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Sara Eckert joins OPP as Communications Specialist


April 13, 2021

Sara Eckert graduated from the University of Maryland where she earned a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution and a minor in Leadership Studies. As an undergraduate, Ms. Eckert studied the regeneration and asexual reproduction of freshwater aquatic worms.

After earning her degree, Ms. Eckert worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment as a communications specialist. In her role at NOAA, Ms. Eckert launched a blog and assisted with the complex communications of the scientific research of the office. In an effort to escape the hustle of the Washington, DC area, Ms. Eckert moved west to become a sea otter tracker at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in Monterey Bay, California.

Ms. Eckert then moved to the United Kingdom, where she earned her M.S. in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. While earning her degree, Ms. Eckert focused on understanding international collaboration in the conservation of wildlife. Her thesis focused on shark migrations and marine protected areas. While in the UK, Ms. Eckert also had the opportunity to work as a communications specialist for the Zoological Society of London Marine and Freshwater Team.

On her return to the US, Ms. Eckert joined AmeriCorps, working at the Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). As an AmeriCorps Member, and subsequently employee of OSMRE, Ms. Eckert helped in the development of a Department-wide 120 person Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program that spanned the United States. She then transitioned to the OSMRE Office of Communications, where Ms. Eckert worked on, seemingly, every possible type of communications products form press releases and briefing papers, to awards and social media.

Ms. Eckert left OSMRE and joined the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as a Social Media Specialist. In her role at TSA, Ms. Eckert focused one expanding the presence of TSA across social media platforms, working carefully to capture the award-winning tone and humor, yes humor, of the accounts. She worked closely with TSA spokespeople and successfully expanded TSA Cutest Canine Contest, which reached millions of people across the country.  

Sara Eckert is excited to join the NSF Office of Polar Programs as a Communications Specialist and ‘return to her roots’ in communicating science.

Ms. Eckert was born and raised in upstate New York and in her free time loves to travel, bake, and watch baseball.

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 2021 budget of $8.5 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.

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