For the first time in its history, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is headed by a woman

For the first time in its history, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is headed by a woman

The NASA already has a rich history of high-profile women leading some of its biggest projects. From the “human calculator” Dorothy Vaughan (first black woman to be promoted to supervisor at NACA) through Kitty O’Brien Joyner (first woman engineer at NASA) or even Nancy Grace Roman, the “mother of Hubble”, the American space agency has long granted a place to women in its ranks, since a period when American society was very little open to qualified women’s work. We also note that in recent years, the new promotions of NASA astronauts have as many women as men while the agency has already planned to send a woman to the Moon as part of its Artemis mission.

Laurie Leshin JPL NASA

In this context, the appointment of Dr. Laurie Leshin at the head of the prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory seems almost logical. Trained at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Laurie Leshin replaces Lieutenant Gen Larry James, knowing that the latter has only held the position on an interim basis since the retirement of Michael Watkins in August 2021. Laurie Leshin will also occupy the position of vice -president of Caltech (which administratively manages the JPL). This promotion owes nothing to chance and even less to the establishment of inclusive “quotas”: Laurie Leshin previously held the position of director of the Goddard Space Flight Center and was the first woman president of WPI, among others…

Suffice to say that NASA placed Laurie Leshin at the head of JPL because the latter was considered (by far) the most competent for this position, no offense to all those who think that women do not find themselves at the head of something only by the grace of a helping hand that is necessarily a bit paternalistic.

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