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Torres, Candy

Candy Torres

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Oral History Session #1
Date:
April 3, 2020
Place:
Branchburg, NJ
Interviewer:
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Transcript Production Team:
Jesse Braddell
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Candy Torres
Recommended Citation:
 
Torres, Candy. Oral History Interview, April 3, 2020, by Kathryn Tracy Rizzi, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
 
Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Oral History Session #2
Date:
April 8, 2020
Place:
Branchburg, NJ
Interviewer:
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Transcript Production Team:
Jesse Braddell
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Candy Torres
Recommended Citation:
 
Torres, Candy. Oral History Interview, April 8, 2020, by Kathryn Tracy Rizzi, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
 
Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Oral History Session #3
Date:
April 16, 2020
Place:
Branchburg, NJ
Interviewer:
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Transcript Production Team:
Jesse Braddell
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Candy Torres
Recommended Citation:
 
Torres, Candy. Oral History Interview, April 16, 2020, by Kathryn Tracy Rizzi, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
 
Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Oral History Session #4
Date:
April 23, 2020
Place:
Branchburg, NJ
Interviewer:
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Transcript Production Team:
Jesse Braddell
Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
Candy Torres
Recommended Citation:
 
Torres, Candy. Oral History Interview, April 23, 2020, by Kathryn Tracy Rizzi, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
 
Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Description:

Candy Torres was born in Manhattan, New York in 1953. Her parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York City as children in the 1920s and grew up in Harlem during the Great Depression. Torres spent her early life in the Bronx and Newark, before her parents settled in South River. From an early age, she was interested in the space program. She participated in Civil Air Patrol as a teenager.

After graduating from South River High School, Torres went to Douglass College, where she designed her own major called individual major-space science. In the summer of 1974, she went to the U.S. Women’s Army Officer College Program at Fort McClellan, Alabama, though she decided against a career in the military. She graduated from Douglass College in the Class of 1976.

From 1976 to 1984, Torres worked on the OAO-3 Copernicus satellite project at Princeton University in the Astrophysics Department. In 1983, she produced "Wings in Space" on the Space Shuttle program for a local cable television channel. In 1984, Torres moved to Houston and began working as a software engineer for McDonnell-Douglas in Mission Operation Directorate (MOD) at NASA-Johnson Space Center (JSC). Between 1986 and 1988, she earned a Master’s degree in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. From 1988 to 1991, she worked as an engineer in Human Factors at Lockheed Engineering & Sciences Company. In 1992, budget cuts led to her getting laid off, after which she worked various jobs in schools and museums, until returning to the space industry in 1998. At Ron Croston and Associates, Torres worked in configuration management on the International Space Station (ISS). From 2001 to 2005, she worked at Barrios Technology in the Operations Planning group in MOD for the ISS.

Since 2006, Torres has been self-employed as a computer expert, speaker, author, researcher and artist. She has forty-four years of experience in informational technology as a software engineer, digital video producer, image editor, 3D designer, and more. Her book Born on the Moon: Living in the Space Age was published in 2020. She terms herself "Technorican" and operates the website https://technorican.wordpress.com/  Her research interests include history and technology. She has been featured in The Atlantic and on PBS and has given speeches internationally on the space industry and STEM-related topics.

In part one, Torres discusses her family's migration experiences and her parents' lives. She talks about growing up and going to schools in the Bronx, Newark and then South River, visiting Spanish Harlem and a trip to Puerto Rico in 1970, experiences in Civil Air Patrol, and Puerto Rican heritage and traditions.

Topics discussed in part two are: freshman year at Douglass; volunteering in New Hampshire for George McGovern's 1972 campaign; her father's death; course of study and social life at Douglass; Women's Army Corps School at Fort McClellan; graduation from Douglass in 1976; working at Princeton University in the Astrophysics Department on the Copernicus satellite project; learning computer programming in the early 1980s; moving to Houston; working at McDonnell-Douglas at Johnson Space Center on computerizing Mission Control operations; space activism; and witnessing the first Space Shuttle launch (STS-1) and astronaut Sally Ride's launch in STS-7.

In part three, Torres discusses the early part of her career at Princeton and McDonnell-Douglas, in which she worked on developing software used by Mission Control in the Space Shuttle program. She talks about witnessing STS-1 and STS-7 as a spectator, different shuttle missions that she worked on, encounters with various astronauts, the Challenger disaster and impact on the space program, obtaining her M.S. at UHCL, Human Factors work at Lockheed, budget cuts and layoffs, working at Ron Croston & Associates on configuration management for the ISS, working at Barrios in Operations Planning for the ISS, the Columbia disaster, and living in the Clear Lake area.

In part four, she discusses the latter part of her career, delving into her work at Barrios on the ISS, during which time she completed training at the United Space Alliance Training Academy and became certified as Real-time Planning Engineer Support. She traces developments in the space program from the 1970s to the present and examines the struggles she faced in the space industry. She talks about her Puerto Rican identity, interests and hobbies, and current work in information technology and as a speaker, author, researcher and artist.

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