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About The CEO

Tamara Poles

Tamara Poles is a dynamic and accomplished leader, currently serving as the Director of Programs at Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, the Director of Accessibility on the Executive Board for the Association of Science Communicators, serves on the Artistic Advisory Board for The Story Collider, and former board member for the Science Communicators of North Carolina. With a passion for supporting researchers across all disciplines, Tamara is responsible for overseeing a diverse range of programs that cater to individuals from elementary school to emeritus level. Her dedication to professional development is evident through the multitude of opportunities she offers, including grants, workshops, trainings, and networking events.


Tamara’s educational background further enhances her expertise in her field. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Roanoke College in Virginia, and later pursued a Master of Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Averett University, also in Virginia.

Before joining Sigma Xi, Tamara held the prestigious role of Community Engagement Specialist at the University of North Carolina’s renowned Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. During her tenure, she revolutionized the field of adult science communication by conceiving and implementing North Carolina’s first statewide curriculum and training program, IMPACTS. This ambitious four-year project not only transformed the lives of over 500 diverse scientists, but also empowered more than 17,000 schoolchildren to realize their potential as future scientists.

Through a series of community events, Tamara facilitated meaningful interactions between scientists and local communities, fostering a sense of belonging and inspiring the next generation.


Tamara’s exceptional work with the IMPACTS program garnered national and international recognition, as well as a notable $1 million grant from the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. This grant enabled the establishment of FUTURES, a groundbreaking collaboration with community colleges aimed at equipping scientists with the skills to effectively share their personal STEM stories with the public.

In addition to her impactful contributions, Tamara has also made notable scholarly contributions to the field of education. Her most recent peer-reviewed publication, titled “Beads and ‘Biomes: A Hands-On Classroom Activity for Understanding the Effects of Antibiotics on the Microbiome,” can be found in the esteemed December 2021 volume of The American Biology Teacher.

Tamara Poles stands as an inspiring figure in the scientific community, leveraging her expertise to support researchers, cultivate science communication skills, and empower future generations. Her dedication to advancing scientific education and fostering inclusivity sets her apart as a visionary leader in her field.