Sonia Ortega is program director for the Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program. Since her arrival at the National Science Foundation in 1989, she has been director of the following programs: Minority Research Initiation, Faculty Awards for Women Scientists and Engineers, Presidential Faculty Fellows Awards, Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education, NATO Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science and Engineering, and Graduate Research Traineeships. She represented NSF at Palmer Station, Antarctica in 1997. Prior to coming to NSF, she was a Research Associate at Duke University Marine Laboratory. Her disciplinary field is marine ecology. She has conducted research on the structure and function of intertidal populations of invertebrates on tropical rocky shores. She holds a BS in Biology from the University of Costa Rica, a Masters in Zoology from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of South Carolina.
For three years (2001-2004), Dr. Ortega was on leave from NSF and worked as Director of Education and International Programs at the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network Office at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Dr. Ortega has been enthusiastically involved in many committees and organizations aimed at increasing the representation of women and minorities in the sciences. She received the 2008 Distinguished Professional Mentor Award from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos, Latinos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).Back to Top of page
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