X-Message-Number: 25388
From: "Kelly Moy" <>
Subject: Leadership
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 17:50:00 +0000

France Cordova is so cool.  She knocked on the doors at CalTech to get her 

France Cordova
Chief Scientist, NASA

France Cordova grew up in California, the oldest of 12 children in a 
Mexican-American family. With so many siblings, France gained a serious 
sense of responsibility. She was as serious about her studies as she was 
about her family, earning top grades in school. France was named one of 
California's 10 Outstanding Youth as a senior in high school.

After leaving high school, France went to Stanford University, where she 
majored in English. On a college trip to work on an archaeological dig in 
Mexico, France developed a new awareness of her heritage. Despite her 
interests in literature and writing, France soon discovered a new 
fascination - space science. After watching news coverage of the Apollo 11 
moon landing and a documentary about cosmology, France went back to school 
and eventually earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the California Institute of 
Technology. After receiving her degree, France went to work at Los Alamos 
National Labs in New Mexico, and later became a professor, then head of the 
Astrophysics Department at Pennsylvania State University.  In 1993, she was 
named the Chief Scientist at NASA.

France is married and has two young children. She maintains her position as 
a professor at Penn State, works full-time in Washington, D.C. at NASA 
headquarters, and sits on a number of committees and organizations related 
to space science. In 1994, she was named one of "America's 100 Brightest 
Scientists Under 40" by Science Digest Magazine. She has received many 
honors for her work, including a NASA Group Achievement Award.

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