Mary King Sikora has been providing operational leadership of innovative, interdisciplinary institutes at Caltech since 2001. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her MBA from Claremont Graduate University's Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management with an emphasis in Leadership and Strategy. Prior to coming to Caltech, Sikora spent 15 years as Creative Director of a freelance graphic design firm producing marketing materials for small to medium-sized businesses.
During her time at The Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Sikora was responsible for planning and executing three TEDxCaltech events, with an average of 1,200 attendees, which included coordination of forty speakers and performers; leadership of the planning committee; oversight for audience experience, outside activities, 100+ volunteers, and the look and feel for the event. Talks from these events have garnered more than ten million views. The inaugural TEDxCaltech event "Feynman's Vision: The Next 50 Years" took a look at what has happened in the field of nanotechnology since Richard Feynman's infamous 1959 talk There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom. TEDxCaltech "The Brain" included talks from the T&C Chen Institute's Director, David Anderson, as well as from current center directors Ralph Adolphs, Colin Camerer, Viviana Gradinaru, and Richard Andersen.
Sikora's interest in neuroscience began when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Watching his decline fueled a desire to help advance research in understanding the brain so that scientific breakthroughs could help future generations with dementia and other brain afflictions.