Cultural Heritage Awareness

Celebrating Lunar Landing Month

Houston • July 9, 2019

Houston Public Media and Houston First are paying tribute to the diversity in our region by spotlighting Houstonians from various communities in conjunction with national awareness months.

Human Spaceflight | The Boeing Company

Raised in Baytown, Texas, Tony Castilleja, Jr. became the first in his family to become an engineer, and after completing a summer internship with The Boeing Company, was hired full-time as a systems engineer for the Commercial Crew Development Rotation Program. Tony continues to take on new challenges at The Boeing Company, and uses his engineering background to enable the next generation of leaders in human spaceflight. While at Rice University, he served as a college captain for Great Minds in STEM Viva Technology Program. His commitment to introduce STEM early on to students has resulted in publications at the American Society of Engineering Education, talks at the U.S. Department of Education, and a national distinction as a regional finalist for the White House Fellows Program. In 2011, Tony was recognized with the Boeing Volunteer Service Award, the highest award across all of Boeing for skills-based volunteerism. Tony also co-founded Designing with Rice Engineers, Achievement through Mentorship or DREAM program, which matches disadvantaged and minority students in the Houston area with Rice University engineering undergraduates who mentor them. Tony served as president of the Houston Boeing Hispanic Employees Group – Boeing Familia.

Program Specialist | NASA

Kathryn McLaurin is an attorney, wife, mother, and a program specialist at the International Space Station Office at NASA – JSC. Kathryn guest hosts the web series Space to Ground, a short weekly wrap-up of the latest news and science from the International Space Station that showcases the diversity of activities taking place aboard the world’s only orbiting laboratory. She is involved in NASA Johnson Space Center’s community engagement efforts that help bring human space exploration to the community through immersive, multimedia experiences. Kathryn is passionate about diversity in STEM or STEM-supporting careers and encourages young people to be an active part of the Mars generation through volunteer-based activities. Kathryn is a graduate of Leadership Houston and United Way of Greater Houston’s Project Blueprint, and serves on Houston Public Media’s Young Leaders Council. In 2015, she was recognized as a national legal advisor by National Women of Achievement, Inc. and in 2016, she served as the African American Employee Resource Group Chair at NASA – JSC.