January is National Mentoring Month

NORDP Board Member Jan Abramson was interviewed by Sarah Gluck, Editor-In-Chief of the National Research Mentoring Network Newsletter. To learn more about the National Research Mentoring Network, visit https://nrmnet.net/

NORDP offers a robust mentoring program for all interested members. Applications will be opening for mentors and mentees in early February. Be watching for more information!

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Jan Abramson

Excerpted from NRMN January 2018 Newsletter:

National Mentoring Month is a time to reflect – on past and current relationships, where they will move in the future, and how we will grow our networks throughout our careers. For both Mentors and Mentees, forming positive research relationships offers growth, not only in terms of connections and research mindsets, but personally. To recognize the significance of mentorship, several scientists and administrators have shared their scientific stories, and their thoughts.

Jan Abramson, MS, Sponsored Projects Officer at the University of Utah, shared her thoughts as an administrator. Originally working at a film company, she was told by university staff that she was good at working with students – this inspired her to pursue a graduate assistantship in Higher Education Administration and Student Leadership. Abramson was the first in her family to attend college. “For years, I worked with student leadership and really began to understand the importance of what a good mentor could do to help a person’s career, because I have had great mentors…I had someone who saw my potential… I think about who I’ve inspired to keep moving forward…paying it forward to someone else is one of the best parts [of academia]. We don’t get very far unless we reach back and pull someone up with us.”

To access the January NRMN Newsletter, use this link. If you would like to sign up for the NRMN mailing list and newsletter, use this link.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee

NORDP 2018 Plenary: Effective Communication for Research Development Professionals with Dr. Laura Lindenfeld

Effective Communication for Research Development Professionals: Building Basics with the Alda Method™

Inspired by Alan Alda’s statement that, “real listening is the willingness to let the other person change you,” this interactive session will introduce you to the Alda Method™, a sequence of improvisational theater techniques developed to help you speak more vividly and expressively about research. The Alda Method™ helps you to create common ground and use conversational language to foster more genuine connections with your audience. The techniques introduced will help you focus on listening, relating, ordering information and defining meaningful goals to make your message stick.


Skills gained will be relevant to RD professionals in the course of their own work, allowing them to better connect with diverse audiences such as groups of interdisciplinary PIs. RD professionals can also bring these concepts back to their own institutions and introduce them to other researchers and administrators.

This session will be run by Dr. Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Alda Center and professor in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis. As a communication researcher, her work draws inspiration from the idea that we can make better, more informed decisions about how we shape our collective future.

The Alan Alda Center was formally established in 2009 with support from Stony Brook University, Stony Brook School of Journalism, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and is located at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. Training methodologies are inspired by the empathy, clarity, and vivid storytelling brought to life by Alan Alda and hundreds of experts on the PBS television show Scientific American Frontiers.

Dr. Laura Lindenfeld will be the afternoon plenary speaker for the 10th Annual NORDP Research Development Conference on May 9. We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 7-9, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2018 updates.

New Member Cameo: Donn Miller-Kermani

Welcome to NORDP: Donn Miller-Kermani
Where: Florida Institute of Technology
Number of Years in Research Development: 1
Joined NORDP: 2017

What is your RD work?

profiledonnI serve as the Associate Vice President for Research Administration at the Florida Institute of Technology. Our 7 person team manages pre & post award, compliance, accounting and research development. We work with faculty at all stages of the process including brainstorming, building budgets, proposal submission, and keeping faculty focused to become more competitive. My area of focus is improving processes to become more efficient in everything from electronic workflow of proposal submissions to invoicing to help create a seamless flow through all stages of the process.

What is your professional background?

I joined the RD world about a year ago, but I have worked at FIT for thirty years in a number of settings across the university. I served as Associate Dean of the Business School, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Founding Director of the Women’s Business Center, and Assistant Director of the National Center for the Small Business Administration. I have experience on both sides of research having written numerous grants earlier in my career.

What attracted you to NORDP?

I met a number of members through my involvement with the Florida Research & Development Alliance who encouraged me to join. NORDP offered me the chance to sharpen my skill set, meet colleagues from across the country, and improve our RD services for our campus.

How will your NORDP membership enhance your own career?

The professional development available through NORDP provides a valuable set of tools that I can bring to support FIT’s Pillars of Excellence that are part of our Strategic Vision.  Earlier in my career I served as a PI and membership will help me re-engage in the field and reinforce things I have learned in my other roles on campus. NORDP allows me to see the broader picture of RD that I can bring to support both my staff and faculty here at FIT.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee