Dr. Kathleen Vander Kaaden

Dr. Kathleen Vander Kaaden (she/her) is a program scientist in the Planetary Science Division at the NASA Headquarters. She is the Chief Scientist for Astromaterials Curation within the Science Mission Directorate at NASA and works closely with the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center as well as any mission with NASA participation that will ultimately bring extraterrestrial materials to Earth. As of April 1, 2024, Kathleen is also the Acting Director for Planetary Research Programs at NASA HQ. She was recently named to Salem State University Alumni’s 40 under 40 class and received the Rising Star Award from Salem State and her previous place of employment – Jacobs. Kathleen is extremely passionate about inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility as well as educating the next generation of STEM leaders. Dr. Vander Kaaden earned an undergraduate degree in geological sciences at Salem State University and a M.S. and Ph.D in Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico.

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