|Alma mater||University of Florida |
University of Maryland, Baltimore
|Known for||Mars Curiosity Rover|
|Institutions||Jet Propulsion Laboratory |
Goddard Space Flight Center
Trujillo was born in Cali in Colombia. Her mother was at medical school when she became pregnant with Trujillo, and left her studies to look after her daughter. She attended Colegio Internacional Cañaverales Colegio Bilingüe, whilst working as a maid to raise money. She immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen with only $300. She started English lessons at the Miami Dade College and worked as a housekeeper to support her studies. She eventually transferred to the University of Florida to continue her studies in engineering. Here, she was encouraged to apply for the NASA Academy, where she was the first immigrant Hispanic woman on the program. She went on to be one of only two people from her NASA Academy cohort to be employed by NASA. Whilst at the NASA Academy, Trujillo visited the University of Maryland where she helped Professor Brian Roberts research how robots would operate in space. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering the University of Maryland in 2007. Her story was turned into a children's science book by Kari Cornell and Fatima Khan. She was a member of Sigma Gamma Tau.
Trujillo joined NASA in 2008, working at Goddard Space Flight Center on the Constellation program and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on human and robotic space missions. She has served many roles, including Surface Sampling System Activity Lead and Dust Removal Tool Lead Systems Engineer. She was responsible for ensuring Curiosity's sampling fulfilled its science objectives dust-free whilst maintaining operational safety. The Dust Removal Tool took her six months to develop, and brushes the dust of the surface of Mars to allow scientists to investigate the surface below. It was used on Curiosity's 151st day on Mars. In 2009 she was appointed telecom systems engineer for the Curiosity Rover. Trujillo was responsible for the communications between the spacecraft and scientists on Earth. She has also been Flight Ground Systems Engineer and Vehicle System Testbed Mars Surface Lead. She was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the rover landed on Mars. In 2014, Trujillo was promoted to Mission Lead. That year, she was listed as in the 20 most influential Latinos in the Technology Industry.
She has been involved in several initiatives to inspire young people from Latin America to pursue a career in science and engineering. She took part in discussion about Hidden Figures at the University of Southern California alongside Octavia Spencer and Pharrell Williams. She is a mentor for the Brooke Owens Fellowship, which she created with her husband Will Pomerantz of Virgin Galactic. She was awarded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Bruce Murray Award for Excellence in Education and Public Engagement. She featured on CBS' 2018 celebration of Women's History Month.
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