Talks

Cecilia Aragon speaks on stage at TED
Cecilia Aragon speaks on stage at TED in December 2021.
Photo: Gilberto Tadday / TED
Cecilia can present to your group on Data Science, STEM, DEI, or Aviation, for general or advanced audiences. Her inspirational talks on overcoming fear and achieving seemingly impossible goals leave audiences energized and excited. View her recent TED talk on her fanfiction research here. Read more about her talks below.

Dr. Cecilia Aragon is an award-winning author, airshow pilot, and the first Latina to earn the rank of Full Professor at the University of Washington College of Engineering in its 100-year history. She’s worked with Nobel Prize winners, taught astronauts to fly, and created musical simulations of the universe with rock stars.

Her innovative research, and a stint at NASA designing software for Mars missions, led President Obama to call her “one of the top scientists and engineers in the country.” In addition to her love of math and science, she’s passionate about helping others face their own fears and challenges to achieve their goals.

Her award-winning memoir, FLYING FREE, debuted on five bestseller lists and is a TODAY Show and Ms. Magazine Recommended Read. It’s the story of how a timid daughter of immigrants broke free from expectations to become the first Latina pilot to secure a place on the US Unlimited Aerobatic Team and earn the right to represent her country. Learn more about Cecilia’s books.

For speaking inquiries please contact theresa.brown@ted.com

US Unlimited Aerobatic Team pilot, data science professor, and Latina daughter of immigrants, Dr. Cecilia Aragon elevates awareness of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as they relate to strategies and outcomes within your organization. This talk will inspire and equip attendees to reach their goals faster by employing the strategies aerobatic champion pilots use to overcome challenges on the way to achieving their aspirations.

As the first Latina full professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington and winner of the 2008 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, she’ll also talk about overcoming stereotypes and low expectations as one of the few women — or Latinas — in her field. Her recent memoir, FLYING FREE: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team, tells the story of how she rose above fear and imposter syndrome to get to where she is today.

Speaking Engagement:

30-minute presentation on how to become unstoppable on the way to your goals, developing an aerobatic pilot mindset to overcome challenges, followed by a 30 minute Q&A for a general audience.

What do the following two careers have in common: (1) data science professor, and (2) airshow pilot?

Spoiler alert: math and computing.
These subjects ended up being useful in the two very different careers Cecilia Aragon pursued. They were also her personal superpowers, used to overcome agonizing fears and accomplish life goals.

In this talk she tells how she went from painfully shy daughter of immigrants to working with Nobel Prize winners to solve some of the greatest mysteries of the universe; teaching astronauts to fly; and working with NASA to design software for Mars missions. She’ll present examples from her work in aviation, astrophysics, and data science using images, video, and even equations.

As the first Latina full professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington and winner of the 2008 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, she’ll also talk about overcoming stereotypes and low expectations as one of the few women — or Latinas — in both of her careers. Her recent memoir, FLYING FREE: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team, tells the story of how she rose above fear and imposter syndrome to get to where she is today.

Speaking Engagement:

30-minute presentation on using math to overcome fear, how to develop an aerobatic pilot mindset to overcome challenges, followed by a 30 minute Q&A for a STEM audience.

US Unlimited Aerobatic Team pilot, CFI, and engineering professor Cecilia Aragon talks about the many ways aerobatics (flying spins, loops, and rolls) can help anyone overcome fear and become a better pilot—as well as her personal journey from timid child to the World Aerobatic Championships.

CECILIA ARAGON’s memoir, FLYING FREE: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team (2020), debuted on five bestseller lists, is the winner of the 2021 Nancy Pearl Award, and is a TODAY Show Recommended Read. FLYING FREE lifts readers into the skies on a woman’s aviation journey from fearful, bullied child to champion aerobatic pilot.

Speaking Engagement:

30-minute presentation on overcoming the fear of flying, learning how to fly aerobatics with a focus on aviation safety, followed by a 30 minute Q&A for an aviation audience.

Cecilia Aragon Author

Popular Talks (1 hour)

Check out the videos of these popular talks:

How is Getting an Engineering Degree Like Flying Upside Down? University of Washington HCDE interview Oct. 27, 2020.

Here’s Cecilia’s BOOK LAUNCH at Third Place Books (1 hour) featuring her memoir Flying Free on Sept. 22, 2020.

Watch Cecilia give an invited talk on “The Hearts and Minds of Data Science” at UC San Diego in their Design@Large seminar series. (YouTube link)

More Topics

Other popular talks include “From Fear of Flying to the World Aerobatic Championships” and aviation safety seminars such as “Unusual Attitude Recovery.

She has also presented physics of aviation seminars, human-centered data science talks, and other technical topics.

Cecilia Aragon Author
Cecilia Aragon Author

Recent Talks

Watch videos of these recent talks:

TODAY Show interview on Sept. 23, 2020.

Here’s a panel appearance by Cecilia at The Hill’s Latina Leaders Summit in Washington DC on July 24, 2019, on “Breaking the STEM Barrier.” (YouTube link) Go to 5:40 for Cecilia’s 3-minute back story.

The Hearts and Minds of Data Science, Google, Seattle, Tuesday January 21, 2020. Caltech Alumni Association talk.

 

Invite Cecilia to Your Book Group

Cecilia would love to meet with your book group. She can discuss her memoir Flying Free, as well as subjects like overcoming fear, learning to fly, or achieving life goals. Groups of 25 or more will receive a set of signed and personalized bookplates.

 

Cecilia Aragon Author
Cecilia Aragon Author

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