NORDP 2018 Conference Cameo: Page Sorensen

#NORDP2018 starts Monday, May 7 in Arlington, VA. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here:

Who: Page Sorensen, Research Development Specialist
Where: University of California San Francisco
Number of years in research development: 2
Length of NORDP membership: 2
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
How do you unwind? Spending time outside

I officially became a Research Development Specialist in the University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) RD Office in March of 2016, but as have many others, I practiced research development before Headshot 3_cropped[1].png

In 2015 I was a program manager for a UCSF research center and I approached the Executive Director of the RDO, Dr. Gretchen Kiser, to help me plan a team science event for the center. She gave me lots of helpful advice and, as I left our meeting, she said, “you know, what you do is really research development, you should check out NORDP.” This was the first time I’d heard of the field. As I browsed the NORDP website later, I realized Gretchen was right, and I was excited to finally have a single term to describe my mélange of skills and job duties. Some time after this initial conversation, I was happy to join Gretchen in the RDO. I now work on large grant development and also manage the Team Science Program.

I joined NORDP in 2016 and this year will be my third conference. The conference is an IRL experience of the feeling I had upon first browsing NORDP’s virtual community. It’s comforting and fun to be among a group who understand what I do and who can advise and sympathize. Until two years ago, I often felt confused and anxious about how to bring my diverse skills to bear in a “real” career. Participating in the conference is like a deep breath that carries that fear away because I’m surrounded by successful professionals who have similar skills and experience.

In addition to the community, I very much enjoy the inspiration and learning that I get from the conference. I’ve attended a pre-conference workshop that bolstered my confidence and skill in working with diverse teams, I’ve learned how to lead without authority, how to write great abstracts, and much more. It’s pretty amazing to spend three days just absorbing highly specific technical knowledge and meeting exceptionally talented peers.

This year I’m especially looking forward to leading my first NORDP panel. Selfishly, I organized the panel so that I can learn what other RD people do to bring teams together and help them stay together. Shameless plug: if you do this, please come to the session and tell me about it!

My advice for new conference attendees is to use the mobile app to plan your daily agenda before you get to the conference. There are so many talks to choose from that taking the time to read all the abstracts and make a plan before arriving will ensure that you don’t miss the talks that are most relevant to you.

See you in DC!


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.  For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2018 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

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