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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Science
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Laurie A. Leshin, Ph.D.
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Laurie A. Leshin, Ph.D.

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Laurie A. Leshin, Ph.D.
Dean of the School of Science

Dr. Laurie Leshin is the Dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she leads the scientific academic and research enterprise at the nation’s first technological University. With a long tradition of collaboration spanning fundamental science to high value applications, Rensselaer is a true pioneer in interdisciplinary and translational research in Biotechnology, Nanoscience, Energy, Data Science, and Astrobiology.

Prior to joining Rensselaer, Dr. Leshin served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate where she played a leading role NASA's future human spaceflight endeavors. In this role, she oversaw the planning and execution of the next generation of human exploration systems, as well as the research, robotic and future capabilities development activities that support them.  She was also engaged in initiating the development of commercial human spaceflight capabilities to low earth orbit. Prior to her work in NASA Exploration, Dr. Leshin served as Director of Science and Deputy Center Director for Science and Technology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where she oversaw Earth and Space science activities at NASA’s largest science Center.

 
Before coming to NASA in 2005, Dr. Leshin was The Dee and John Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences, and the Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University. At ASU, she directed research, education, and curation activities in the Center for Meteorite Studies, which houses the largest University-based meteorite collection in the world. She also spearheaded the formulation of a new School of Earth and Space Exploration, combining Earth, planetary and astrophysical sciences with systems engineering in a nationally-unique interdisciplinary academic unit. She also spearheaded the formulation of a new School of Earth and Space Exploration, combining Earth, planetary and astrophysical sciences with systems engineering in a nationally-unique interdisciplinary academic unit.

Dr. Leshin’s scientific expertise is in cosmochemistry. She is primarily interested in deciphering the record of water on objects in our solar system. Dr. Leshin is a member of the science team for the Mars Curiosity rover mission, currently roaming the surface of Mars. She has published over 40 scientific papers, and was the inaugural recipient of the Meteoritical Society’s Nier Prize in 1996 for her work.

In 2013, President Obama appointed Leshin to the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. In 2004, Dr. Leshin served on President Bush’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, a nine-member commission charged with advising the President on the execution of his new Vision Space Exploration. She received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2004 for this work, and the Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2011 for her work at NASA. The International Astronomical Union recognized her contributions to planetary science with the naming of asteroid 4922 Leshin. 

Dr. Leshin received her B.S. in Chemistry in 1987 from Arizona State University, and her Ph. D. in Geochemistry in 1994 from California Institute of Technology.

Related Links *
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Science Magazine Science Paper on
Mars Curiosity Results

The Rocknest deposit contains water bound to amorphous materials and several simple organic compounds.
(L. A. Leshin et al.)

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Video - Laurie Leshin: Stop the Sequester (Science Works)

News - White House Appoints Dean of Science Laurie Leshin to National Air and Space Museum Advisory Board


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School of Science Town Hall Meeting Dec. 16, 2013 (PDF)

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The NASA Connection
One of the perks of having friends in high places is the “behind-the-scenes tour,” and recently, the Rensselaer community got a multimedia tour from some very well-placed friends: School of Science Dean Laurie Leshin, and three Rensselaer alumni, all of whom are working on NASA’s Curiosity Rover mission.

Dr. Leshin and alumni Michael Meyer, Frederick Serricchio, and Kobie Boykins took us though the challenges of designing the launch vehicle, spaceship, and rover, surviving the spectacular “seven minutes of terror” between space and the Martian surface, and some of the findings (including 3-D images) now being transmitted to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

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Dean’s Office

Bonnie Carson

Assistant to the Dean

(518) 276-6305

Colleen Martin

Senior Business Manager

(518) 276-8848

Pamela Murarka

Business Administrator

(518) 276-2167

William L. Siegmann Associate Dean of Science for Graduate Education and Research (518) 276-6905

David L. Spooner

Associate Dean of Science for Undergraduate Education and Administration

(518) 276-6305

Amanda Thibault

Project Administrator

(518) 276-4285

Associated Contacts

Mary L. Martialay Senior Communications Specialist (News); Strategic Communications & External Relations (518) 276-2146
Steven R. Morris Web Communications Manager; Strategic Communications & External Relations (518) 276-2123
Walter C. Williams Chief Advancement Officer for the School of Science; Institute Advancement (518) 276-2974
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Laurie A. Leshin

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Dean of Science
leshin@rpi.edu
(518) 276-6305
@RPISciDean
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For speaking/appointment requests, please contact Bonnie Carson carsob@rpi.edu
(518) 276-6305
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David L. Spooner
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Associate Dean of Science for Academic Affairs
spoond@rpi.edu
(518) 276-6305
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Wilfredo Colón
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Associate Dean of Science for Graduate Education
colonw@rpi.edu
(518) 276-6305
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Departments
and Programs

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and Chemical Biology

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and Web Science

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Physics, Applied Physics,
and Astronomy

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Research Centers

Center for Biochemical Solar Energy Research

Center for Terahertz Research

Data Science Research Center

Inverse Problems Center

Darrin Fresh Water Institute

New York Center for Astrobiology

Rensselaer Exploratory Center for Cheminformatics Research



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Last page update: 2/10/14, 1:41 PM