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Ellen Ochoa in NASA gear | Source: Getty Images
Source: Ellen Ochoa in NASA gear | Source: Getty Images

34 Ellen Ochoa Quotes That Inspire Women to Reach for the Stars

Dayna Remus
Jan 01, 2023
07:55 A.M.
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Space is an unending mystery that humanity continues to study with ongoing fascination. Some of us even get to travel there, one being Ellen Ochoa. Ochoa's achievements in the field as a Hispanic woman put her squarely in the history books. Read 34 quotes from the powerful woman below.

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Ellen Ochoa was born in Los Angeles on May 10, 1958. She went to Stanford University and studied electrical engineering, eventually completing her master's degree in 1981 and her doctorate four years later.

These doctorates were just the beginning of Ochoa's historical achievements. In 1993, the astronaut was the first Hispanic woman to go to space. From there, she didn't slow down, becoming the first Hispanic and second female director of the JSC, among many other successes.

Read through the following 34 quotes to discover more about Ochoa's journey from the ground up.

 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "It was just very peaceful." | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "It was just very peaceful." | Image: AmoDays

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Ellen Ochoa's Quotes on Education

"I tell students that the opportunities I had were a result of having a good educational background." — Ellen Ochoa

"I believe a good education can take you anywhere on Earth and beyond." — Ellen Ochoa

"A hallmark of the Latino community is to help one another; if students are interested in a way to give back and help their communities, becoming a teacher is probably one of the very best ways of doing that." — Ellen Ochoa

"Education is what allows you to stand out." — Ellen Ochoa

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"I think of it as a good opportunity to let, in particular, school kids know that this job and other interesting jobs in science and engineering are open to anyone who works hard in school and gets a good education and studies math and science. And that it's not just for a select group of people." — Ellen Ochoa

 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I believe a good education can take you anywhere on Earth and beyond." | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I believe a good education can take you anywhere on Earth and beyond." | Image: AmoDays

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"I was always drawn to teachers who made class interesting. In high school, I enjoyed my American and English literature classes because my teachers, Jeanne Dorsey and Dani Barton, created an environment where interaction was important." — Ellen Ochoa

"Don't be afraid to reach for the stars." — Ellen Ochoa

"Throughout Johnson Space Center's history, contributions to STEM innovation and discoveries have been both through new technologies developed to advance human spaceflight and through educating, inspiring, and hiring students in STEM fields." — Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa's Quotes on Being a Woman in Space

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"Today, women are represented throughout the NASA family, and they share the attributes that have always been important in NASA throughout its history: education, determination and enthusiasm, and an absolute belief that there's nowhere else that we'd rather be and there's nothing else that we'd rather be doing." — Ellen Ochoa

"If you know high school students or you're a high school student tuning in, think about applying for our WISH program, that stands for "Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars." — Ellen Ochoa

 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "What everyone in the astronaut corps shares in common is not gender or ethnic background, but the motivation, perseverance, and desire — the desire to participate in a voyage of discovery." | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "What everyone in the astronaut corps shares in common is not gender or ethnic background, but the motivation, perseverance, and desire — the desire to participate in a voyage of discovery." | Image: AmoDays

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"Usually, girls weren't encouraged to go to college and major in math and science. My high school calculus teacher, Ms. Paz Jensen, made math appealing and motivated me to continue studying it in college." — Ellen Ochoa

"This was the last astronaut job that was not [yet] done by a woman. Now with this milestone, we can focus on the fact that what is important [is] to succeed in life, it does not matter whether you are a man or a woman." — Ellen Ochoa

"Women's suffrage created a greater representation of diverse views in our political and social system. That was an important milestone that really step-by-step eventually led to NASA's selection of the first six women astronauts in 1978." — Ellen Ochoa

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"I was born in 1958, the same year NASA was established, which I like to think of as not a coincidence. I was 11 when they landed on the moon Apollo Eleven. And, of course, everybody in the whole world was watching that. But I can tell you, at that time, nobody ever asked a girl, 'Is that something you want to grow up and do?'" — Ellen Ochoa

"What everyone in the astronaut corps shares in common is not gender or ethnic background, but the motivation, perseverance, and desire — the desire to participate in a voyage of discovery." — Ellen Ochoa

 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "Usually, girls weren't encouraged to go to college and major in math and science. My high school calculus teacher, Ms. Paz Jensen, made math appealing and motivated me to continue studying it in college." | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "Usually, girls weren't encouraged to go to college and major in math and science. My high school calculus teacher, Ms. Paz Jensen, made math appealing and motivated me to continue studying it in college." | Image: AmoDays

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"I had the privilege of flying a very significant historic artifact during one of my space shuttle missions to the international space station. It was a banner of the National Women's Party which was used one hundred years ago as the party was fighting to secure for women the most basic right of a democracy: the right to vote." — Ellen Ochoa

"Sally [Ride] made it possible for anyone to become an astronaut." — Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa's Quotes on Her Life and Career

"I'll tell you, being involved in human space flight, it is an emotional endeavor. I think it brings in the highest highs and the lowest lows." — Ellen Ochoa

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"The ISS operates as the 'anchor customer' in low earth orbit to support new commercial space services, including delivery of cargo and, before long, crew transportation services." — Ellen Ochoa

"Well, with so many space shuttle missions that we've done, I think it's just sort of natural that each one hasn't necessarily gotten the attention that the early ones did." — Ellen Ochoa

 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I'll tell you, being involved in human space flight, it is an emotional endeavor. I think it brings in the highest highs and the lowest lows."  | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I'll tell you, being involved in human space flight, it is an emotional endeavor. I think it brings in the highest highs and the lowest lows." | Image: AmoDays

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"We are involved in technology development for, you know, missions that we hope to plan that would take us to an asteroid and eventually to Mars." — Ellen Ochoa

"I think what we have always brought to NASA and brought to the country is trying to push the boundaries, trying to go to the next level." — Ellen Ochoa

"These robotic arms, provided by Canada, have been invaluable in allowing us to build, maintain, and repair space structures, and I've been very fortunate to have gotten to operate them." — Ellen Ochoa

"It's fun to work the robotic arm in part because it's really a team effort." — Ellen Ochoa

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"I followed my brother's footsteps and obtained my pilot's license." — Ellen Ochoa

 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I think what we have always brought to NASA and brought to the country is trying to push the boundaries, trying to go to the next level." | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I think what we have always brought to NASA and brought to the country is trying to push the boundaries, trying to go to the next level." | Image: AmoDays

"It was just very peaceful." — Ellen Ochoa

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"What we do here at NASA is explore space and understand how you can get humans to and from space safely as well as accomplish something in space — whether it's going farther or understanding how you really live and work—and accomplish science objectives. It's hard, and it really does take a team. To me, that's one of the great rewards of working here. You get to feel like you're part of a team that is so talented and so dedicated." — Ellen Ochoa

"We are constantly emphasizing to people that they need to address anything that affects flight safety or mission success — many pathways to do that. We need to understand better what may be preventing people from using those pathways." — Ellen Ochoa

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"There was a lot of light and a lot of rumbling and vibration, especially the first minute or minute-and-a-half. And then after about two minutes, when the solid rocket boosters separated, the ride got a lot smoother." — Ellen Ochoa

"We run the programs, and we support them through all of our folks, but usually the hardware is somewhere else." — Ellen Ochoa

 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I followed my brother's footsteps and obtained my pilot's license." | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "I followed my brother's footsteps and obtained my pilot's license." | Image: AmoDays

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"Astronauts are very professional, and when preparing for a launch, they prepare for it as the most serious endeavor of their lives." — Ellen Ochoa

"Being an astronaut is a wonderful career. I feel very privileged. But what I really hope for young people is that they find a career they're passionate about…" — Ellen Ochoa

"I don't recall any interest in science in particular. It came later in college." — Ellen Ochoa

"I'm honored to be recognized among generations of astronauts who were at the forefront of exploring our universe for the benefit of humankind." — Ellen Ochoa

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 Ellen Ochoa's quote: "Don't be afraid to reach for the stars." | Image: AmoDays

Ellen Ochoa's quote: "Don't be afraid to reach for the stars." | Image: AmoDays

In 2018, Ochoa officially retired and became vice chair of the National Science Board (NSB). Four schools have been named after her, and she has received numerous medals and awards, such as an Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1995 and the Exceptional Service Medal two years later.

Outside of her career, she is married to property attorney Coe Miles and loves to play the flute. In fact, she brought a flute with her on her first space mission in 1993.

Read quotes from another woman who made strides for women of color, Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black woman millionaire in the United States.

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