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Diana Trujillo: for getting us closer to Mars

To mark International Women's Day, Univision honors 15 incredible Latinas who are innovating in fields from sports to science.

To aerospace engineer Diana Trujillo, life sometimes seems like a science fiction dream come true. Trujillo was born in Cali, Colombia. Though she was always captivated by space exploration, she never could have imagined that one day she would lead one of the most important missions to Mars.

"From Cali to Mars," she likes to say.

When she was 17, Trujillo moved to the United States. Her father gave her $300 because “it was time for me to figure out my future,” she says. She got three jobs and enrolled in Miami Dade community college. Years later, she got an internship at the NASA Academy Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. There she worked in the Constellation program, where she helped create the next generation of spaceships that will fly to the Moon and Mars.

Thanks to this, Trujillo was then chosen to lead the Mars Curiosity Rover mission, the most important program at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in California. She is in charge of the instrument that “removes dust from rocks to perforate and study their chemical components,” according to the Orlando Sentinel, and of programing the rover’s daily 12-hour routes.

“It’s unthinkable,” Trujillo says. “I tell my story and then I think, ‘Is this serious, did this really happen to me?’”

Emma Gonzalez
For calling B.S. on the NRA
Marlen Esparza
For revolutionizing women's boxing
Germaine Franco
For bringing Mexican music to the big screen
Rita Moreno
For redefining what it means to be 86
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
For bringing marginalized farmworker's voices into the #MeToo conversation
Diana Trujillo
For getting us closer to Mars
Princess Nokia
For infusing rap with punk rock, feminism and 'Afrolatinidad'
Candi CdeBaca
For fighting gentrification in a changing Denver
Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski
For breaking barriers in the exploration of space and time
Cristina Martínez
For daring to talk about undocumented restaurant workers
Geisha Williams
For leading California into a green energy future
Elizabeth Guzman
For taking her immigrant story to the Virginia legislature
Reyna Montoya
For encouraging undocumented youth to dream and heal
Maria Hinojosa
For putting Latino stories front and center
Gabby Rivera
For being the first queer Latina to write for Marvel Comics

Coordination: Jessica Weiss, Olivia Liendo and Allie Jaynes.

Illustrations: Grace Berríos and Jackie Albano.

Web design and development: Juan Jesús Gómez.

Editorial: Nathalie Alvaray, Tamoa Calzadilla, Juliana Jiménez, Douglas Gómez and Rogerio Manzano.

Photo Editing: David Maris.

This story was produced in collaboration with Univision Contigo, Univision's social responsibility team.

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