Watermark, a pioneer in educational intelligence and provider of cloud-based technology solutions, today announced that Laurie Leshin, PhD, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has joined Watermark’s board of directors as independent director. President Leshin is an accomplished space scientist and nationally recognized leader in higher education. She has held senior positions at NASA before serving as dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and becoming the first female president of WPI in 2014.
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“We are delighted to welcome President Leshin as the first independent member of our board of directors,” said Watermark CEO Erin Shy. “She immeasurably deepens our expertise in empowering academic institutions to improve their effectiveness, program quality, and student learning. President Leshin’s deep expertise, hands-on experience, and dynamic leadership will help Watermark continue to deliver advanced solutions that lift higher education’s contribution to students and society.”
Successful initiatives in academia by President Leshin range from science to social issues. Under her leadership WPI has been recognized as the U.S. university that best balances excellence in teaching with groundbreaking research; funding for its research efforts has grown rapidly, as have collaborations with industry to bring innovations to market. At the same time, she has made diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority, and the university is now among STEM institutions with the highest percentage of female undergraduate students in the nation.
“Today more than ever leaders in higher education are faced with making key decisions about programs, initiatives and investments in a constantly changing landscape,” said Leshin. “Access to comprehensive and timely data provides academic administrators with keen insights into making institutions more effective which benefits stakeholders across the board.”
President Leshin earned her PhD in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. She was deputy director of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and director of Science and Exploration at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center – leadership roles in which she earned NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal. Her peers in the International Astronomical Union have honored her with one of their clearest signs of high respect: giving her name to a space object (the asteroid 4922 Leshin).
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