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Astronaut Hernandez speaks at Hispanic Ed Conference
Jose Hernandez1
Jose Hernandez

MODESTO — The 28th Annual Hispanic Education Conference will take place on Saturday, March 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Performing and Media Arts Center on the East Campus, located at 435 College Avenue in Modesto. 

The theme for this year’s conference is “Reaching Beyond the Stars” and a highlight of the morning session will be a keynote presentation by former NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez.  Registration for the conference is free and open on a first come basis with limited seating.

The main goals of the conference are to encourage local high school youth to choose a career path, focus on a goal and enlighten students about the multitude of choices available to them upon completion of high school.  The conference also offers participants an opportunity to see various role models from diverse occupational areas.  The hope is that students leave the conference feeling inspired and motivated to pursue their educational or career goals.

Hernandez, after graduating from Franklin High School in Stockton, enrolled at the University of the Pacific where he earned a degree in electrical engineering.  He was then awarded a full scholarship to the graduate program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he continued his engineering studies.  He earned his Ph.D. Science, Honoris Causa, from the University of the Pacific in 2006 and joined the Johnson Space Center in 2001.  In 2004, Hernandez reached a lifelong goal of becoming a NASA astronaut, and in August of 2009 he flew on a 14-day mission as the flight engineer on Space Shuttle Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station.  Now Hernandez has launched a new mission; he is running for Congress.

The Hispanic Education Conference check-in begins at 8 a.m. and the morning program will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Auditorium.  Community role-models will facilitate workshops on Law Enforcement, Nursing, Business, Computer Science/Graphics, Social Work, Engineering and a variety of other special topics.

Complimentary morning refreshments and lunch will be provided for all participants.  Although conference admission is free, pre-registration is requested.  A registration form is available online at or by emailing For additional information call Claudia Ramirez at 209.575.6698