Diana Trujillo was part of a small team to land a robot on Mars and is now studying whether there is life on the planet. Trujillo joins Washington Post Live to discuss her work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, advocacy around STEM education and journey immigrating to the United States from Colombia in our conversations marking Hispanic Heritage Month.

Highlights

“The fascination for space started back in my hometown… Trying to understand when you look at the sky, how beautiful everything is, how majestic it is, and the recognition that behind that night sky there’s this amazing… planets all different going around the sun… And so my question always was, ‘How does that all work?’” (Washington Post Live)
“I think the responsibility is on us to help them… The way that we get to change this is recognizing that we need to make space… It is not about the next generation trying to come in and knocking the door hard, it is about us opening the door. (Washington Post Live)
“We’re taking the time to recognize all the amazing contributions that we as a Hispanic community have done in many areas… Having the ability to celebrate that also tells the next generation… ‘We are here, you are here, if I can do it, you can do it.’” (Washington Post Live)

Diana Trujillo

Provided by NASA JPL.

Diana Trujillo, an aerospace engineer, is currently Technical Group Supervisor for Planning and Sequencing and a Tactical Mission Lead for the Mars Perseverance rover. Born and raised in Colombia, Trujillo immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17 to pursue her dream of working for NASA. While enrolled in English-as-a-second-language courses, she also worked full time to support her studies in community college and later the University of Florida and University of Maryland. She has held several roles for NASA and JPL, including Mars Curiosity rover mission lead, deputy project system engineer, and Deputy Team Chief of Engineering Operations on Curiosity. Trujillo has also been active in sharing the excitement and opportunities of STEM with the public. She co-created and hosted #JuntosPerseveramos, NASA’s first-ever Spanish-language live broadcast of a planetary landing, for Perseverance’s arrival on Mars, which attracted millions of viewers worldwide.