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Latina Diana Centeno-Gómez honored by NASA


By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent


Feb. 9, 2010: NASA Glenn Research Center awarded Diana Centeno-Gómez the Space Flight Awareness Honoree Award, the most prestigious honor for NASA employees.

Dr. John Sankovic (Chief of Glenn’s Bioscience and Technology Branch, Microgravity Division, Research and Technology Directorate) nominated Centeno-Gómez for the award and said she always exceeds expectation-standards and is a pleasure to work with. “She has a critical role in the team,” said Sankovic, adding Centeno-Gómez provides vital expertise to the flight missions.

Diana Centeno-Gómez


SPA honorees are chosen from all the NASA installations, including Civil Service, contractor, international partners and military personnel, who have performed exemplary, work in support of programs and spaceflight- related assignments. As an honoree, Centeno-Gómez will have the opportunity to tour the Kennedy Space Center facilities in Florida, and view the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.


Centeno-Gómez has been employed at NASA Glenn Research Center since 1983 as a NASA Subsystem Engineer. Her main responsibility is to be NASA’s expert/steward of the Shuttle’s Purge, Vent and Drain (PV&D) subsystem’s functions, hardware, and analysis. In addition, she also works on the Biofuels program or which she conducts fundamental research and modeling in the area of alternative fuels for aviation.


She has held various positions including work at NASA Headquarters in the Office of Aeronautics in Washington, D.C.  While in Washington, she worked for the Department of Education for the White House Initiative for Hispanic Excellence in Education. 


Other previous positions include: Computer Engineer for the Principal Center for Workgroup Hardware and Software; Project Engineer for the Noise Reduction Program; and Project Manager for the Space Station Electrical Power System Power Management Controller Application. 


Her dedication and exemplary work ethic are no surprise for longtime friend Patty Quiñónez, who describes her as extremely organized, detailed and a brilliant woman who continuously amazes her. “She is a pride for the Latino community,” said Quiñónez.


Beyond her demanding career, Centeno-Gómez is committed to service; is a leader at the Hispanic Roundtable, Vice President of LATINA, and board member of the Domestic Violence Center. She is also pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics at Kent State University.


Ms. Centeno-Gómez has received several awards for her community involvement: Women of Achievement by the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW), Hispanic Women of the Year by NACOPRW, and the Community Service Award by Region IV of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.


Despite remarkable contributions and achievements her most endearing quality is humility. “Thank you for all you do, you are one of a kind and make us proud,” said Quiñónez. It is a sentiment her husband, Luis Gómez echoes: “We are very proud of your accomplishments and grateful for your continuous support,” he said.


Centeno-Gómez said she is honored by the award and recognition and said her passion for her career reflects in her performance. “I was surprised by the nomination … you do the best job you can and not just so someone will you an award,” she said.


She always had an interest in math, which helped her excel in her bachelor’s and master’s in the subject. Math, she said, opens up endless career possibilities and encourages students to explore the basics.


“There is a lot of learning potential in our community, and I have confidence the talents we have will be realized in the near future,” she said.


Copyright © 2010 by [LaPrensa Newspaper]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/20/11 20:02:43 -0700.





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