NASA Rocket Scientist to Serve as Keynote Speaker at Women of Inspiration Luncheon

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria will celebrate empowering women and girls at its annual Women of Inspiration luncheon on Monday, April 11 from 12pm-1:30pm at the organization’s campus at 5315 Foothill Road in Carpinteria. The fundraiser event will feature Tracy Van Houten, a rocket scientist and lead engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), as the keynote speaker.

In her nearly two decades at JPL, Van Houten had the opportunity to work on the Perseverance and Curiosity Mars rover missions, an Earth Science mission called SMAP, and more than 100 conceptual space missions. Currently the Europa Clipper System Testbed Lead Engineer at NASA’s JPL, Van Houten calls herself a ‘STEMinist’ – an activist, advocate and mentor for women and all those who have been historically excluded from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.

“Our mission at Girls Inc. is to ignite girls’ potential so they can break through barriers, reach for the stars and accomplish their goals,” said Jamie Collins, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s executive director. “Tracy is a shining example of what it means to be strong, smart, and bold – and her incredible story of discovering a world beyond her own highlights the importance of encouraging girls to dream big and follow their aspirations. We’re thrilled to have Tracey share her inspiring journey with the community at this year’s luncheon.”

In 2017, Van Houten campaigned to be the first female engineer in the U.S. House of Representatives and currently serves as a State Assembly appointee on California’s Oil Spill and Recovery Technical Advisory Committee. She is a Life Member of the Society of Women Engineers, a California board member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and a public-school advocate.

This year’s luncheon will also recognize four honorees with the Women of Inspiration 2022 awards:

Lynda Fairly, Catherine Brozowski with the Audacious Foundation, and Mercedes Millington & Susan Torrey with the Mithun Foundation.

Women of Inspiration will take place on Monday, April 11 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 and all proceeds will support Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s mission to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the luncheon, please call (805) 684-6364 or visit


Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is a member of Girls Incorporated®, a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Our programming focuses on the development of the whole girl: we deliver life-changing programs and experiences designed to equip girls to overcome serious barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. A combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment and research-based programming prepares girls to lead fulfilling and productive lives and become role models in their community. Girls Inc. of Carpinteria currently serves more than 1100 youth in the Carpinteria Valley, from K through 12th grade. To learn more, become a volunteer or offer support, please visit


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