NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan will serve as the speaker for Meredith College’s 2016 Commencement ceremony. Commencement exercises will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at 7 p.m. in J.S. Dorton Arena.
Stofan was appointed NASA chief scientist in 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency's science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments.
Prior to her appointment, Stofan was vice president of ProxemyResearch in Laytonsville, Md., and honorary professor in the department of Earth sciences at University College London in England. Her research has focused on the geology of Venus, Mars, Saturn's moon Titan, and Earth. Stofan is an associate member of the Cassini Mission to Saturn Radar Team and a co-investigator on the Mars Express Mission’s MARSIS sounder. She also was principal investigator on the Titan Mare Explorer, a proposed mission to send a floating lander to a sea on Titan.
Her appointment as chief scientist marks a return to NASA for Stofan. From 1991 through 2000, she held a number of senior scientist positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., including chief scientist for NASA’s New Millennium Program, deputy project scientist for the Magellan Mission to Venus, and experiment scientist for SIR-C, an instrument that provided radar images of Earth on two shuttle flights in 1994.
Stofan holds master and doctorate degrees in geological sciences from Brown University and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary. She has received many awards and honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Stofan has written and published numerous professional papers, books, and book chapters, and has chaired committees including the National Research Council Inner Planets Panel for the recent Planetary Science Decadal Survey and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group.
For more information, visit meredith.edu/commencement.