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NASA Astronaut José M. Hernández to appear at two community events at Roosevelt High School

May 21 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on May 21, 2022 at 9:00 am


The Stockton, Calif., native will discuss his career in space exploration.

Portland, Oregon – The NASA engineer and astronaut José M. Hernández, a former mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, will appear at two community events at Roosevelt High School, 6941 N Central St, Portland, on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21, 2022.

On Friday, May 20, Hernández is scheduled to appear from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Roosevelt High School Auditorium. Hernández will deliver remarks in English with interpreters available for ASL, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Somali and Russian. On Saturday, May 21, Hernández will deliver remarks in Spanish from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., also at the Roosevelt High School Auditorium.

Dr. Hernández will be available to the media from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at Roosevelt High School Library.

Early interest in science and engineering

Dr. Hernández is a native of Stockton, Calif. He spent much of his childhood in a migrant farmworker family on the “California Circuit,” traveling north from Mexico to California from March through early winter, returning to Mexico for Christmas before restarting the cycle. After learning about Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Latin American immigrant NASA Astronaut selected to go into space, Hernández knew he wanted to pursue a career in science and engineering.

After graduating high school, Hernández enrolled at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, earning a degree in electrical engineering. He won a full scholarship to the graduate program at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he continued his engineering studies. In 1987, Hernández accepted a full-time job with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

Hernández joined the Johnson Space Center in Houston in 2001 and was selected as part of the 19th class of astronauts in 2004. In 2006, he completed Astronaut Candidate Training, and in 2009, he was a mission specialist on the STS-128 mission, a 13-day flight aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Continued pursuits in science, engineering and service

Since leaving NASA, Hernández served as the Executive Director of Strategic Operations at MEI Technologies in Texas, ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th California Congressional District, and became CEO of Tierra Luna Engineering, LLC.

His autobiography, Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut, was published in 2012. A Million Miles Away, a biopic of Hernandez’s life, is under production and scheduled for release on Netflix in 2022.

Dr. Hernández holds an honorary doctorate from the University of the Pacific.

Important considerations:

  • Both events are intended for students and families in the Portland Public Schools community.

  • Portland Public Schools will monitor the latest COVID-19 recommendations and adjust as necessary between now and the event. To ensure flexibility, the district intends to keep the Roosevelt Auditorium under 50% capacity.


May 21
9:00 am - 11:00 am
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