STEM Professional of the week

Ali Guarneros-Luna      
NASA Ames Research Center

Ms. Ali Guarneros Luna is a senior NASA aerospace engineer supporting the "Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES)" Program and a number of small satellite spaceflight projects within the Engineering Directorate of the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. She has made significant contributions as a member of the SPHERES Engineering team, a group that helps scientists, companies and government institutions from all over the world access the highly advanced robot platforms that are located on the International Space Station (ISS).

As a young girl growing up in Mexico, Ali read about the space shuttle missions in an encyclopedia and knew she wanted to study Aerospace Engineering. At the age of 14, Ali and her family (mother, two younger brothers and sister) immigrated to California, USA. After graduating from high school still mastering the English language, she attended San Jose City College where she obtained an A.S. degree and then transferred to San Jose State University (SJSU), Department of Engineering. Throughout this time, Ali worked two jobs to support her family and her education.

Ali graduated from SJSU with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, and began her career as an intern with NASA Ames Research Center working with the Center's Chief of Technology. She was the mission manager for the TechEdSat project, a student-led project that successfully launched a small space satellite from the International Space Station and received communications from the satellite to the ground. Now in her third year with NASA Ames, she is praised for her innovative engineering support in her role as Systems Engineer III, her vigor to dive into research and engineering subjects has been apparent as she has been successful in leading several engineering areas focused on managing the SPHERES Labs and leading spaceflight projects. Ali is their subject matter expert and has been very effective in completing key projects on schedule, on-budget and with required levels of quality. She has become the lead for safety certification and tests and repeatedly demonstrates that she can successfully document and certify equipment for flight and also has a deep understanding of why these engineering policies and disciplines are in place.

Ali is an active member of the community, participating in multiple STEM related associations and supports numerous events each year. She mentors girls and young women as well as students ranging from elementary school to the university level. Ali received both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering from San Jose State University. In October of 2013, Ali was honored by Great Minds in STEM with a HENAAC Luminary Award.

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