Ellen was born in Los Angeles and raised in La Mesa, California. Ochoa, a PhD, was the first Hispanic woman in space. Ochoa earned her doctorate in engineering from Stanford University, joining NASA after graduation. She begain as a research engineer and was selected to be an astronaut in 1990. Her first mission in space was aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She went on to serve three more missions, spending almost 1,000 hours in orbit. Ochoa was the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center and the center’s first Hispanic director. Her historic firsts put her in great company with other pioneering women.