France A. Córdova is an astrophysicist and the 14th director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. NSF is a $7.5-billion independent federal agency, with a mission that is vital to supporting America’s economy, security, and ability in science. Córdova is president emerita of Purdue University, chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside, former vice chancellor for research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, department head at Penn State and deputy group leader at Los Alamos National Lab. She has served as NASA’s chief scientist and is a recipient of NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. Her scientific contributions are in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation.