Tara Jo Holmberg earned her undergraduate degree in 1997 in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Wisconsin – Superior while doing research on the coral reefs of Cozumel, Mexico for the Mexican government.
She graduated in 2000 with her MA in Marine Science from the University of Texas – Austin, where she spent a great deal of time at sea, working to gather a baseline survey for many of the deep water coral reefs that exist approximate 200 miles off of the coast of Mississippi. This work was used after the BP/Transocean oil spill to help understand what impacts that disaster had on the region’s ocean life.
Tara Jo taught math and science to 7th graders in an under-resourced urban district in Phoenix, AZ from 2000-2002 through the Teach for America program and earned a M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University.
In 2002, having developed a passion for teaching, she headed back north to teach in the sciences at Northwestern Connecticut Community College and develop/expand the Environmental Science and Natural Resources programs. In her time at NCCC, she has tripled enrollments in these programs and increased the breadth of student transfer opportunities. She currently teaches Environmental Science, Ecology, Botany, Earth Science, General Biology, and The Human Body.
Tara Jo is chair of the Sustainability Committee on campus to hold educational expos and documentary screenings, received grants and community support for rain and buffer gardens throughout campus, and is currently working on a very large streamside buffer project for the Still River which runs through campus.
Other committees include Community Engagement (Chair), Professional Development (Chair), and Budget and Facilities.
She has received the 2014 National Association of Biology Teachers' 2-year Biology Teacher of the Year Award, the NISOD Educational Excellence Award (2012), and was awarded the Northwest Conservation District’s Educator of the Year award in 2009. She has been nominated twice for the Connecticut Innovative Program Award.
Currently living in Winsted, Tara Jo is on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Conservation District, the Torrington Conservation Commission, the Alcoa-Howmet Community Advisory Board, and a founding member and treasurer of the Winsted Farmers Market.”