On Sunday, Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry welcomes its National Hispanic Scientist of the Year. Her name is Dr. Adriana Ocampo. She's the woman who discovered the dinosaur-killing asteroid and lead NASA's Pluto Mission.
Dreaming big comes naturally to Ocampo. Ever since she was small, she has wondered if there is life beyond the stars. Her parents encouraged her to focus and get the education needed to pursue her dreams. Others tried to derail her and wanted her to try something more earthbound. But she stayed the course and went on to discover the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula -- which was likely created by a massive asteroid that crashed into the Earth and which scientists believe wiped out the dinosaurs. With that discovery and NASA's Pluto mission in her rearview mirror, Ocampo still has more on her bucket list:
“And I hope that in my lifetime, not only we’ll discover life perhaps somewhere , somewhere even within in our solar system, but that we’ll have a mission, a mission with humans to Mars,” Ocampo said.
Ocampo hopes she's paving the way for other children with big dreams.
She would say to them, “Don't get discouraged, that the path to realize your dreams you will encounter a lot of no's, but find the way to turn those no's into yes.”
Ocampo's public talk on Cosmic Collisions and Dinosaurs is at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry this Sunday, from 12:30 to 3 p.m.