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Leah Kauffman (Fed)

Senior Advisor, Communications and Engagement

I have more than two decades of experience in publishing and communications. I enjoy learning new things and explaining them to other people in plain language, and making information useful and actionable.

At NIST, I perform a mix of science writing, organizational communications, and technical writing and editing. I have written Congressional testimony, press releases, web content, fact sheets, talking points, impact stories, briefing books and brochures, and I founded two NIST Special Publication series. The 1200 series is for describing methods at a level of detail that allows other scientists to replicate experiments or processes. The 1800 series, NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guides, is a new approach for NIST: With separate sections for decision makers, managers, and practitioners, they encourage the adoption of standards-based security solutions.

Soon after the CHIPS Act was passed in August 2022, I joined CHIPS for America to help stand up the office of external engagement and educate the public about the CHIPS research and development programs, which will develop an enduring and robust R&D ecosystem that will grow and maintain U.S. technological leadership in semiconductors. 

Additional affiliations:

  • Member, National Association of Science Writers
  • Federal Contracting Officer Representative II


Leah Kauffman is an expert in plain language communications in a wide range of technical fields—from basic and applied science in all disciplines, to clinical research and health care—with experience in academic and government institutions.

Ms. Kauffman joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2010 in the newly formed Material Measurement Lab, a national center that provides measurement tools to industries based in the chemical, biological, and materials sciences. Ms. Kauffman established the lab’s identity with external stakeholders and executed change communications during a major reorganization. In 2012, Ms. Kauffman helped to found NIST’s new National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, where she was responsible for the center’s public presence, including its technical transfer materials. The center’s unique approach to addressing sector-wide cybersecurity challenges garnered a Department of Commerce Gold Medal for Ms. Kauffman and the other founding team members.

Ms. Kauffman returned to the NIST Material Measurement Lab in 2015 where she served as Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Director of Communications, overseeing internal and external communications and helping NIST researchers more effectively communicate with and meet the needs of their customers in industry, academia, and other government agencies.

In August of 2022, Ms. Kauffman began a detail to support public engagement for the new $50 billion CHIPS for America program, the administration's initiative to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to the U.S. 

In early 2024, Ms. Kauffman joined the NIST director's office as a senior advisor for engagement, helping to communicate NIST's priorities to internal and external audiences. 

Ms. Kauffman has a master’s degree in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.


Material Measurement Lab Accolade, 2017 - For cross-divisional/cross-OU teamwork

Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award, 2015 - For leadership in establishing the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

Hermes Creative Platinum Award for UPMC Health Journal, 2008

MarCom Platinum Award for UPMC Health Journal, 2007



Cyberbiosecurity for biopharmaceutical products

Elizabeth Strychalski, Jennifer Mantla, Jayan Rammohan, Eugenia Romantseva, Reid D'Amico, Joel Welch, Leah R. Kauffman, James McCarthy, John E. Schiel, Jeffrey Baker, Kelley Rogers, Kelvin Lee

Space Commerce Workshop Report

Michelle S. Stephens, Nicholas Barbosa, Leah R. Kauffman, Rebecca Dorch, Marcus Holzinger
The Department of Commerce (DOC) Boulder Laboratories (consisting of the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Created October 9, 2019, Updated February 26, 2024