Email Print Share

Penhale serves as Acting Head, Polar Environment, Safety and Health Section

July 24, 2020

Dr. Polly Penhale recently began a temporary assignment as Acting Head, Polar Environment, Safety, and Health Section, OPP. She is currently the OPP’s Senior Advisor, Environment and Environmental Officer.
She holds a B.A. from Earlham College, an M.S., and Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, where her Ph.D. research focused on temperate seagrass ecosystems. She was a post-doctorate scholar at the Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine Science, University of Miami. She began her career at NSF as a rotator in the Division of Ocean Sciences followed by a return to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. She rejoined NSF as Program Director for Polar Biology and Medicine, OPP, and in 2004, she became the Environmental Officer, OPP. Besides her responsibilities related to environmental stewardship in the U.S. Antarctic Program, she serves on the U.S. Delegation to the Antarctic Treaty, where she is the U.S. Representative to the Committee for Environmental Protection. She also serves on the U.S. Delegation to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Resources, part of the Antarctic Treaty System.

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

mail icon Get News Updates by Email 

Connect with us online
NSF website:
NSF News:
For News Media:
Awards database:

Follow us on social
Twitter: and