraft to the surface of Mars. Her story is extraordinary and unique, but her journey, remaining patient and working hard in the face of adversity, is familiar to immigrants across the country.
Now, having achieved many of her dreams, Trujillo has set her sights on opening doors for women and people of color in STEM. She created and hosted #JuntosPerseveramos, NASA’s first ever Spanish-language live broadcast of a major mission milestone, and has advocated for increased diversity in venues ranging from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics to the educational program Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street).
Diana’s journey of hope, perseverance and courage has already inspired so many people across the world, even prompting a glowing profile from CBS News. As a Harry Walker speaker, she wants to meet with your organization’s audience to address and motivate the next generation of scientists, astronauts, doctors, and world-changers.
Diana Trujillo is a Space Explorer and Aerospace Engineer currently serving as a Flight Director on the Mars Perseverance Mission, which is helping NASA determine if ancient life ever existed on the surface of Mars.
Born and raised in Colombia, Diana immigrated to the United States at the age of 17, coming with little knowledge of English and almost no money to her name, but also with the goal of pursuing her dream of working for NASA.
Today, Diana is living that dream. She has contributed to Human and Robotic Space Exploration missions including Cygnus International Space Station resupply vehicle, the Constellation Program, the Mars Curiosity rover, the Mars Perseverance rover, and the Mars Ingenuity helicopter.
In addition to her technical roles at NASA’s renowned Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Diana also created and hosted #JuntosPerseveramos, NASA’s first ever Spanish-language live broadcast of a Mars Landing, attracting a global audience of millions. She also started and hosted NASA’s Martes de Marte video series, providing Spanish-language updates of NASA’s Perseverance and Ingenuity missions.
Diana is a passionate advocate for diversity in STEM, having pushed for more inclusion of the Latin@ community in venues ranging from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics to the educational program Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street). Diana serves as an executive of the Brooke Owens Fellowship, an award-winning, highly competitive program that provides internship and mentorship to extraordinary undergraduate women seeking careers in aviation or space exploration; a member of the TECHNOLOchicas campaign to raise awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology; a member of the board of the Columbia Memorial Space Center, a science center open to the public and based in a predominantly Latin@ community; and a member of the board of the Children’s Center at Caltech, a center that is revolutionizing early child development education.
In 2017, Diana was named one of “Los 22 Más,” the 22 Colombians who best represent Colombia and all Colombians in the USA. In 2021, Diana was honored with the Cruz de Boyacá and named a Comendador of Orden de Boyacá by the President of Colombia, the highest honor Colombia awards to civilians.
Diana has been featured on CNN, Telemundo, Univision, The New Yorker, the BBC, and more. In 2016, her story was turned into a children’s science book, titled Mars Science Lab Engineer: Diana Trujillo.