NASA strategist, virtual reality pioneer, technologist joins UHCL
May 8, 2019 | UHCL Staff
Evelyn R. Miralles spent her career at NASA helping astronauts prepare for space missions.
She is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of virtual reality, who
co-created spacewalk training software, in use since 2000. On May 1, she launched
a new flight path as Associate Vice President for Strategic Information Initiatives
and Technology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
“I welcome this new position because I know that education is extremely important,”
Miralles said. “This university has the capacity to continue to stand out and be ready
for the 21st century. That’s why I’m here to support UHCL after my long career at
Her position was made possible through generous funding from a private source. “This
gift will enhance students’ curiosity, strengthen their educational experiences and
encourage them to innovate in STEM fields to make a meaningful impact on Earth and
beyond,” said UHCL President Ira K. Blake.
Miralles, who received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1992 and a Master of Business Administration in 2012 from UHCL, spoke of her own student experience as important and meaningful.
“I received a solid background in technology, computer information, and business acumen.
I became part of an educational community that challenged me constantly to maintain
the research and opportunities that ultimately got me to NASA,” she said. “One of
the main reasons I’m here is that I know the quality of education this university
brings to students.”
Miralles believes that now is a critical time to advance STEM initiatives at UHCL. She explained that in her new role, she will be chief strategist
for the engagement of educational programs and external potential partners, offering
her expertise in identifying high value technologies that support state-of-the-art
teaching and learning models and providing her vision in the integrative areas of
science, innovation and technology.
“I’ll be supporting UHCL President Blake’s agenda, as well as the Office of University Advancement, the Office of Strategic Partnerships, and project support to faculty and students,” she said. “There are many varied,
exciting and challenging duties, which I’m looking forward to.”
Because an excellent education is so critical, Miralles said that she always had in
mind to begin a second career in an academic setting. “Over the years, I have observed
and personally experienced what this university has accomplished in the community,”
she said. “UHCL was created in the era when we were sending people to the moon, and
it’s been an instrumental resource for the local space exploration community. Because
of my background at NASA in strategizing and creating vision for human space exploration,
coming here was a natural step.”
In 2016, the BBC chose Miralles as one of the 100 Most Influential and Inspirational
Women in the World. In 2015 and 2016, CNET en Español chose her as one of the Top
20 Most Influential Latinos in Technology.
“I’m a woman and I’m a minority,” said Miralles, a native-born Venezuelan and U.S.
citizen. “I want to show current and future students at UHCL that anything is possible
with education, determination, and creativity. I hope to challenge them to see that
successful outcomes in one’s career is possible for them.