Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja is the Associate Chief Scientist for Exploration and Applied Research at NASA. In this role, she is the senior advisor to the Chief Scientist for how humans explore and perform science in space.
Throughout her career, she has held so many great roles like the Deputy Program Scientist for Space Biology, lead engineer for two robotic space science missions, trainer for the astronauts, and flight controller in the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center. Her parents grew up in rural India before immigrating to the United States.
Mamta is a proud first-generation American and first-generation college graduate. She wants to be a role model for young people who dream of working in space exploration and wants to encourage them to follow their dream, no matter where they are from.
Mamta can talk about several of our Festival topics – but will be especially good at answering questions about space exploration and about why representation and diversity are important.