Meet Cynthia Sarmiento, the Latina Who Wants to Put Latinos on the Aerospace Map

Cynthia Sarmiento BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Telemundo Bay Area.

Following the legacy of Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut, and Diana Trujillo, aerospace engineer Cynthia Sarmiento wants to continue paving the way for Latinas in space science.

“My dream has always been to be an astronaut,” she said. “What I liked about that work field was that the possibilities were all unlimited. People are thinking about space and always wonder, ‘What is up there?’” Sarmiento told Telemundo20.

A native of San Diego, Cynthia Sarmiento graduated as an aerospace engineer in 2019 from San Jose State University. While in school, she did projects directly with NASA, which opened the door for a full-time position as an engineer with the space agency in Mountain View.

Her specialty is testing for materials used in spacecraft.

“Recently, I’ve helped with tests for the Mars Rover that just landed on Mars in February,” Sarmiento said. “I think that’s what has continued to inspire me.”

However, one of the parallel accomplishments to her professional growth has been breaking barriers in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

“That’s what inspired me to join this career, which is male-dominated,” she mentioned, referring to getting different ladies into the engineering work pressure. “And to also represent Latinos because there aren’t many Latino engineers, especially in the aerospace work field.”

Cynthia Sarmiento’s message to new generations of Latinas questioning a career in STEM is empowering:

“You can do it,” she inspired them. “I started as a waitress while I studied, and within two years of graduating, I was able to get the job of my dreams by becoming an engineer for NASA.”

With information from Telemundo.