Ellen Ochoa’s grandparents immigrated from Sonora, Mexico when her grandmother was pregnant with her father. After they immigrated to America, her grandmother gave birth to her father and then later moved to La Mesa, California. Growing up, neither of Ellen’s parents had college degrees and she was one of five children. Ellen had always wanted to be an astronaut, but in 1969, it wasn’t an option for women. Ellen graduated from high school and then went on to get a bachelor's in physics and later went to get her Doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford.
In 1990 Ellen was selected by NASA to participate in the astronaut program, and she had completed her training and became the first Hispanic woman in space in 1993.
Ellen is important to both Latin American and American culture because she gave hope to other Latinas across the world that they could also accomplish something great, their cultural background or gender could not hold them back. She’s important to American culture because she helped the NASA space team become more diverse and accepting of other cultures.