Explore Beyond The Routine

Tara Ruttley, PhD

About Tara Ruttley

Mom • Wife • Space Scientist • Neuroscientist • Engineer • Archaeologist • Entrepreneur • Inventor • Aquanaut • Science Communicator • Routine Explorer •

I help people to better adapt to any situation by teaching them the importance of trying new experiences beyond their routine. We can all be Routine Explorers.
Tara has wanted to work for the space program since she was a kid growing up in southern Louisiana. She’s worked her way up to her dream job, and has had some unique experiences along the way, but two pivotal moments mid-career made her question what else in life she was missing out on. What were her "other things"?

Tara is also a neuroscientist and knows that the brain literally changes when we have a new experience. We live in a limitless universe with seven different continents, nearly 200 different countries, more than 7 billion people, thousands of cultures, and hundreds of thousands of unique experiences, but mostly we stick to our daily routines. Yet even tiny new experiences can make us better able to adapt to change, overcome fear and adversity, and improve creativity. Why not try something new?

There are plenty of healthy reasons to try something new every day.

Tara enjoys meeting new people and learning new things, and she’s had over a decade of experience in media appearances giving light-hearted, informative, and inspirational keynotes to audiences ranging from undergraduates to career scientists and corporate professionals.

Tara has been at NASA since 2001. She holds degrees in Biology, Mechanical Engineering, Neuroscience, and Anthropology-Archaeology. She has publications ranging from engineering to neuroscience and archaeology and holds a US Utility patent.

Visit her Facebook page to interact or her YouTube playlist for examples of some of her media:


Beyond the Routine Keynote Speaker

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done? Most courageous? Most memorable? Our brains are literally rewired for the better when we try new experiences. This makes it easier for us to adapt to change and build resiliency. We are Everyday People: parents, leaders, executives, teachers, professionals, learners, introverts, and extroverts. And we all have our daily routines that work (and sometimes they just don’t!). Tara’s got stories to tell (and no, she’s never jumped out of an airplane!) and opportunities to share that will motivate you to get out and do something new, big or small, beyond your daily routine. Realize your full potential when you grow through new experiences!

Student Motivation Keynote Speaker

Tara grew up in southern Louisiana and was the first in her family to graduate college. As an undergraduate, she stumbled upon the McNair Scholar program, who took her in and motivated her to complete her graduate degrees. Now she enjoys speaking to university students who are looking for someone who can motivate them to push through the adversity, obtain that degree and land that dream career. Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year is going to come no matter what! What will that look like for you?

The Science Behind Your Industry

Science is hotter than ever these days! It’s controversial, cultural, relevant, and the basis of a functional democratic society. Did you know there’s a science behind your industry? I don’t mean economic facts and figures, I mean what happens in our brains and even our environments that influence business decisions and behaviors. Understanding concepts such as what time of day the brain makes its best decisions, or why fear is hard-wired in risk taking, helps us literally rewire our brains for best possible outcomes in different situations. There’s a science behind sleep, stress, creativity, adventure, risk-taking, love, competition, fear, and everything in between. If you know how your brain works, you can work with it!

Dr. Ruttley’s detailed bio and CV can be found here: http://www.tararuttley.com/bio

Some of Dr. Ruttley’s videos can be found here: YouTube Playlist

TedX Houston Talk on Science Communication (edited for brevity)


New opportunities are great, so please let me know what you’re thinking.

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