Vice Chairmain Arnoldo Avalos, along with his wife Alma, Robert Apodaca, and Fred Alvarez, hosted ex-NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez. Held at Arnoldo’s beautiful home in the hills of Pleasanton CA, the event included catered Mexican food, wine provided by Ceja Winery, and a local middle school Mariachi band. Furthermore, Hermanos Unidos of UC Berkeley and San Francisco State were able to participate in the event.
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 9, Jose watched in amazement as Apollo 17 brought men to the moon. From that day, Jose was determined to do whatever it took to become an astronaut. Jose graduated from the University of the Pacific with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and eventually a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of California-Santa Barbara. Jose went on to become an engineer at the prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 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. 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.