A NASA rocket scientist will give the keynote speech at the GIrls Inc. of Carpinteria’s Women of Inspiration luncheon at noon April 11 at the nonprofit’s campus, 5315 Foothill Road, Carpinteria.
The speaker is Tracey Van Houten, a rocket scientist and lead engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
In her nearly two decades at JPL, Ms. Van Houten had worked on missions such as the Perseverance and Curiosity rovers on Mars, an Earth science mission called SMAP and more than 100 conceptual space missions. She’s currently JPL’s Europa Clipper System Testbed lead engineer.
Ms. Van Houten calls herself a “STEMinist” — an activist, advocate and mentor for women and all those who have been historically excluded from science, technology, engineering and math fields.
“Our mission at Girls Inc. is to ignite girls’ potential so they can break through barriers, reach for the stars and accomplish their goals,” said Jamie Collins, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s executive director. “Tracey is a shining example of what it means to be strong, smart, and bold — and her incredible story of discovering a world beyond her own highlights the importance of encouraging girls to dream big and follow their aspirations. We’re thrilled to have Tracey share her inspiring journey with the community at this year’s luncheon.”
In 2017, Ms. Van Houten campaigned to be the first female engineer in the U.S. House of Representatives and currently serves as a state Assembly appointee on California’s Oil Spill and Recovery Technical Advisory Committee. She is a life member of the Society of Women Engineers, a California board member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and a public-school advocate.
This year’s luncheon will also include Women of Inspiration 2022 awards. Recipients are Lynda Fairly, Catherine Brozowski with the Audacious Foundation, and Mercedes Millington and Susan Torrey with the Mithun Foundation.
Tickets for the luncheon cost $75, with all proceeds benefiting Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. To purchase, visit girlsinc-carp.org or call the nonprofit at 805-684-6364.