Jill Tarter is Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. She served as Project Scientist for NASA’s SETI program, the High Resolution Microwave Survey, and has conducted numerous observational programs at radio observatories worldwide. Since the termination of funding for NASA’s SETI program in 1993, she has served in a leadership role to secure private funding to continue the exploratory science. Her astronomical work was illustrated in Carl Sagan's 1985 novel "Contact." The character largely based on Tarter, "Ellie Arroway," was portrayed by Jodie Foster in the 1997 film version of "Contact."