Sonia Ortega, Ph.D., returned to the Office of International Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation (NSF) after serving as the Head of NSF’s Europe-Eurasia Office in Brussels. She joined the NSF in 1989. Dr. Ortega was an Embassy Science Fellow at the US Embassy in Malaysia, served as an NSF representative in the Antarctic, worked as Director of Education and International Programs at the University of New Mexico and worked as Research Associate at Duke University's Marine Station in Beaufort, North Carolina. At Duke, she researched the ecology of oyster populations along the North Carolina coast. At NSF, Dr. Ortega has directed several large, complex programs, including the Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education, the Faculty Awards for Women and the Presidential Faculty Fellows Award, which she coordinated with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Prior to moving to Brussels to head the Europe-Eurasia Office in 2015, she was a Program Director for Southeast Asia and Pacific countries in the NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering. Dr. Ortega holds a BS in Biology from the University of Costa Rica, an MA in Zoology from Duke and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of South Carolina. A founding member of the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences, Dr. Ortega has been a member of NatureBridge's Education Advisory Council since 2009.