"For the Stars and Beyond"

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 21, 2009) Orlando Figueroa, director of Applied Engineering & Technology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, will challenge USF students to reach “for the stars and beyond” in a noon lecture Friday, Oct. 23, at the Embassy Suites Hotel on the USF campus. Seating is limited. Please email Bernard Batson, or call 813-396-9309 to reserve a seat.


Figueroa appears as part of the dean of the College of Engineering’s inaugural Diversity in Engineering and Science Lecture and in recognition of Hispanic Heritage month celebrations on campus. The event is open to the campus community.


Figueroa was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where as a child he combined his interest in mechanical toys and fascination with space into a career as one of the nation’s leading scientists. In 2002, Figueroa was name “The Most Influential Hispanic in the Nation” by Hispanic Business Magazine.


Figueroa has spent 27 years at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland in a variety of leadership positions. He is the former director of Mars Exploration at NASA, where he led a team of hundreds of scientists, engineers, and program specialists in one of the agency’s most ambitious projects to determine if life has ever existed on Mars.


His lecture is co-sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)/USF Chapter and the Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Program/USF.



The University of South Florida System is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The system offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. It has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.