Former Astronaut and Engineer, NASA
Jose Hernandez was born in French Camp, California in 1962. For much of his childhood, Jose worked side by side with his parents and siblings picking crops across the San Joaquin Valley. At the age of nine, Jose watched in amazement as Apollo 17 took men to the moon. From that day, Jose was determined to do whatever it took to become an astronaut. In high school he participated in Upward Bound, a program designed to give disadvantaged youth help with math and science. He then graduated from the University of the Pacific with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and eventually a M.S. in Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Jose went on to become an engineer at the prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In his time at Livermore, Jose was recognized for his work in the development of a way to turn Cold War technology into the first full-field digital mammography imaging system, which has become an invaluable tool in increasing the early detection of breast cancer. Jose was also nationally recognized for his work on behalf of both the Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy on Russian nuclear non-proliferation issues, an issue that continues to be important to him today.
Becoming an astronaut was not automatic. Jose applied to NASA 12 times, and after failing the make the cut, he strove to improve himself, received his pilot’s license, became a master SCUBA diver, and learned to speak conversational Russian. The hard work paid off. In 2004, Jose reached a lifelong goal of becoming a NASA astronaut, and in August of 2009 he flew on a 14-day mission as the flight engineer on Space Shuttle Discovery's mission to the International Space Station.
Hector E. Morales
Former U.S. Ambassador, Organization of American States & Vice Chairman, Global Strategic Associates, LLC
Ambassador Hector E. Morales Jr. is Vice Chairman of Global Strategic Associates LLC. Morales is currently Of Counsel at Baker & McKenzie LLP in Washington D.C. and an advisory board member of the Latin American Program at Woodrow Wilson Center in D.C. Previously he served as the US Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, and was lead negotiator for President Bush and Obama in preparations for the Fifth Summit of the Americas. Prior to the OAS, he served as US Executive Director at the Inter-American Development Bank and is a member of the board of the Inter-American Foundation. Prior to his government service, Ambassador Morales held various senior executive positions in energy and financial services companies with a focus on Latin America, including President and General Manager of Reliant Energy Argentina. Ambassador Morales received his BA from Columbia University and his JD from the University of Texas.
Raymund Paredes, PhD
Commissioner, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Prior to joining to the Coordinating Board in July 2004, Dr. Paredes was Vice President for Programs at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) where he was responsible for scholarship and outreach programs. Before joining HSF, he was Director of Creativity & Culture at The Rockefeller Foundation from 2001 - 2003.
Before joining The Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Paredes was Vice Chancellor of Academic Development for ten years at UCLA, where he had also been a professor of English since 1971. In addition, he served as special assistant to the President of the University of California system from 1998-2000 on outreach efforts intended to improve access to higher education for students from educationally disadvantaged communities.
Dr. Paredes has completed terms as a trustee of The College Board and on the Board of Directors of the Texas Cultural Trust. He was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Education Commission of the States and also serves on their Advisory Committee for Developmental Studies. He is President of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Nationwide Hispanic Advisory Council, a member of the NAEP High School Achievement Commission and was named one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics of 2007.
Director, Co-Cheif Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Dimensional Fund Advisors
As Co-CEO and chief investment officer, Eduardo oversees day-to-day operations of the firm and directs the engineering and execution of Dimensional’s investment portfolios. Eduardo is also deeply involved in the design, development, and delivery of the research that informs Dimensional’s investment approach, as well as its application through portfolio management and trading. His work results in identifying and implementing relevant solutions that meet clients’ needs.
Eduardo brings the statistical, scientific, and technological expertise that he gained in the field of aeronautics to the science of portfolio management. He actively contributes to the Investment Committee in the areas of investment policy, portfolio design and reporting, integrated investment solutions, the firm’s tax management strategy, and consulting technology.
Eduardo received his Ph.D. in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 1998. Prior to joining Dimensional in 2000, he held positions at Caltech, Simulation Technologies, and in his native Argentina as an engineer for CINI and IBM.
Sara Martinez Tucker
Former U.S. Under Secretary of Education
Sara Martinez Tucker serves on the Boards of Directors of American Electric Power, a Fortune 200 company that is the nation’s largest transmitter and among the leading generators of electric power, and Xerox, a Fortune 125 company that is the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management. She also serves on Wal-Mart’s External Advisory Council, Teach for America’s Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees at the University of Notre Dame.
She most recently served as the U. S. Under Secretary of Education, the nation’s top higher education official. Tucker’s accomplishments included the development and implementation of a joint initiative with the U.S. Treasury Department to make nearly $70 billion in 2008-09 federal student loans available during the nation’s financial crisis, an effort described by the Wall Street Journal as “one bright spot in a season of crises and bailouts,” and an innovative new website, college.gov, which received Computerworld’s Laureate Medal for exceptional use of technology to better society.
Tucker worked for nine years as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), where she raised $280 million to advance Hispanic college education. Prior to joining HSF in 1997, Tucker spent 16 years at AT&T, becoming the first Latina to reach the company’s executive level.
Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, she earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She worked for two years as a reporter for the San Antonio Express before returning to the University of Texas to earn her master’s in business administration with high honors.
Texas State Senator
Kirk Watson is former mayor of Austin and was elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, where he represents most of Travis County. He serves on the Senate committees overseeing Business and Commerce, Economic Development, Nominations, and Higher Education, and he is Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security.
From 1991 to 1993, Watson served as Chair of the Texas Air Control Board and was Vice-Chair of the committee that oversaw the consolidation of the Texas Air Control Board with the Texas Water Commission creating the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, now known as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
He also has served as Chair of both the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Advisory Board of Environmental Defense, and he has been a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Texas. He also has chaired the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
As a cancer survivor, Senator Watson is also passionate about making sure that all Texans—particularly children—have access to health care. He has been active in numerous health organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and he served on the original board of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Senator Watson graduated from Baylor University and was first in his law school class at Baylor Law School. He is currently a partner with the law firm Brown McCarroll, L.L.P., working as a lawyer, mediator, public affairs consultant.