France Cordova is voted in as the new National Science Foundation (NSF) director: tackling the women in science and science funding debates head on.
Women in science. Not an easy topic to approach.
Funding in science. Another nasty.
What if you combined the two: a female astrophysicist takes on the starring role at one of the biggest science funders in the US?
It’s actually a great day to talk about the combination of these two subjects because earlier Dr France Cordova (an astrophysicist) was voted as the National Science Foundations’ (one of the biggest science funders in the US) director by the Senate. This is definitely worthy of celebration.
It’s never been easy for women in science, but Cordova seems to take that, as well as bleak funding outlooks, in her stride as she starts her new role as the NSF director.
Last year, Jeffrey Mervis from ScienceInsider had a rather candid interview with Cordova about her acceptance of the role. Her view on the state in Washington at the time was that funding cuts were “just part of being a leader. It would be just great if you were handed pots of money and you could put it everywhere.”
Wouldn’t it just.
A sliver lining to take away from Cordova’s election, apart from her positive attitude to the lack of funding, is that she hadn’t set out to become a scientist when she started life as a student. she signed up for a physics class but it wasn’t what she was looking for.
““…the class was completely male, and the manner of presentation left something to be desired.” That negative experience pushed her in another direction. “I had always loved the humanities and the arts, and I took a lot of anthropology, too,” she says. She wound up majoring in English.”
You can read more about Cordova’s and the NSF here.