News Archive

Sigma Xi Names A New Executive Director and CEO

May 25, 2017

For Immediate Release

Jasmine Shah
Director of Finance and Administration
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society or 800-243-6534 ext. 233

Jamie_L_Vernon-newsRESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society has selected Jamie L. Vernon as its next executive director and CEO. The appointment will begin on July 1, 2017. Vernon, who is a Sigma Xi member, has been on the Society’s staff since 2014 as the director of science communications and publications as well as editor-in-chief of the Society’s magazine, American Scientist. Vernon also served as interim co-director of operations of Sigma Xi from 2014–2015, working closely with co-director Jasmine Shah and Sigma Xi’s executive committee to manage the $3M headquarters operations following the departure of the previous executive director.

Vernon fills the position currently held by John C. Nemeth, who has served as interim executive director and CEO since October 2015. 

As director of science communications and publications, Vernon managed the publication content, finances, and operations for Sigma Xi, which regularly communicates to its 100,000 members. As editor-in-chief of American Scientist, he oversaw the publication of a bi-monthly science magazine with a print circulation of 50,000 and 250,000 unique online visitors monthly. He also oversaw the publication of an online research journal for high school students, Chronicle of The New Researcher

Prior to joining Sigma Xi, Dr. Vernon served as Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, DC where he designed and implemented evaluation programs to measure and communicate the impacts of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. He also co-founded a small-business incubator that supported a network of business experts to solve global energy challenges.

From 2011-2013, Dr. Vernon served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow in EERE at DOE. While there, he led an initiative to inform the public about their access to energy usage data and to promote the adoption of energy efficiency technologies and behaviors, a project requested by former Vice President Joe Biden. Vernon also helped launch the first National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, an Obama-era DOE program to inspire and promote entrepreneurship.

Dr. Vernon was co-chair of the digital media team of the Interagency Communication and Education Team of the United States Global Change Research Program in Washington, DC in 2012-2013. He worked with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate communications among all federal agencies conducting climate research.

Dr. Vernon earned his BS in zoology at North Carolina State University, his MS in molecular biology/ biotechnology at East Carolina University, and his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at The University of Texas at Austin. 

His professional research experience includes graduate research assistant at East Carolina University and The University of Texas at Austin, NIH Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. He holds one patent and has seven publications. His teaching experience includes graduate teaching assistant at East Carolina University and The University of Texas at Austin, assistant director of biology teaching laboratories at American University, and guest lectures at Duke University, Cornell University, and the University of Idaho. 

“All of us at Sigma Xi, officers, the board of directors, the staff, and members welcome Dr. Vernon as executive director and CEO of the Society,” said Tee L. Guidotti, chair of the search committee and President of Sigma Xi. “He is a distinguished public scientist, an accomplished and innovative communicator, and consummate ambassador who will nurture and protect the health and integrity of the research enterprise.”

“Sigma Xi is an international leader in recognizing excellence in scientific research, promoting ethical conduct of science, and translating that research so the public can use it to improve their lives,” Vernon said. “I look forward to advancing these efforts by growing our community of members and strengthening the Society’s relationship with the public.” 

He continued, “I’m looking forward to promoting the elegance and utility of scientific research. Science is our most effective way of understanding the world we live in. I would like to help others come to understand and appreciate what science can do for them.”

Vernon believes science literacy and research are foundational to a peaceful and thriving U.S. and world economy and aspires to promote evidence-based policymaking that supports the common good. He feels that future generations will be the key to achieving these objectives.  

“I am particularly excited about working with the members of Sigma Xi to recognize young researchers for their early contributions to science and providing the resources and opportunities they need to achieve their career goals.”