September 26, 2012 by mramirez2
Jose Hernandez was born from a Mexican family in French Camp, California on August 7, 1962. Hernandez lived in humble conditions during his youth as he helped his parents in farm work and moved from town to town. He lived half of the time in La Piedad, and half the time in the United States. So much moving from town to town, school to school, caused a delay in Hernandez’s learning of English. He became bilingual at age 12 and graduated high school in Stockton, California. He then attended the University of the Pacific and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Two years later, Hernandez earned an M.S in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
After getting his M.S, Hernandez worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and with the cooperation of one more colleague, he developed the first full –field digital mammography imaging system, widely used today for early breast cancer detection. In 2001, Hernandez joined NASA in Houston, Texas as a member of the Johnson Space Center. NASA elected Hernandez as an astronaut candidate in 2004 and completed his training in 2006. Hernandez worked as an aquanaut and in various technical assignments, and on July 15, 2008, was elected as a mission specialist on the STS-128 mission which set forth on August 28, 2009. Hernandez’s inspiration to go into space came from the first Hispanic in space, Franklin Chang-Diaz. While in orbit, Hernandez became the first person to use Spanish in space while tweeting and returned to Earth on September 11, 2009.
After his work in NASA, Jose Hernandez is now attempting to earn a seat in the House of Representatives. He is an advocate of education, democracy, and an immigration reform. As a beneficiary of this country, Hernandez believes in the potential of everyone regardless of economic adversity. Hernandez not only impacted America, but also the vast amount of Latinos that live in the country by exposing his success story, giving all Latinos and Americans hope that we can go as far as space regardless of where we come from.