• 2018 HENAAC Luminary •
When Steven González was in the eighth grade, he heard the call to “Go where no one had gone before” while watching Star Trek on TV. Today, as Technology Transfer Strategist for the NASA Johnson Space Center Exploration Integration and Science Directorate, his visionary approach and out-of-the-box thinking has created a large-scale STEM-based ecosystem and developed long term partnerships with outside entities. Together, these and other initiatives form the stepping-stones to future space exploration.
Mr. González is responsible for developing integrated strategies for business opportunities and partnerships across JSC, a role in which he analyzes, coordinates, and integrates a number of complex program elements into long-range strategies and plans that will determine the future direction of the center for the decades ahead.
Growing up as Puerto Rican in New York City, Mr. González faced obstacles in his path to become the first in his family to go to college, particularly after the family moved to the New Jersey suburbs at a time when discrimination was a major impediment. When his high school guidance counselor tried to steer him towards a blue collar career path, he became even more determined to excel in academics and graduated as the salutatorian of a class of nearly 650 students.
He went on to earn a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Boston University and received a GEM Fellowship to pursue a Master’s in Computer Science from Texas A&M University. He joined NASA after graduation and quickly engaged with the Hispanic Advisory Committee, inspired by his younger brother who had discovered that Mr. González’s achievements had broken down barriers that allowed him and his siblings to eventually graduate from Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
He has given back to the wider Hispanic community through his work with the Minority University Research and Education Project to seed research projects in support of his technology labs, and through his co-leadership of NASA’s Diversity Council.
Named one of the 100 Most Important Hispanics in Technology and Business, Mr. González has also received the Federal Lab Consortium, State and Local Economic Development Award, a NASA Exception Service Medal, and a JSC Certificate of Commendation for exceptional leadership and technical abilities.