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Latino Daily News

Saturday August 3, 2013

HISPANIC STANDOUT: Dr. France Anne Cordova Set to be First Latina to Head Nat’l Science Agency

HISPANIC STANDOUT: Dr. France Anne Cordova Set to be First Latina to Head Nat’l Science Agency

Photo: Facebook: Dr. France Anne Cordova

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This week President Obama announced more key administration nominations that included Dr. France Anne Cordova as director of the National Science Foundation. 

If Dr. Cordova is appointed she will be making history becoming the first Latina to serve as head of the agency.  This won’t be the first time Dr. Cordova breaks barriers she was the first Hispanic woman to lead a University of California campus as Chancellor at UC Riverside.

The French born scientist is the oldest of twelve children born to a Mexican father, who attended West Point, and Irish mother.  She is a graduate of Stanford University and obtained her doctorate from California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Cordova has always loved the sciences from her time as a young astronomer at Los Alamos National Labs to physics professor at the University of California to her tenure as NASA’s chief scientist.  She has also made a name for herself in academia serving as President Emerita of Purdue University from 2007 through 2012 and the head of the astronomy and astrophysics department at Penn State.

The nomination is timely as the U.S. aims to be a global leader in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and graduate more Latinos in STEM. 

The National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency, is tasked with funding scientific research and promoting “the progress of science.”  Dr. Cordova once appointed will manage a $7.0 billion budget, oversee a 24-member National Science Board and oversee over 2,000 employees. 

Currently Dr. Cordova is chair of the Smithsonian Board of Regents and a member of the National Science Board.  She resides in New Mexico and is married to fellow scientist Christian J. Foster and has two children, Anne-Catherine Cordova Foster and Stephen Cordova Foster.