France Córdova

External Professor

France Anne Córdova is a leader in science, engineering and education with more than three decades experience at universities, national labs and federal agencies. She is currently president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance. She is an internationally recognized astrophysicist for her contributions in space research and instrumentation. She has served on both corporate and nonprofit boards. In 2014 Córdova was confirmed by the US Senate as the 14th Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), an $8.5 billion independent federal agency. It is the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, STEM education and workforce development. She is the only woman to have served as president of Purdue University, where she led the university to record levels of research funding, reputational rankings, and student retention and graduation rates. Córdova is also chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside, where she was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy. She laid the foundation for a medical school, California's first public medical school in over 40 years. Previously, Córdova served as NASA's chief scientist, the youngest person and first woman to hold that position; she was awarded the agency's Distinguished Service Medal. Córdova has published more than 150 scientific and science policy papers. She has been awarded a dozen honorary doctorates. She was inducted into the California Hall of Fame and the Stanford University Multicultural Hall of Fame. She has been elected to the National Academy of Science, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy. Córdova received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Stanford University and her PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology.