A Caltech alumna and NASA veteran will become the new director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

Laurie Leshin, the president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, will assume the role of director in May, officials announced Thursday. She will succeed Michael Watkins, who retired in August, and Lt. Gen. Larry James, who currently serves at the interim director.

Leshin will be JPL’s first woman director. She will also become a vice president of Caltech, which manages the lab for NASA.

Caltech President Thomas Rosenbaum said Leshin was selected for her track record leading complex organizations, her strategic thinking, her commitment to people and “her ability to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.