Benefiting society and mitigating crises through science and innovation: a message from Kellina Craig-Henderson

More than 17 years ago, I first set foot in the U.S. National Science Foundation as a temporary program director on loan from Howard University. I was drawn by the inspiring mission of NSF and motivated by my deep conviction that fundamental research can uniquely enrich the lives of people and help us achieve our most ambitious aspirations as a country. I still feel that way as I humbly take on the leadership role for NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate.

Leaders invariably rely on the talent and hard work of others, including those who came before us. I feel a sense of appreciation every day for the NSF staff and their amazing ability to make the complex and demanding mission of NSF a reality. I am equally in awe of the broad research community that we support and their seemingly endless innovation and ingenuity. I am thankful for the past and present leadership of NSF, including Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, the National Science Board and — in particular — my predecessor, Arthur "Skip" Lupia.

It's easy to feel weary and lose sight of our goals when we see conflict and violence in the headlines and in our social media feeds. What sustains me is the certainty that when we collectively use our training and expertise, we can produce transformative outcomes that serve others.

The capacity of science and innovation to benefit society and mitigate crises cannot be overstated.

That truth is evident through our many shared accomplishments over the past several years, like the life-saving work of the Societal Experts Action Network, the remarkable success of the Build and Broaden program, and the impactful and interdisciplinary research supported by the Strengthening American Infrastructure program.

Every challenge we face is an opportunity to empower people and find new ways to enhance safety, security and quality of life. I look forward to seizing those opportunities with you. I will continue to support your work and champion the wonderful benefits your research and ingenuity bestow to America.

Thank you for your dedication to advancing the frontiers of science and your valued contributions to the mission of NSF.

Your colleague,

Kellina Craig-Henderson
NSF Assistant Director
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate