Ignacio Montoya is the epitome of the American Dream, a dream that he is literally creating, one step at a time. He is an Air Force officer and fighter pilot, a military analyst, biomedical engineer, the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director of HINRI Labs - a nonprofit with a mission of disrupting, changing, and transforming the standard of care for spinal cord injuries nationwide and, ultimately, around the world. Most recently, Ignacio become a future astronaut candidate through NASA and a PhD neuroscientist student at UCLA.
Ignacio is someone who’s been brought up not fearing obstacles, from his mom passing away when he was 4 to then leaving Cuba with nothing but the clothes he had on when he was 6; Montoya from a very young age has always been very mature, driven, and focused in creating a path forward when one was nonexistent. When he sustained a spinal cord injury in December 2012, getting up from the wheelchair and walking again just became another workable objective he was sure to achieve. Since then, he has spent every single minute searching, learning, discovering, and creating ways to make that happen.
Introduction by Ross Mason at the 2018 Vision Summit
Speaking at the 2018 Vision Summit
Article and video published by Georgia Tech
Ignacio featured in the first six minutes of the Beloved Conversation Series, which showcases national leaders in candid conversation on race, economic mobility, and the building of Dr. King's Beloved Community.
Link to Telemundo Atlanta's 2019 Todos Somos Héroes video (First in Spanish / Second in English just below it)
Telemundo Tampa's 2019 Spanish Profile Series “Steps of Faith” by Cristina Puig. The third link below shows Ignacio flying the L39 Fighter Jet with Fighter Pilot Major Orestes Lorenzo who defected the Cuban regime in 1991 and flew back in a Cessna a year later, undetected by radar, landing on Cuba’s central highway in between cars and picking up his wife and two sons in less than 60 seconds before taking off again back to Miami.