Sandra Cauffman is a Costa Rican American specialist in electrical engineering and physics. Sandra worked for 25 years at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on missions such as the mission to Mars MAVEN, and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite GOES-R. She is currently the Deputy Director of the Astrophysics Division within the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Previously she served as Acting Director in the Earth Science Division from February 2019 to June 2020, and the Deputy Director for the Earth Science Division from May 2016 - October 2021. Cauffman started as a contractor with NASA on February 1,1988 and became a NASA employee February 11,1991. Cauffman is the first Costa Rican woman to lead a Mars related mission.
Sandra was born and raised by her single mother in Costa Rica in a home with scarce resources available. Growing up extremely poor, she and her mother moved often so her mother could work two or three jobs at a time. Sandra was persistent in her love for space science and refused to give up on her passion to one day work in the field. Her mother continuously supported Sandra's dreams, and was a continuous source of inspiration for Sandra - especially when things felt too hard.
We encourage you to come to this event with questions prepared. A few topics that Sandra is the ideal person to answer questions about include the mission to Mars MAVEN, NASA Earth Sciences, NASA Astrophysics Division, and GOES-R Satellite System. We look forward to seeing you at this special event!