Laurie Leshin is the 16th president, and first woman, to lead Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Under her leadership, WPI has been recognized by the "Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education" as the No. 1 university that best balances teaching and research, awarded the Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education, and received the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. She joined WPI from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she was dean of the School of Science. Prior to that she was a senior NASA administrator; there she was honored with its Outstanding Leadership Medal and Distinguished Public Service Medal. An accomplished geochemist and space scientist, she earned her BS in Chemistry, summa cum laude, at Arizona State University, and an MS and PhD in Geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, which honored her in 2021 with its Distinguished Alumni Award.
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