Axel Ortega is a rising sophomore at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a double minor in Hispanic Studies and Computer Science. He is currently involved in the NASA L’SPACE Academy - a workforce development program designed to develop mission-related projects, gain experience evaluating proposals, and learn NASA mission procedures and protocols from industry professionals.
Previously in high school, he received a Gold Seal for his drawing “Control” - the highest award given to the best 100 artworks from over 35,000 entries throughout Texas each year. He was named a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar, QuestBridge Scholar, AP Scholar, and Ysleta Education Fund Distinguished Scholar. He also received the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Award for his excellence in business and entrepreneurship. He graduated Salutatorian from Ysleta High School with over two million scholarships earned.
Axel continues promoting awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the Mexican culture within the Columbia community and New York City in general. As the Co-President of the Mexican Student Association, he not only strives to unite the Mexican student community on campus, but also celebrate Mexico's rich culture, millennial heritage, and sociopolitical complexity. His passion for visual arts has also led him to be the Executive Board Member of Columbia’s Artist Society, where he is responsible for sketch sessions planning and neighborhood outreach. He is also part of Engineers Without Borders - Morocco Program and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Additionally, he has volunteered for the Catholic Charities of New York to translate immigration documents and help deliver meals to seniors in the midtown Manhattan area.
Axel aspires to pursue a professional career in entrepreneurship and innovation for space industry agencies or independent product engineering projects. When he is not busy taking courses about design and innovation, he enjoys drawing realistic graphite portraits and learning German.