Dr. Jih-Fen Lei is director of the Research and Technology Directorate at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio. She is responsible for planning, advocating, coordinating, organizing, directing, and supervising all phases of directorate research and business activities. The directorate consists of more than 470 civil service employees and about 250 onsite support service contractors, who conduct advanced research and technology development in propulsion, power, communication, high-temperature materials and structures, microgravity science, instrumentation and controls, nanotechnology, and biotechnology to meet NASA mission commitments.
Jih-Fen earned her bachelor's degree in Physics from National Tsing-Hwa University and her doctorate in Material Science and Engineering from Northwestern University. She is a graduate of the Senior Executive Service (SES) Candidate Development Program, during which she worked in the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Office of Biological and Physical Research at NASA Headquarters, as well as at the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (Executive Office of the President). In addition, Jih-Fen is a graduate of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government "Senior Managers in Government" program, the Brookings Institution's public policy program "Executive Leadership in a Changing Environment," and Stanford University's executive program "Leading Change and Organizational Renewal."
Jih-Fen has received numerous awards, including the "Meritorious Presidential Rank" and "NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Honor Medal" awards in 2007; the "NASA Public Service Honor Medal" in 1996; the prestigious "R&D 100" award in 1991, 1995, and 1998; the "Army Research Laboratory Honorary Medal for Technical Achievement" in 1997; the "Women of Color Technology Innovation in Government" award in 2000; the "NASA Group Achievement" awards in 2004 and 2005; and the "NASA Turning Goals into Reality" award in 2000, 2002, and 2004.
Jih-Fen is an accomplished researcher who has written more than 98 technical publications and has given over 60 talks, including panel discussions, plenary speeches, and invited presentations. She also is patented in her field.
Originally from Taiwan, today Jih-Fen lives with her husband in Westlake, Ohio.