NORDP 2018 Conference Cameo: Augusta Isley

#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: Augusta Isley, Proposal Manager
Where: Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana)
Number of years in research development: 8
Length of NORDP membership: 3
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A paleontologist

Like most, I started my career in RD completely by accident. I got ‘in’ as a website development / techie GA for our Sponsored Programs Office (now SPA). Upon graduation, I was (thankfully) hired in SPA full-time as a research information coordinator (RIC). My duties were website development, education and outreach development, managing our electronic resources, and finding funding for faculty. But really I wanted to do everything my director would allow and asked an annoying amount of questions to anyone who would answer me. Having no background in RD or sponsored projects, it was a whole new world of information! Not to mention, SPA was full of knowledgeable overachievers like myself!Augusta Wray - Sponsored Projects

After 4 years as RIC, and a second Masters degree, I was eager for more responsibility and a challenge. When a pre-award proposal manager (PM) position came open, complete with data management and software responsibilities, it was a perfect match!

In my current role as a PM, I am tasked with honing faculty research agendas, narrative & budget development, along with managing our eRA system solution(s) and reporting tasks. As expected of overachievers, I manage to get into ‘other duties’ such as outreach & education, event planning, some light IT work around the office, and community engagement. I am also the Green Funding Specialist serving the University’s Council on the Environment.

I was terrified of the leap from hands-on techie to research administration professional but have learned so much about myself personally and professionally in this role; so much more than just patience and how to craft an effective email! Every day is something new; I truly love helping faculty conceptualize their agendas into fundable project ideas and realize their goals. Icing on the cake, as a Muncie native, it’s inspiring to see the development of many meaningful and lasting collaborations between faculty, staff, students, and my hometown.

I joined NORDP and attended my first conference in 2015 after a pre-pre-award colleague at IUPUI once told me “These are my people!” After the first conference I completely understood what she meant – I was filled with a sense of belonging akin to when I first found SPA. More importantly, I returned to BSU with a renewed sense of purpose for the research development aspect of my position. I’m looking forward to that same renewal at the 2018 conference and chatting with newly found colleagues!


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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