Sara Tucker

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Sara Martinez Tucker is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Math and Science Initiative. She formerly served as the Under Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education and as former president and Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). She serves as a member on the following Boards of Directors: American Electric Power,[1] Xerox,[2] Sprint,[3] and the Council for Aid to Education. She also serves on the University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees.[4]

Early life[edit]

A native of Laredo, Texas, Tucker received her undergraduate degree in journalism, graduating with honors from the University of Texas at Austin (UT). She was a general-assignments reporter for the San Antonio Express before returning to UT, where she received a master of business administration degree with high honors.


Before joining HSF in 1997, Tucker spent 16 years at AT&T, becoming the first Latina to reach the company’s executive level. In her last assignment at the company, she served as a regional vice president for AT&T’s Global Business Communications Systems, where she led a $400 million division to its highest profit levels.[5] Prior to this, Tucker was vice president for Consumer Operations, a $370 million operation with 6,500 employees serving AT&T’s 80 million consumers. Under her leadership, this group contributed to the division’s receipt of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund[edit]

Prior to joining the Department, Tucker worked for nine years as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), where she aimed to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees. In her time at the helm of HSF, Tucker raised $280 million for scholarships, growing annual scholarships from $3 million to over $25 million, and launched community outreach programs to raise college expectations in Latino families and communities.[6] She also increased the organization’s annual budget from $3.5 million to more than $40 million, raised a landmark $50 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc,[7] and stewarded the Hispanic portion of the $1 billion Gates Millennium Scholars Program.[8]

U.S. Under Secretary of Education[edit]

Tucker was nominated for the position of U.S. Under Secretary of Education by President George W. Bush on September 5, 2006,[9] and was confirmed by the Senate on December 9, 2006. As Under Secretary, she oversaw all policies, programs and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid.

During her tenure, she developed and implemented two programs to increase access to college: a joint initiative with the U.S. Treasury Department to make nearly $70 billion in 2008-09 federal student loans available during the nation’s financial crisis, an effort described by the Wall Street Journal as “one bright spot in a season of crises and bailouts,”[10] and the website, (now, which helps students and families prepare for college.

In addition to the oversight of over $32 billion in disbursed appropriations and almost 5,600 discretionary awards, Tucker provided expert testimony before Congressional committees and special hearings, led policy discussions within the Administration and with trade associations, and led or represented the United States in international delegations.

The National Math and Science Initiative[edit]

In 2013, Tucker was elected as the Chief Executive Officer of The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI),[11] a Dallas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of student performance in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Recognition and philanthropy[edit]

In 2005, TIME Magazine named her one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America;[12] Town & Country ranked her among the young, new breed of philanthropists.[13] Tucker has also been named as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex[14] and a Distinguished Alumna at The University of Texas at Austin,[15] and she has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame,[16] Boston College[17] and the University of Maryland University College.[18]


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