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Ellen Stofan to Lead National Air and Space Museum

Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 15:02

This post is adapted from a press release issued by the National Air and Space Museum:

Ellen StofanEllen Stofan, the former chief scientist at NASA, will become the first woman to lead the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Institution announced on Thursday, 5 April. 

Stofan was chief scientist at NASA (2013–2016), serving as the principal advisor to former administrator Charles Bolden on NASA’s strategic planning and programs. She helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars, and worked on strategies for NASA to support commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it transitions from the International Space Station (ISS) to sending humans to the Moon and Mars. She supported NASA’s overall science programs in heliophysics, Earth science, planetary science, and astrophysics. While at NASA, she worked with President Barack Obama’s science advisor and the National Science and Technology Council on science policy.

“Ellen’s scientific background, leadership skills, communication acumen and strategic thinking have positioned her superbly to lead the National Air and Space Museum,” David Skorton, the director of the Smithsonian Institution, said in a statement. “Her passion for science coupled with her love of education will ensure that the museum will continue to be a global treasure and world leader through its extensive programming, exhibitions and scholarship.”

“One of my biggest passions is outreach and communication about science and technology,” Stofan, 57, said. “What better place than the Air and Space Museum to engage everyone in the excitement of aviation and exploration.”

Being the first woman in the post is an added honor because the science and tech fields are lacking in women and people of color, she said.

Stofan assumes her new post on 30 April. She succeeds Gen. J. R. “Jack” Dailey, who retired in January after serving 18 years as director.

Richard Tresch Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
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