Laurie A. Leshin - (Chair)
Laurie A. Leshin, Ph.D. became the 16th president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in June of 2014. As president, she brings to WPI over 20 years of experience as a leader in academia and government service, and an accomplished record as a space scientist. Prior to joining WPI, Dr. Leshin served as the Dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. There she expanded and strengthened interdisciplinary scientific research and education, championed diversity in STEM, and significantly expanded fundraising and outreach initiatives. While at Rensselaer, Dr. Leshin continued her work as a scientist for the Mars Curiosity Rover mission and was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Board for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Prior to joining Rensselaer, Dr. Leshin served as the deputy director of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, where she was responsible for oversight of NASA’s future human spaceflight programs and activities. Dr. Leshin also worked as the director of science and exploration at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Before joining NASA, Dr. Leshin was the Dee and John Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University, where she led the development of the first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary School of Earth and Space Exploration and served as director of the Center for Meteorite Studies. While at ASU, Dr. Leshin was appointed by President Bush to serve on the Commission for the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, which called for a transformation in the nation’s approach to space exploration. Dr. Leshin is a recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal, and the Meteoritical Society’s Nier Prize. She has served on the Board of Directors of Women in Aerospace and the Council of the American Geophysical Union. In 2001 the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid in recognition of her contributions to planetary science: Asteroid 4922 Leshin. Dr. Leshin received a B.S. in chemistry from ASU in 1987 and a Ph.D. in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1994.
Maureen T. Connelly
Maureen T. Connelly, M.D., M.Ph., is Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Community Affairs and Professor of Health Systems Science at the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine (KPSOM). She is responsible for oversight of all academic policies affecting faculty, faculty career support, and the implementation of a collaborative community engagement strategy for KPSOM. A general internist by training, Dr. Connelly joined KPSOM after 25 years at Harvard Medical School, where she served in the Office for Faculty Affairs for 13 years, with the last 8 years as Dean for Faculty Affairs. In her prior role, she supported faculty career development, oversaw policies related to faculty appointments and promotions, represented the Dean on senior faculty searches, and worked one-on-one with faculty to provide career support. She is a founding member and former leader of the New England Network on Faculty Affairs and most recently served as the Chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Faculty Affairs. Dr. Connelly’s prior academic appointment was in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, where her research focus was on women’s health and patient decision-making. She previously practiced as a primary care physician at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Dr. Connelly’s current research focus is on faculty development, mentoring, and equitable approaches to faculty recruitment and promotion. Her peer-reviewed publications have appeared in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Journal of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Connelly completed a BA in Women’s Studies and American Studies at Yale College, a post-baccalaureate certificate at Bryn Mawr College, her MD at Cornell University Medical College, and an MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health. She pursued her residency at the New York Hospital, Chief Residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and a General Internal Medicine fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Laura Diaz-Martinez, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Associate Director of the Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives (COURI) at the University of Texas at El Paso. One of her roles at COURI is to build collaborative relationships with faculty from all colleges to identify funding opportunities and develop undergraduate research programs with the goal of increasing engagement of undergraduate students of all disciplines in research. In addition, Dr. Diaz-Martinez also maintains an active research program focused on cell division in human cells. Her research expertise includes cell and molecular biology, genetics and microscopy. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes in México.
Kimberly Griffin, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy Program (Student Affairs Area of Specialization). She also serves as the editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Dr. Griffin earned her doctoral degree in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA, her Master's degree in Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, and her Bachelors degree from Stanford University in Psychology. Prior to completing her doctoral work, Dr. Griffin worked in higher education administration, primarily focusing in the areas of diversity recruitment, admissions, and retention in undergraduate and graduate education. Dr. Griffin's research interests are primarily focused in three areas: diversity and equity in graduate education and the professoriate; diversity within the Black higher education community; and mentoring and career development. These interests have led her to conduct work on a variety of topics, including Black professors and their engagement in student interaction. Dr. Griffin's work also contributes to national conversations on equity and inclusion, and she has collaborated and consulted with the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Academies, American Council on Education, and the Council of Graduate Schools to discuss extant research and new initiatives. She served as a member of the planning committee for the workshop on Characteristics of Effective Mentoring Relationships Among STEM Faculty and Students.
Tasha R. Inniss
Tasha R. Inniss, Ph.D., recently returned to Spelman College, a liberal arts college for women of African descent, to serve as the Associate Provost for Research. She also holds a tenured faculty appointment in the Department of Mathematics. Prior to returning to Spelman, she was the inaugural Director of Education and Industry Outreach at INFORMS, the world’s largest professional society for professionals in the fields of operations research, management science, and analytics. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team at INFORMS, she was responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction, and implementation of all education-related and practice (industry) activities and outreach. Dr. Inniss also did a rotation at the National Science Foundation in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources where she served as the Acting Deputy Division Director of the Division of Human Resource Development and before that, as the co-lead of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program. Originally from New Orleans, Dr. Inniss graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. She earned a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her first faculty position after completing her doctorate was as a Clare Boothe Luce Professor of Mathematics at Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) in Washington, D.C. As an Applied Mathematician, her research interests are in the areas of operations research, applied statistics, and data science. In addition to Dr. Inniss' research interests, she also has a passion for teaching mathematics and encouraging undergraduate students to pursue degrees in STEM disciplines. When she was a junior faculty member at Spelman College, Inniss received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching because of her innovative teaching techniques and dedication to helping students to see how mathematics is applied in the real-world.