UCAR chooses first executive director of Friends of the National Center

Sarah Swanson is an established fundraiser and expert in advancing STEM education

Oct 4, 2022 - by Staff

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) announced today that it has chosen Sarah Swanson, an experienced fundraiser with a focus on advancing STEM education, as the first executive director of the Friends of the National Center (FoNC).

Head shot of Sarah Swanson
Sarah Swanson.

UCAR established FoNC in 2017 as a fundraising effort to support early-career researchers as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. It recently relaunched FoNC as an expanded network that provides value to both the staff of UCAR and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) — which UCAR manages on behalf of the U.S. National Science Foundation — and to the broader Earth system science community. 

The benefits of the expanded FoNC network include engagement opportunities for staff at all career stages; ways for retirees to remain involved; and support for existing outreach, STEM education, and DEI programs.

“Sarah’s fundraising expertise and long-time track record in advancing STEM education will be invaluable assets here at UCAR,” said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. “We are very much looking forward to Friends of the National Center building community and serving as a champion of Earth system science.”

Swanson, a fundraising and marketing professional, has focused much of her career on advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education for Boston Public School children at Thompson Island Outward Bound, where she exceeded revenue goals and developed the organization’s first Corporate Partnership Program. Swanson has a master’s degree in intercultural relations from Lesley University and a long-time interest in DEI initiatives that reduce racial disparities and inequities.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to further develop Friends of the National Center,” Swanson said. “I am inspired by UCAR/NCAR’s programs that focus on STEM education, supporting early career scientists, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. I believe through Friends we will be able to help build and expand these important programs while offering meaningful engagement opportunities for our staff and retirees.”


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