Worcester Polytechnic Institute Names First Woman President

Worcester Polytechnic Institute has named its first woman president.

Laurie Leshin is a former NASA administrator and scientist who specializes in the solar system and the search for life on other planets. In her current position as a dean at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, she worked on the Mars Curiosity rover team and wrote a paper on evidence of water on Martian soil.

But soon she’ll be transitioning from mars to Massachusetts when she takes over Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“I’ll probably have to scale back a little bit some of my involvement, but I do hope to be able to stay a member of the team,” Leshin says. “We’re discovering exciting stuff every single day on the surface of Mars.”

The 150-year-old institution has never had a woman president before. But Leshin says she doesn’t consider her appointment groundbreaking, since other technical universities have been led by women. Still, she was happy to hear from many female students excited by her arrival.

Leshin’s new job starts July 1.