Profile: NASA Engineer Urges Women and Latinx to Shoot for the Stars | AIChE

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Profile: NASA Engineer Urges Women and Latinx to Shoot for the Stars



Joan Melendez Misner, a chemical engineer working at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), grew up in Orlando, FL, watching rockets launch from Cape Canaveral on field trips to the Kennedy Space Center. Born on a Panama Army Base to two loving parents, Melendez Misner moved to Puerto Rico as a child, before eventually immigrating to the mainland.

Her mother, a devoted mother and wife, worked several jobs, making ambulances at a factory and cleaning offices at night. It was Melendez Misner’s mother who first bought her a telescope to gaze up at the night sky — through the lens, Melendez Misner saw her future.

“My mother always instilled this sense of ‘you need to do better than me,’” she says.

Melendez Misner began her higher education at a local community college before earning degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry from the Univ. of Maryland and Towson Univ., respectively. She takes pride in being a first-generation college student. A passionate science communicator, she believes that encouraging...

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