2017 Conference Cameo: Peggy Sundermeyer

#NORDP2017 starts Monday, May 8 in Denver, CO. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here: http://www.nordp.org/conferences.
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Who: Peggy Sundermeyer, Director, Sponsored Research, Academic Affairs
Where: Trinity University
Number of years in research development: 10
Length of NORDP membership: 8
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 7
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? China, where I attended a traditional wedding.

Like many other research development professionals, I have a diverse background. I got started in the field when I was working for the VPR, developing materials with faculty and for faculty on the Responsible Conduct of Research, using my background in adult education and prior career as a federal employee in grants and contracting. Most of the development work was over and it was becoming less creative and very routine. The VPR asked if I would look at some of the interdisciplinary initiatives coming from the federal funding areas and think of ways we could inspire and support faculty and graduate students to start “crossing department lines,” as he put it. It wasn’t long before I learned that the large, interdisciplinary program and center grant applications overwhelmed the available resources. My faculty colleagues and I put together some ideas on how the VPR’s office could better support these large efforPhoto PSundermeyerts, and the “research development” experiment was off and running. Some of our ideas worked and others not so well, but the general concept took hold and colleges started putting together their own individuals and teams to support faculty and departmental efforts.

I’ve been involved in NORDP since the beginning. I was one of a couple dozen individuals that convened at the University of Maryland, College Park, for a 2-day meeting, almost 10 years ago. Most of us had come together as a result of a phone call from Holly Falk-Krzesinski who tracked us down from our websites. After comparing notes for a couple days, we realized that we all did essentially the same thing and collectively decided that there was an emerging profession. With Holly’s continuing guidance and energy, we self-assembled, continued to meet over the phone, started writing goals, set up a website, organized a 2nd conference in Chicago, approved a charter and doubled our membership each year for 3 years.

Being one of the “originals,” it’s great to see NORDP’s success in the professional development it offers its members and in its goal to make the organization an important partner in the arena of discovery and knowledge creation. I treasure the working relationships and friendships that I have with other NORDP’ers. They are the most talented, earnest, dedicated, creative, and energetic people I know. EVERYONE is welcoming and supportive!

If you are new to the conference, there is really no best or wrong way to participate in the conference. It’s a great balance of useful materials presented by peers, inspiring key note speakers, and lots of colleagues to share with and learn from. The IDEAs Showcase, though, is truly THE “don’t miss” event.

After the conference, I always bring back at least one idea to try out at my institution.

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We hope to see you at the 2017 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 8-10 in Denver, CO. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2017 updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at rdconf@nordp.org

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