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Diana Trujillo Pomerantz
Diana Trujillo Pomerantz

Diana Trujillo Pomerantz

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Pasadena, CA USA

"Community college made me believe that I could do it. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing is."

Career Roadmap

Diana's work combines: Science, Engineering, and Accomplishing Goals

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Day In The Life

Mission Lead, Mars Curiosity

I am an engineer contributing to both human & robotic space missions for NASA, most notably the Mars Curiosity Mission.


Day In The Life Of A Mission Leader At NASA

My Day to Day

I work with my team to ensure the communications between the spacecraft and scientists on Earth runs smoothly and I oversee all aspects of the mission to ensure everyone has what they need and does a good job. My work is very "in the moment", things can go wrong very quickly and I need to be fully prepared to deal with it.

Skills & Education

Advice for getting started

You have to remember your purpose and what kind of impact you want to make in the world. That will keep you on the path.

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Associate's Degree

    Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical/Space Engineering, General

    Miami Dade College

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical/Space Engineering, General

    University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    Born and raised in Colombia—says it was a “toxic environment” and that she used to worry about whether she would make it home at night.

  • 2.

    Grew up watching "I Dream of Jeannie"—was inspired by the characters working at NASA and used to dream of working there one day.

  • 3.

    Leaving her family behind, she came to the U.S. when she was 17 with $300 in her pocket and didn’t speak any English.

  • 4.

    She worked four jobs, barely had money to eat, and lived out of her car, but she would never miss school—she knew that with an education she would be unstoppable.

  • 5.

    Says that her decision to go to community college set her up for success—the small classes, attentive professors, low cost, and diversity, made her feel comfortable and believe that she could do it.

  • 6.

    Picked her aerospace engineering major based on researching the backgrounds of female astronauts—admits that she had no idea what aerospace engineering was.

  • 7.

    She now leads the team at NASA’s JPL in charge of the Mars Curiosity rover, a vehicle designed to study the Martian climate and geology in order to prepare for human exploration.

  • 8.

    Says that “you have to keep pushing forward” and respect what everyone behind you has done and sacrificed in order for you to get to where you are.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Myself:

    Maybe I shouldn't go to school. I could just start working more hours instead so that I can afford other things.

  • How I responded:

    You have to remember your purpose and what kind of impact you want to make in the world. That will keep you on the path.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

Click to expand

  • I came to the US when I was 17 with $300 and spoke no English and had no idea what I was going to do.

  • There was a time when I was working four jobs to help pay for classes, but barely making enough to eat, and living out of my car.

  • I grew up in Colombia during a rough time in it's history. It was a very dangerous place to grow up and I was always afraid of whether or not I would make it home at night.