Maria Arredondo, an education program specialist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland was honored last week at the 2015 annual National Women of Color Technology Awards Conference in Detroit, Michigan, with the Technology Rising Star Award.

“I am extremely honored and grateful to receive the 2015 Women of Color STEM Award,” said Arredondo. “But, I would like to offer a few words of wisdom: Though pursuing a degree in a STEM field may not always be to popular topic of discussion among friends, go for it! Young women may not realize it now, but their passion, motivation and drive to work in science, technology, engineering or mathematics or STEM fields will make a difference for our economy and will also inspire other women that they can do anything they put their minds to.”

As an education program specialist, Arredondo provides unique opportunities for learners of all ages to explore and develop their full learning potential. She ignites interest in STEM by leading a team of educators from across the country to integrate NASA content and materials in the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Participating student teams solve real-world engineering design challenges with assistance and mentoring from NASA scientists and engineers.

Arredondo’s efforts have enhanced NASA’s ability to advance information about career opportunities in STEM. She has played a key role in supporting exceptional programs with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Great Lakes Science Center, MacArthur Foundation/Digital Youth Network, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the United States Department of Education.

A native of Lorain, Ohio, Arredondo began her NASA career in 2005 as a high school summer intern. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University and her master’s degree in public administration from Cleveland State University in Cleveland.

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