NSF selects Karen Marrongelle as chief operating officer

News Release 21-011

July 28, 2021

Washington, DC — The U.S. National Science Foundation has officially appointed Karen Marrongelle to serve as chief operating officer. Since 2018, she has led the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources, or EHR, which supports research that enhances learning and teaching, and broad efforts to achieve excellence in STEM education at all levels and in all settings.

Marrongelle is a leader in the STEM education research community, and her career has been marked by a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. In her time as EHR assistant director, she has focused on understanding the causes of disparities in educational opportunities and establishing strategic visions for addressing those issues. She has led the funding of several STEM education research centers focused on broadening participation and initiatives to address equity and inclusion in STEM.

“Karen Marrongelle is a strong and innovative leader with a proven track record of excellence and accomplishments.  I am delighted to have her taking on this important role at an amazing time for NSF,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “In her new role as Chief Operating Officer, she will work with the stellar NSF leadership team and partners to advance the frontiers of science, engineering and technology and ensure that NSF remains at the vanguard of innovation.”

Marrongelle has been instrumental in expanding NSF’s portfolio of future-oriented educational research topics, including training a diverse workforce equipped to handle the industries of tomorrow. As the co-chair of the Federal Coordination in STEM Education Subcommittee, she provided leadership in the development and implementation of the five-year federal strategy for STEM education.

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be part of NSF. I am honored to be selected for the role of COO, to work with the NSF Director and contribute to implementing his vision for the agency,” said Marrongelle. “NSF is poised for unprecedented growth and impact in all areas of science and STEM education, and I am looking forward to helping lead the agency into this next phase of our evolution and continue work with the director to create pathways to success for a STEM workforce reflective of the U.S. population. This is of national importance and greatly impacts our ability to advance the frontiers of research into the future.”

Prior to joining NSF, Marrongelle served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Portland State University, overseeing 24 departments and programs. In this position, she worked to implement student inclusivity measures, establish public-private partnerships to support research, and optimize the school’s use of grants from NSF and other funding organizations.

Marrongelle has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy from Albright College, master’s degree in mathematics from Lehigh University and a doctoral degree in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire.

Marrongelle will begin her appointment on August 2, 2021. She will succeed F. Fleming Crim, who has been serving as COO since July 2018.


Media Contacts

Media Affairs, NSF, (703) 292-7090, email: media@nsf.gov

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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