As WPI’s 16th president—and the first woman to serve in the role—Laurie Leshin is committed to elevating WPI’s impact in communities worldwide. She brings over 20 years of leadership and government service experience to the role, which she assumed in 2014, and combines a lifelong love of learning and exploration with a strong track record of igniting action to advance critical institutions and programs.
Before joining WPI, Leshin was the deputy director of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate; the Dee and John Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University; and dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she also continued her work as a scientist for the Mars rover Curiosity mission.
She is a recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership and Distinguished Public Service Medals, and the Meteoritical Society’s Nier Prize. She has also served on the board of directors of Women in Aerospace, and on the Council of the American Geophysical Union. She earned a BS in chemistry at Arizona State University, and an MS and PhD in geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology.