Maria Zacharias directs the public engagement, health education and communications initiatives of the NEI as well as coordinates the public-facing messaging and information delivery channels on behalf of the institute. In these roles, Maria enables collaborations with NEI-supported researchers, through the use of multiple media and digital platforms, to provide relevant and accurate information to patients and their family members, the general public, allied health professionals, researchers, policy makers, and other stakeholders.
Prior to joining NEI in 2015, Maria led strategic communications initiatives for the National Science Foundation for eight years. Before that, she served in various communications roles for other federal agencies. Her government career has built on her experience in the media as a television news producer and as a communications consultant providing crisis media management to leaders in public- and private-sector organizations.
She earned a BA in English at Bryn Mawr College and spent a year of study at St. Andrews University in Scotland.