Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Hispanic and Latino(a)(x) Innovators Who Inspire Us at Anaconda

National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from September 15th to October 15th, recognizes the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans. The term Hispanic refers to someone from, or is a descendant of, a Spanish-speaking country. Latino(a)(x) refers to someone who comes from Latin America, or is a descendant from any Latin American country. While it’s called “Hispanic Heritage Month,” this month is meant to recognize a broader group of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central, and South America.

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Anaconda would like to share stories that showcase many Hispanic and Latinx contributions to tech, science, and society. Below we note just a few individuals that our team found particularly inspiring.

Dr. France A. Córdova is an astrophysicist and the 14th director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF is the only government agency charged with advancing scientific discovery, technological innovation, and STEM education. Dr. France A. Córdova is recognized for her significant contributions through science, technology, innovation, invention, and education. Specifically, her assistance in multi-spectrum research on x-ray and gamma-ray sources and space-borne instrumentation had made her an internationally recognized astrophysicist. Also, she was the youngest person and the first woman to serve as NASA’s chief scientist.

Dr. Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski is a Cuban-American theoretical physicist from Chicago. Sabrina is known for a variety of reasons; she has an incredibly long list of accomplishments. She was the first woman to graduate at the top of her undergraduate program from MIT in 20 years with a 5.00 GPA and earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her interest in STEM led her to create an airplane engine at age ten and complete it two years later, which she then flew at 14 years old. She was on Forbes “30 under 30” list twice, once at 19 and then at 21 years old as a physicist. Stephen Hawkings has even cited three of Pasterski’s papers. And in 2016, she was invited to the White House for her advocacy for Let Girls Learn, a government initiative launched by former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama that focuses on assisting girls in obtaining an education that empowers them.

Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman in space! The astronaut and engineer boarded the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. After logging almost 1,000 hours in orbit, she became the first Hispanic director of the Johnson Space Center. This native Californian was recognized with NASA’s most prestigious award, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Lucía Gallardo is the founder and CEO of Emerge. This start-up addresses social problems with emerging technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI). Originally from Honduras, Gallardo is on the Board of Directors for Penta Network, a company building inclusive blockchain solutions, and Crypto Kids Camp, a non-profit organization that connects kids from lower-income households to emerging technologies, among other organizations.

Sebastián Ramírez is the creator of FastAPI, which is a Python high-performance framework used for building APIs. He has also created countless other open-source projects, such as Typer and SQLModel. Originally from Colombia, now living in Berlin, Sebastián is now a software engineer at Forethought, helping to scale the organization’s AI services and infrastructure. As a leader in the open-source community, he has helped make a difference for data scientists and developers through his projects and countless contributions.

Soledad Antelada Toledano was the first female computer systems engineer and researcher in the cyber security division at Berkeley National Lab. Originally from Buenos Aires, she studied computer science in Spain, where she was a software developer for 8+ years before working with the cybersecurity group at Berkeley. She most recently became a Security Technical Program Manager at Google. She is also the Founder of GirlsCanHack, an organization whose goal is to help close the gender gap in tech. GirlsCanHack connects members with cybersecurity events and conferences, provides guidance for entering the industry, and visibility with women role models in the tech and cybersecurity space.

The talent demonstrated by the Hispanic and Latinx communities is boundless, and the above reflects only a fraction of it. While our list is far from comprehensive, it is a reflection of our values here at Anaconda. Like other cultural subsets of American society, we believe that the Hispanic and Latinx communities deserve recognition for their many achievements. So thank you to the Hispanic and Latinx innovators who have changed our lives for the better… and Happy Hispanic Heritage month!

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