Astronaut Touched Down at Adams Wednesday

Carlos Santos
The Paw Print

Last Wednesday, October 23, Adams State hosted a visit from Astronaut Jose Moreno Hernandez. Hernandez is an accomplished public speaker who shared his experience of being raised as a son of a migrant farmworker and becoming an Astronaut for NASA.  Hailing from Stockton, California, Hernández’s parents are natives of Michoacán, Mexico and would come to California during harvest season.
His story of growing up in poverty to achieving his dream of flying into outer space is one of inspiration that was truly motivating for all who were fortunate to attend.
As the youngest of 4 children to Mexican immigrants, Jose’s family originally migrated to French Camp in Northern California.  Working various farmers’ fields to harvest everything from potatoes to corn, his family never had much.
It was a hard life being a migrant working family, and Jose did not even learn to speak English fluently until the age of 12.  However, Jose’s parents valued their children’s education and made sure each child attended school during the harvest season.
After the end of each harvest season, Jose’s father would tell his children to ask their teachers for 3 months’ worth of homework assignments as the family would return to Michoacán.  Jose shared in his talk that when he approached his 2nd grade teacher for these assignments, she requested to have a talk with his parents.
Over a family dinner that night Jose’s teacher, Ms. Chung, shared a story with Jose’s father.  She asked him what would happen if he took four trees each with their own planter and uprooted them.  Then moving them to a new planter every 3 months, they would receive water until being moved again to a new planter. Jose’s father being a farmer stated that the trees would live, but their growth would be stunted.
This, Ms. Chung explained, was what his children’s education would be like; Jose’s father decided from that moment on the family would spend less time each year in Mexico so the children could receive the most from their education.
Jose’s and all his siblings would go on to receive college degrees from various Universities. Jose would himself complete his bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering; he would complete his Masters of Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering from University of California Santa Barbara.  Following in the footsteps of his hero, Latin-American Astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz, Jose would apply to join the NASA Space program.
After several years of training at the Johnson Space Center, Hernandez would be selected for the program in 2004, and eventually launch in to orbit as Mission Specialist on August 28th, 2009. Jose M. Hernandez’s story is one that many can relate as he overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve his dreams. From his humble beginnings as a poor migrant worker to orbiting in space as an Astronaut, Hernandez demonstrates that all things are possible if you work hard and believe.
After giving his talk, Mr. Hernandez was kind enough to sign autographs in the SUB lobby and take pictures with fans. It was very inspiring for those who attended the event, and great job by Adams state for recruiting Mr. Hernandez.
His book Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut is for sale online on Amazon and other websites both in English and Spanish. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet