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Shayla Rivera The Funny Rocket Scientist

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  • ABC - "Awareness Begins Change"
  • Diversity
  • Education / STEM Education*
  • Leadership

Shayla Rivera is an Aerospace Engineer and former Rocket Scientist with NASA turned salesperson, corporate trainer, and now Int’l Keynote Speaker, TV & Radio host, Emcee/Host, Comedian, Actor, Writer, Producer, Awareness Expert, Seminar Facilitator and Panel Moderator. And as of 2017, Shayla is Director of the ENGR[x] program and Professor of Practice for the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University.

However, none of these labels tells you much about her. She best describes herself as a spiritually irreverent Mystic and Awareness Expert. What many would call a Renaissance Woman.

Keynotes include subjects that span Inspiration, Motivation, Leadership, Diversity, Education, STEM Education, Awareness, Stress Management, Communication, and Self Growth, always using the power of humor and her life story.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Rivera grew up with an avid interest in science, machinery and fixing things. Her family always encouraged her to go to college and have a professional career. Rivera attended Texas A&M University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Psychology. She joined McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, to on the Space Shuttle and Space Station programs for five years.

Rivera left NASA following her abiding interest in psychology, always trying to figure out what makes people tick. Her career took her through several years in Technical Sales of environmental systems and water treatment chemicals finally becoming a corporate trainer on the very important subject of Stress Management. Rivera began facilitating life-changing seminars on stress management for executives at companies around the country. Shortly there after, she began being asked to give motivational speeches. She applies her life story and expertise as a speaker to help many organizations, corporations, as well as charitable and educational programs. She speaks to clients across the country from elementary school students to colleges, non-profits to major corporations. Rivera has been speaking and performing comedy for over 25 years and has a broad appeal to men and women of all backgrounds.

It was while she was conducting seminars that she kept being encouraged to give standup comedy a shot. She signed up for a comedy weekend workshop in which she had to do five minutes of material and this was a personal turning point. “I knew I’d found what I was looking for,” Rivera recalled.

Almost immediately, Rivera became a regular at Comedy Clubs nationwide. She used her experiences to create the hit one woman show “Rocket Science and Salsa,” directed by Debbie Allen for which Rivera earned a "Best Lead Actress" nomination by the NAACP Theater Awards, as well as a nomination for "Best Choreography" for Allen. Rivera hosted the 13 episode TV series “You’re Not The Man I Married” for Lifetime Real Women Network.

She has appeared on television in “Comics Unleashed,” "Extreme Fakeover," "National Lampoon’s Funny Money," “Funny is Funny" and others. She was a guest on “The Dennis Miller Show,” “The Roseanne Show” and ”The Martin Short Show." Rivera was featured in the "Paul Rodriguez Latin All Stars" and was part of the Comedy Central special, “Comedy Rehab” with Paul Rodriguez. She has also headlined on entertainment programs for Univision, Galavision and on “The Latino Comedy Jam” for Telemundo. Rivera was named "Funniest Latina Comedian" by the organization "Latin 2015."

In 2004, Rivera received the “Mario Moreno Cantinflas Award” presented by the city of Los Angeles in recognition of entertainers who "represent the Latino Community with the same humor as the great Cantinflas did" and for her involvement in the community. In 2007, Rivera received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President’s Council on Service Participation. In 2010, Rivera received the Award for Excellence in Public Speaking by the Latino Speakers Bureau.

Rivera delivers keynotes and performs live stand-up comedy nationwide. She is very proud of her tours to entertain U.S. troops in Iraq and around the world. In recent years, Rivera has served as host/emcee for many events, such as award shows, gala’s, fundraisers and festivals. Shayla says, “My number one goal is to inspire, through laughter whether while doing comedy or my keynotes.” Shayla has seen, first-hand, the impact the Latino population and culture has had in all levels of American corporations, organizations and education and is focused on helping make this merge occur as smooth as possible. She jokes, “We are all the same only different…once we understand this, we will be able to seize the opportunities that lie in our seeming differences.”

Shayla was thrilled to accept faculty and staff positions at her alma mater, Texas A&M University. Shayla, who is a true Aggie, is very excited to bring her expertise in self-development and awareness to the engineering students at Texas A&M as a Professor of Practice and as Director of ENGR[x], a new program with the objective of providing undergraduate engineering students with professional skills and experiences beyond their engineering degree requirements, making them more attractive to employers. Helping students become better prepared for life, not just as an engineer but as an individual, which is her greatest purpose.

Shayla Rivera is not easily placed in just one category or class, she defines her own. She finally remarks, “Now I even can add Breast Cancer Survivor to my resume. I am grateful.”

“I Offer my presentations in both English and Spanish”

“Ofrezco mis presentaciones en Inglés y Español”

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