Mary F. Sladek in front of a poster board with her name and

Mary F. Sladek

Senior Program Director

Initially arriving in the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in 2016, Mary Frances Sladek joined the Deputy Associate Administrator for Research (DAAR) team in June 2018. Mary supports quality assurance for the DAAR’s notices of funding opportunity (NOFOs), announcements of opportunity (AOs), and requests for information (RFI). She had been SMD’s Education Manager in the Science Engagement and Partnership Division. Mary has more than 25-years of experience in competitive and result-oriented grant program management and evaluation at NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Less than a year after her initial hire by NASA Headquarters Office of Education, known today as the Office of STEM Engagement, Mary launched the "Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers" per NASA's 2005 Authorization Act PL109-155 SEC. 616. MUSEUMS in 2008. Five NASA Research Announcements for museums supported by the Museum Alliance at JPL, resulted in more than 200 proposals received and a score of competitive grants awarded.

Mary managed the 2015-2016 Priorities Competition for STEM Education and Accountability Projects or SEAP, an internal-to-NASA or NASA Field Center competition. This unique, criteria-based competition identified and supported evidence-based, NASA-related STEM activities. She competed partnership agreements using NASA's "other transaction authority" under the Space Act. She shared a NASA Headquarters Honor Award for Civil Service Team: Space Act Abstracts Review in 2009. Mary is a member of SMD’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Working Group that in 2023 shared a NASA Group Achievement Award for an outstanding, positive impact to the NASA mission by working to further NASA’s core value of Inclusion and embed IDEA principles throughout SMD’s environment and programs.

Prior to joining NASA in 2007, she worked at NSF for 18 years as a program and evaluation manager in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM and shared an NSF Director's Award for Collaborative Integration in 2004. Mary entered federal service as a Presidential Management Intern. Following her internship, NSF named Mary the Presidential Faculty Fellows Awards and the Young Investigator Awards program manager in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, or EHR, now called the STEM Education Directorate.

As an NSF Contracting Officer's Representative for evaluation and monitoring contracts, Mary managed descriptive and result-oriented studies of NSF’s grants. Third-party monitoring and other studies included sectors as diverse as, informal or out-of-school-time learning, graduate education, minority-serving institutions and research, e.g., Research on Gender in Science and Engineering, Research in Disabilities Education, and the first evaluation of NSF’s EPSCoR, known today as the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Ms. Sladek holds the Master of Government Administration degree from the Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Her husband, Vladimir Tismaneanu, is a distinguished author and professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Mary is a member of the American Evaluation Association and Federal Evaluators.