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Regent José Hernández helps his son, Julio, don his hood for one of two degrees he earned at University of the Pacific.

Regent José Hernández helps his son, Julio, don his hood for one of two degrees he earned at University of the Pacific.

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Pacific News

Regent Hernández inspires son to reach for his dreams

May 15, 2016

Julio Hernández '16 has heard much during his time at University of the Pacific about reaching for the stars. He has heard it his entire life, actually.

After all, his father is Pacific alumnus, former astronaut and Regent José Hernández '84, who also created the Reaching for the Stars Foundation and inspired the PrepUSA/Reach for the Stars annual summer program at Pacific that prepares promising students, especially girls and underrepresented minorities, for STEM careers.

Regent José Hernández embraces his son, Julio, after helping don his hood for one of two degrees he earned at University of the Pacific.   

At a ceremony Saturday for Pacific's School of Engineering and Computer Science and as their family watched on, José Hernández proudly reached for his son to help him don his hood, symbolizing one of the two degrees he earned at Pacific. Julio Hernández earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and was hooded for earning a master's degree in engineering science at Pacific. He plans to attend Purdue University in the fall to pursue a PhD before following in his father's footsteps into space by also becoming an astronaut.

José Hernández's is an inspiring story. Born in French Camp to migrant workers and raised in Stockton, he attended Pacific through the Community Involvement Program, a scholarship program for underrepresented students. He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Pacific and later received a master's degree at UC Santa Barbara.

Hernández was rejected by NASA 11 times before being accepted for the 2004 astronaut candidate class. Hernández served as the flight engineer aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009 and operated the shuttle's robotic arm as it circled Earth 217 times.

Hernández was first elected to the Board of Regents in 2007 and his engineering firm, Tierra Luna Engineering, recently helped Pacific's chapter of the Society of Women Engineers test launch a "cubesat," or small, cube-shaped satellite, into space.

Visit the Commencement 2016 website for more information on upcoming ceremonies and for student success stories.