Shoot for the Moon and Reach for the Stars

Zaida Hernandez, Latina NASA engineer, first-generation Salvadoran American, STEM advocate, and now an author, inspired the children at the Project Access Resource Center at the Crystal View Apartments in Garden Grove, California, to pursue their education and dreams. This special event was presented in cooperation with KIA USA and Lil’ Libros Publishing and was a memorable occasion.

“It was such a great event,” said Veronica Arias-Aguayo, Resident Services, Regional Manager for Project Access. “Zaida gave a wonderful presentation on her career, related stories of always having a fascination with space – stars, planets, and the unknown! All the children listened spellbound, as she spoke about working hard at her studies, her high school and college NASA’s internship programs and her love of space. Zaida then presented a reading from her first book My First Space Words in English and Spanish and the children received a signed complimentary copy.”

Zaida said she hopes to inspire future bilingual scientists, engineers, and space explorers! Currently, she is working at NASA full-time as a thermal engineer, which means she gets to work on super cool projects including the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), which is the rover going to the moon this year! Zaida also works on the Artemis Program, doing thermal analysis and subsystem management for Orion. “This event was held, to inspire our underserved and under-resourced youth to achieve big things in their lives,” said Bianca Casillas Zavala, Resident Services Coordinator for the Project Access Resource Center at Crystal View Apartments. “You can tell by the photos that our audience was very receptive to Zaida and her presence – everyone had a wonderful time, and I know it will be a positive, long-lasting memory for our residents.”