Things That Matter

NASA Is Sending Their First Cuban-American To The International Space Station

Meet Serena Auñón-Chancellor. She will be the first Cuban-American to make it to space.


Serena Auñón-Chancellor has been tapped to join fellow astronauts at the International Space Station in November of next year. While Auñón-Chancellor won’t be the first Latina to make it to space (Ellen Ochoa has that honor), Auñón-Chancellor will have the designation of being the first Cuban-American to go to space.

According to Martí Noticias, Auñón-Chancellor has been training for this moment for a long time. Academically, she prepared by getting a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, a master’s in public health science, and a doctorate in medicine. Auñón-Chancellor is also the second Latina to be selected as an astronaut for NASA.

Even though she has been an astronaut since 2009, Auñón-Chancellor is still training to make sure she is ready.


And she looks super excited to finally be taking this major step in her career.

Auñón-Chancellor is one of five astronauts that were chosen to take part in different missions scheduled through 2018.


“It’s great to get to announce so many assignments at once,” Chris Cassidy, the chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement. “There’s plenty of work to be done at the space station, and the research opportunities are almost limitless. These folks are all going to do great work and bring a lot of value to their crewmates.”

And people are celebrating Auñón-Chancellor’s exciting announcement.


Auñón-Chancellor currently lives in Houston, Texas and is a licensed physician who started her career at NASA as a flight surgeon in 2006. When she was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009, she assisted with medical operation in Russia for nine months.

Looks like more and more Latinxs are going to be representing up in space.


Congrats, Auñón-Chancellor.


READ: The First Latina In Space Wants To Use Her Experience To Produce More STEM Graduates

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Croquettes In Cuba Are Literally Exploding In People’s Faces

Culture

The Croquettes In Cuba Are Literally Exploding In People’s Faces

It’s the case of the exploding croquettes.

We’ve all been at least halfway there. So eager to get our hands on a freshly fried croquette whose smell of jamón is just too tasty to pass up. We get a little too eager and then a little burned. But in the case of dozens of Cubans on the little island, circumstances are much more sinister. Cubans have complained about experiencing severe burns from croquettes for months. Photos posted to social media sites show people with severe burns all of their faces, on their eyes, hands, and torsos.

Cubans are pointing their fingers at Prodal, a state company based in Havana saying they’re the ones to blame.

In a recent report by NBC, the exploding croquettes are being described as “tragicomedy” of strange proportions on the Caribbean island that “imports 60 percent to 70 percent of its food, according to official figures, because national production can’t meet the needs of its 11 million inhabitants.”

Prodal is a state company based in Havana that is being blamed for the incidents which have been cited on social media. In response, the company posted instructions on how to fry the croquettes to avoid “violent” incidents on Twitter.

According to NBC, Prodal produced 20,000 tons of food last year, which was largely made up of sausages and croquettes. The products are sold in government stores. 

Cuba’s Ministry of Domestic Trade told NBC that it has yet to investigate the complaints, saying the complaints “must be presented formally,” not through social media.

“We are investigating an incident with croquettes, but not with those of that company,” an official told NBC.

The bizarre incidents highlight how little guarantee Cubans have of the quality of the food that they purchase from government establishments. It also underlines the little efforts the government does to ensure citizens are compensated for buying food that is defective.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Group of Latino Students In the Bronx Had Their Names Flown Into Space on NASA’s Mars Rover

Things That Matter

This Group of Latino Students In the Bronx Had Their Names Flown Into Space on NASA’s Mars Rover

Photo via Alejandro Mundo

Everyone has a teacher that has come into their life and gone above and beyond. A teacher that has changed your life for the better. For a group of Latino students at Kingsbridge International High School in the Bronx, that teacher is Alejandro Mundo.

Science teacher Alejandro Mundo encouraged his astronomy class to send their names into the NASA’s Mars space rover.

Not only is Mr. Mundo a beloved high school science teacher, he’s also an associate NASA researcher. Apparently, NASA was the one who proposed the idea to Mr. Mundo in the first place. NASA reached out to Mr. Mundo and asked if the 25 astronomy students would send their names, stenciled on chips, on the Mars Rover.

NASA believed the idea would symbolize a personal touch between humanity and the mystery and wonder of space. They also liked the idea of a group of Latino students–a group that is underrepresented in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)–and the historic space mission.

Alejandro Mundo’s primary reason for becoming a science teacher in the first place was to get more inner-city kids of color into the STEM fields.

As of now, Black and Latinos make up between 8 and 9 percent of STEM occupations. Kingsbridge International High School, the school that Mr. Mundo teaches at, is 93 percent Latino. 86 percent of those students are leaning English as a second language.

“The only way we can change that in the future is by starting with this current generation,” Mundo told NBC News. “So by igniting my students with a passion for science, that is the key that I have seen that can make a difference. Little by little, we will be changing those statistics.”

Born in Mexico, Alejandro Mundo came over to the US when he was 12-years-old, hardly knowing any English.

The adults around him–who were supposed to support him–told him that he would end up “cleaning bathrooms” or “working in a factory”. Mundo knew he was destined for more than that. “No, I’m going to college,” he told himself. “I’m going to get a career, and I’m going to use this career not for my personal growth but to help others, specifically people like me.”

Now, Alejandro Mundo inspires his majority-Latino students to also reach for the stars–literally and figuratively. He does that by engaging them on a creative level, like when he took his class on a field trip to the NYC Center for Aerospace and Applied Mathematics. The center showed his students what its like to be an astronaut. They also viewed a simulated space mission to Mars.

Alejandro Mundo has directly inspired his students both with his teaching methods, and with his own example of success.

In fact, his students love him so much that they created the “Mundology Club”, a club dedicated to STEM fields–and an obvious tribute to their favorite teacher.

“I couldn’t have this opportunity in my country,” said one of Mundo’s students, Dominican-born Jorge Fernandez, about the opportunity for his name to “travel” to Mars. “I feel like our teacher made that possible. It’s really important for us Latinos to get into it, because, basically, we can do a lot.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com