First female Hispanic astronaut visits Passaic school

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PASSAIC -

The first female Hispanic astronaut in NASA’s history visited with students in Passaic Friday.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to become an astronaut in 1991. Two years later she flew her first shuttle mission with the Discovery crew.

Dr. Ochoa is now the director at Johnson Space Center. She is the first Hispanic person to do so. She says that she wants to show a city that is 70 percent Hispanic that they can do it too.

"Knowing the struggle that there is and knowing that there's a lot of people who will bring you down. But then seeing her, being up there, she's like ‘I'm proud. I'm here and anyone could do it,’" says Passaic High School senior Michelle Guerrero.

Dr. Ochoa says that she wants to see more women and more minorities pursuing STEM careers.

“Especially in subjects like physics, and electrical engineering and computer science, you have 20 percent, at best, maybe women,” she says.

A new school in Passaic will be named in Dr. Ochoa’s honor.

"We often say things like reach for the stars or it's out of this world. Here they heard from someone who's flown to space, came back to say you can do it too.  And that's amazing,” says Passaic Mayor Hector Lora.

Six other schools across the country are named for Dr. Ochoa.

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