International Hispanic Association Names NASA's Elia Ordonez Its Woman Of The Year
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
News Release: 06-116
The Worldwide Association of Mexicans Abroad – helping to build an international network of Hispanic business owners -- has recognized NASA employee Elia Ordonez as the 2006 National Hispanic Woman of the Year for her support of Alabama's Hispanic community.
Ordonez is the Hispanic program manager for the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The association honored Ordonez at its annual meeting this summer in Universal City, Calif.
"I felt honored to receive this award for something I do even in my spare time that is very close to my heart," Ordonez said. "I have such a passion for helping Hispanic people in this area and around the world. It is important to help open doors for children and let them see the opportunities they have. I want to help them get scholarships and go to college because they deserve the chance to succeed."
The Worldwide Associate of Mexicans Abroad is a California-based organization founded in 1999 to help connect businesses owned by Hispanic people. In addition to its American chapters, the association has seven international chapters helping to establish links between the Hispanic businesses in the United States, Mexico and overseas in the effort to create new business opportunities.
Ordonez joined NASA as a co-op student at the Marshall Center in 1989. She became a full-time NASA employee in 1990 as a program analyst for the Engineering Support Group.
In 1998, she was named a contract specialist and contracting officer for small purchases in Marshall's Office of Procurement. Ordonez joined Marshall's Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity as the Hispanic program manager in 2000 and became a specialist in the administration of minority education resources. Ordonez works to promote the social and cultural development of Hispanic youth and helps make them aware of career opportunities offered by NASA.
In 2002, Ordonez co-founded the annual "Mi Futuro" Hispanic Youth Conference, sponsored by NASA and hosted by the Marshall Center. Each year, nearly 200 Hispanic high school students from Alabama visit Huntsville to interact with government representatives, astronauts, teachers, community leaders and representatives from Hispanic groups across the state.
Ordonez earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and management in 1990 from Athens State University in Athens, Ala.
She is a founder of the Alabama Hispanic Association, which serves the needs of the Hispanic community in the state. She served as its vice-president in 2001-2002. The following year, Ordonez served on the board of directors of the Alabama Latin American Association, which provides statewide advocacy to improve education for the Hispanic community. She has been a member of NASA's Corporate Recruitment Team since 2003, encouraging students and recent graduates to pursue careers with NASA. In May 2006, Ordonez was invited by the Mexican consulate in Atlanta to represent Alabama in a community relations conference in Mexico City.
Ordonez has received numerous recognitions for her achievements during her NASA career, including Sustained Superior Performance and Special Service Awards. She was named a Space Flight Awareness Honoree in 2002 for her dedication to quality work and flight safety.
Ordonez has three children and resides in Madison, Ala.