Sigma Xi Hires New Director of Programs

March 16, 2022

Media contact:
Jason Papagan
Manager of Communications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society

tamara_poles_headshot_550RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society announces the hiring of Tamara Poles in the role of Director of Programs. In her new position, she is responsible for the successful operation of a broad array of Society programs, including but not limited to, Grants in Aid of Research, Distinguished Lectureships, Student Research Showcase, and the International Forum on Research Excellence, powered by Sigma Xi. She will report to Jamie Vernon, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sigma Xi.

Prior to joining Sigma Xi, Poles held the position of Community Engagement Specialist at the University of North Carolina’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, where she conceptualized and implemented North Carolina’s first statewide adult science communication curriculum and training program, IMPACTS. Her work with this four-year project changed the lives of more than 300 diverse scientists across the state through science communication training programs and the coordination of a myriad of community events throughout the state. As a result, more than 17,000 schoolchildren got to meet and interact with scientists who looked and sounded like them, from their own neighborhoods and beyond. In total, the IMPACTS scientists engaged over 48,000 North Carolinians in less than 4 years. 

Poles' work with the IMPACTS program resulted in national and international recognition in addition to a $1 million grant from the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to fund FUTURES, a collaboration with community colleges to train scientists how to share their personal STEM stories with the public. 

“Sigma Xi is such a prestigious institution with an impressive history of celebrating and fostering the health and growth of science and the research enterprise," said Poles. "I am thrilled to join an organization whose goals and values align strongly with my own personal goals in life and within the scientific community.” 

Poles received her Bachelor of Science degree from Roanoke College, Virginia, and her Master of Education with concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Averett University, Virginia. She brings her immense energy and extensive skills in science communication, public speaking, and project development and management to this position. 


More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety