Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 – October 15.

This US national month of recognition honors Hispanic and Latinx people, their culture, their achievements, and their influence on American society. First introduced in June of 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1987 U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California purposed that Hispanic Heritage Week be expanded into Hispanic Heritage Month. 1988 President Reagan signed it into law and in September 1989 President George H. Bush was the first president to declare 9/15-10/15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The term Hispanic or Latinx referred to a person’s culture or origin rather than their race. Hispanic people could identify as having Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, black, indigenous roots/indigeneity, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”


There are many people of Hispanic descent that have made huge contributions in STEM fields over the decades and we would like to recognize them here!

Carlos Castillo-Chavez – Ph.D. in mathematics, expertise in mathematical epidemiology

Carlos Juan Finlay – Cuban doctor and scientist, a pioneer in the study of yellow fever

Cesar Milstein – Nobel Prize-winning biochemist

Christina Hernandez – Payload Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

David Ríos Insua – Spanish Mathematician

Ellen Ochoa – The first Hispanic woman to go to space

Erika Camacho – Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and advocate for diversity in the world of mathematics

France A. Córdova – Astrophysicist and the director of the National Science Foundation

Franklin Chang-Díaz – Mechanical engineer and NASA’s first Hispanic astronaut

Jaime Escalante – Bolivian Math Teacher that inspired the movie Stand and Deliver

Maria Da Penha – Brazilian Biopharmacist and defender of human rights for women

Mario Molina – The first Mexican-born scientist to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Nicole Hernandez-Hammer – Guatemalan-American climate scientist

Ruth Gonzalez – First Hispanic woman to earn a Doctorate in Mathematics

Scarlin Hernandez – Aerospace engineer working on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Susana Ibarra – El Salvador’s first female commercial airline pilot

Ynes Mexia – Mexican-American botanist who discovered two new plant genera and 500 new plant species


Resources and References:

In honour of Hispanic Heritage Month, here’s an evolving list of influential Hispanic and Latinx scientists – We Rep STEM

National Hispanic American Heritage Month 2021 (hispanicheritagemonth.gov)

Hispanic Heritage Month – Origins & Facts – HISTORY

Hispanics Who Have Led The Way in Math (7generationgames.com)

A Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Of Mathematicians (forbes.com)

10 Game-Changing Hispanic Scientists You Didn’t Learn About In School | Mental Floss

Get Inspired by these Hispanic Scientists and Engineers | Science Buddies Blog

Does Hispanic Heritage Month Need a Rebrand? – The New York Times (nytimes.com)


Please notify us if we missed any important Hispanic figures in STEM, we will happily add them to our list. Email our marketing team montgok@linnbenton.edu


Image: taken from http://www.thefamuanonline.com/