The Arecibo Observatory has named Olga Figueroa Miranda as their new site director.

The decision makes Figueroa Miranda the first female director of the observatory, as well as the first female Puerto Rican director. She started the new position this fall.

“Olga has a unique inside understanding of the Arecibo Observatory as she has held several positions both at the director’s office and in the facilities and operations team,” says Julie Brisset, interim director of the Florida Space Institute and current principal investigator of the Arecibo Observatory Management and Operations agreement with the U.S. National Science Foundation.

“In addition, Olga has demonstrated excellent and valuable management skills in these past positions, which gives us great confidence in her ability to serve as site director,” she says.

Figueroa Miranda holds degrees in business administration and project management from the Universidad Del Este.

She has spent recent years as a key figure in the main departments of Arecibo Observatory. Initially supporting the business management team, her most recent experience was as the head of the on-site facilities and management engineering team.

Figueroa Miranda says as site director her plans include helping the vibrant science education program at Arecibo Observatory continue.

“We see the Arecibo Observatory and its team as a beacon of excellence,” Figueroa Miranda says.

She says her goal is to oversee the transformation of Arecibo Observatory and to be part of a new legacy as the observatory transitions to a hub for STEM education, outreach and research after the collapse of its 305-meter telescope in 2020.

“We can involve students and inspire the next generation of scientists by contributing to STEM education effectively,” she says. “This field has enormous educational and social possibilities.”