France A. Córdova is an astrophysicist and the 14th director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). She leads the $7.5 billion independent federal agency which is the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery; technological innovation; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Córdova has been a leader in science, engineering, and education for more than three decades. She has a distinguished career in both higher education and government. Her contributions in multi-spectrum research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation have made her an internationally recognized astrophysicist. She is president emerita of Purdue University, chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside, and former vice chancellor for research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She also served as NASA's chief scientist and is a recipient of the agency's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. Prior to joining NASA, Córdova was the astronomy department head at Pennsylvania State University and deputy group leader at Los Alamos National Lab. She received her BA from Stanford University and her PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology.