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May 9, 2014

Sigma Xi Hires New Director of Science Communications/Publications and Editor in Chief of American Scientist

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, will welcome Dr. Jamie Vernon on July 1 as director of science communications and publications. He will also be editor in chief of Sigma Xi's award-winning magazine, American Scientist. Vernon is a Sigma Xi member and was previously an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow and AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy.

As editor in chief, Vernon will lead American Scientist. This bi-monthly publication features the work of the world's leading researchers and their perspectives on today's issues in science and technology. With the combination of clear editing, beautiful photography, and smart graphics, American Scientist contributes toward Sigma Xi's mission to promote the public's understanding of science.

Corey S. Powell, who has been serving as interim editor in chief, will finish his assignment with the Society on May 31.

The director of science communications and publications is a new position within the Society. Vernon will oversee the development of innovative communication initiatives to increase the value of Sigma Xi membership. This includes expanding the reach of Sigma Xi in the public and in the professional fields of science and engineering.

At the U.S. Department of Energy, he was responsible for measuring and communicating the value of the department's investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. He also served as co-chair of the digital communications team for the U.S. Global Change Research Program's Climate Communication and Education Interagency Working Group, where he initiated an effort to coordinate federal agencies' strategy for communicating climate science.

Vernon has written for Scientific American and was formerly a regular contributor to Chris Mooney's The Intersection, a blog at Discover magazine.

He has traveled the country conducting workshops and clinics to help scientists develop their communication strategies. In 2013, he co-founded a ScienceOnline satellite group in Washington, DC, and organized the ScienceOnline Climate Conference. ScienceOnline is a non-profit group dedicated to cultivating the way science is conducted, shared, and communicated online.

He became a member of Sigma Xi in 2013 and served on a panel at the 2013 Annual Meeting about science communication in the 21st century. Click here to watch a video of the panel.

Joining the Sigma Xi team in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, represents a homecoming for him. Prior to completing his PhD in cell and molecular biology at The University of Texas at Austin, he earned a MS in molecular biology/biotechnology from East Carolina University and a BS in zoology from North Carolina State University.

Sigma Xi is an international, multidisciplinary honor society of research scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public's understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition.

Photo credit: Russ Creech

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