The Cuernavaca campus has welcomed Katya Echazarreta, the first Mexican woman astronaut, who talked about her career and experience.
By Valeria Carrillo & Mayra Galván | Cuernavaca Campus - 07/28/2022 Photo Andrea Trujillo, Mayra Galván

“Being prepared and ready with the necessary work experience, education, and training (and) the love I have for what I do and helping others.”

These were the words of Katya Echazarreta, the first Mexican woman and the youngest American to journey into space, as she talked about why she was selected to go into space.

The engineer visited Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Cuernavaca campus to share her experience, where she also received an award from Ingenia: Women in Engineering and Science at Tecnológico de Monterrey.

“They were interested in the work I do with women and girls interested in science and engineering.”

Katya was selected from among 7,000 applicants from 100 different countries to participate in a trip at speeds of more than 3,200 km/h, exceeding 100 kilometers in altitude, which in 10 minutes changed the course of her life.



Reaching space at the age of 26

Katya was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and at just 26 years old, she traveled to space in the New Shepard capsule, which lifted off from Texas at 8:26 a.m. on June 4 for Blue Origin’s NS-21 mission, carrying a crew of 6 astronauts.

She began by studying electrical engineering at the University of California (UCLA) and later worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), participating in the Perseverance Rover and Europa Clipper missions.

About her journey to space, Katya revealed that she knew it was going to be important, particularly for women interested in science and technology, but she didn’t expect so many Latino girls and young women to be inspired.

“This has given me a huge responsibility that I’m ready to take on and do something about.”



What motivated her to achieve her goals?

Ever since she was a child, she always had the goal of going beyond the sky and motivating women and minorities interested in the fields of science and engineering. 

“What do you want to do about it? That’s what I always ask myself.”

“Which is why when I was in college, I would put a W on my hand (to remember her question), because what do we do when we feel defeated? We look downwards. So, whenever I’d feel that way and I would see it, it would really help me to carry on.”

Katya encouraged those present to act to realize their dreams.

“Many people are afraid of their dreams, and that’s why I decided to take the important step of not only wishing for it but doing something about it to try to achieve it.”



Katya’s tips for girls and women

While interacting with outstanding students and project participants from the campus, she shared a wide range of tips for addressing the challenges faced by women in their professional lives:

  1. Women cannot be mediocre. They must be spectacular next to men.
  2. To study engineering, women must be strong enough (and it shouldn’t be like this) to handle any challenge.
  3. Go from wanting something to doing something about it.
  4. You don’t have to be perfect or be the best, you have to find that love for why you’re doing it.
  5. Understand who you are and what you’re worth.




Her visit to the Tec’s Cuernavaca campus

Katya’s presence at Tecnológico de Monterrey was part of a special trip to the Municipality of Xochitepec, Morelos, where her family is from, in collaboration with Mayor Roberto Gonzalo Flores Zúñiga.

During her visit, she had the opportunity to talk about her experience to an auditorium full of students and the community in general, where she signed autographs and took photographs with the attendees.

The School of Engineering and Sciences gave her recognition through Ingenia: Women in Engineering and Science, an initiative promoting gender equality and the participation of girls and young women in STEM careers and subjects.

“Katya’s visit was very moving. Without a doubt, it will leave a mark on our future engineers who have her example of work and perseverance to follow big dreams,” said engineer David García, professor and the organizer of the visit.

Katya toured the laboratories of the campus’ flagship projects: PrepaTec’s Iktan Roving Team, TecXotic, and Lebotics, where the students told her about their achievements.




Katya Echazarreta, la primera mexicana en llegar al espacio exterior visita el Tec campus CuernavacaKatya Echazarreta, la primera mexicana en llegar al espacio exterior visita el Tec campus CuernavacaKatya Echazarreta, la primera mexicana en llegar al espacio exterior visita el Tec campus CuernavacaKatya Echazarreta, la primera mexicana en llegar al espacio exterior visita el Tec campus Cuernavaca
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