Diana Trujillo

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff

Diana Trujillo Pomerantz born January 4, 1983 was raised in Colombia where her early fascination with space and exploration inspired her academic pursuits. She earned a degree in Aerospace Mechanics Engineering from the University of Florida before beginning her career at as an engineer at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). She currently leads the engineering team at JPL responsible for the robotic arm of the Perseverance rover. On February 18, 2021, Trujillo hosted the first ever Spanish-language NASA transmission of a planetary landing, for the Perseverance rover landing on Mars.

In Colombia, Trujillo attended Colegio Internacional Cañaverales, a bilingual school where she developed an interest in science and questioned the roles that are traditionally associated with women.  Uncertain but determined to overcome the economic difficulties that her family faced in Colombia, Trujillo moved to the United States at seventeen with only $300. In order to improve her language skills, she started English lessons at Miami Dade College while working as a housekeeper, among other jobs.

154977Diana Trujillo WikiTrujillo initially enrolled at the University of Florida to pursue studies in aerospace engineering, inspired by a magazine article about the role of women working on aerospace missions and having confidence in her strong mathematical skills. While studying at the university, she decided to apply for the NASA Academy, being the first Hispanic immigrant woman admitted to the program. She was one of the two participants to get a job offer from NASA. During her work at the Academy, she met NASA robots expert Brian Roberts, who convinced her to move to Maryland with the aim of increasing her chances in the Aerospace industry. Trujillo attended the University of Maryland where she was part of Roberts' research team, focusing on robots in space operations. In 2007, she earned a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Trujillo immediately joined NASA working at Goddard Space Flight Center on the Constellation program and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on human and robotic space missions. She has served many roles, including Surface Sampling System Activity Lead and Dust Removal Tool Lead Systems Engineer. She has also been Flight Ground Systems Engineer and Vehicle System Testbed Mars Surface Lead. She was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the rover landed on Mars. In 2014, Trujillo was promoted to Mission Lead. That year, she was listed as in the 20 most influential Latinos in the Technology Industry.

Trujillo worked as flight director on the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover robotic arm and in February 2021, she hosted NASA's first Spanish-language planetary landing show.

She has been involved in several initiatives to inspire young women from Latin America and African American women to pursue a career in science and engineering. She took part in a discussion about Hidden Figures at the University of Southern California alongside Octavia Spencer and Pharrell Williams. She has been a mentor for the Brooke Owens Fellowship, which she created with her husband Will Pomerantz.

In June 2020, Trujillo was appointed to the Brooke Owens Fellowship's Executive Board. She was awarded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Bruce Murray Award for Excellence in Education and Public Engagement.

Trujillo's advocacy for diversity and inclusion in STEM fields is evident in her leadership and outreach efforts, particularly aimed at underrepresented communities. She actively engages in STEM education initiatives, seeking to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2021 Awarded the rank of Commander (Comendador) in the Order of Boyaca, the highest honor that can be awarded to Colombian citizens for exceptional service to Colombia
  • 2021 Awarded by the Congress of Colombia the order of merit Policarpa Salavarrieta on March 8
  • 2020 Awarded Jet Propulsion Laboratory Bruce Murray Award for Excellence in Education and Public Engagement.
  • 2019 City of STEM Icon Award.
  • 2018 Featured on CBS' celebration of Women's History Month.
  • 2017 Named one of Los 22 Más by the Colombian Embassy in the United States.
  • 2017 Bruce Murray Award for Excellence in Education and Public Management.
  • 2011 Shared the STEM Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

Page created on 2/15/2024 2:36:06 PM

Last edited 2/15/2024 6:18:21 PM

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