|Dr. France Cordova |
Photographer: Payam Rahimian
Dr. France Anne Cordova's accomplishments are numerous and vast. Her list of commendations is seemingly endless and her profound scientific knowledge as a world-renowned astrophysicist, garners her high distinction amongst a field typically dominated by men. Not only is she a woman breaking gender boundaries, but a Hispanic woman, at that -- who through her work, perseverance and intelligence, is breaking down cultural stereotypes and opening doors for others to follow in her footsteps.
In addition to her accomplishments in science, Cordova is the first Hispanic woman to lead a University of California campus -- as chancellor of UC Riverside, a position she accepted in 2002. Hispanic Business Magazine named her one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" in 1997, and again in 2002 as one of "80 Elite Hispanic Women." Today she continues to be seen as a highly influential and inspirational woman, both to the public and to her family, of which she is the oldest of 12 children.
Before working in the university setting, first as a professor at UCSB and then as Chancellor of UCR, she was the Chief Scientist at NASA, the youngest person and first woman to ever hold that title. Amongst a plethora of other things, as an expert in multiwavelength observational astronomy and space instrumentation, she has led various scientific teams in important satellite work and research. She has penned over 100 scientific articles which are used by scientists and in classrooms around the world. She has also worked on various prestigious science committees and served on advisory boards, including the President's National Medal of Science Committee, and the Fundamental Science Committee of the National Science and Technology Council.
Her accomplishments have been so astounding and worthy of media attention, that in 1996 she was featured in "Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America," a PBS television program, and will soon appear in the PBS documentary, "Life Beyond Earth."
It seems Cordova is a star that never stops shining in the vast and wonderous world of space exploration, scientific research, and education.