NORDP 2018 Conference Cameo: Peg AtKisson

#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: M.S. (Peg) AtKisson
Where: AtKisson Training Group
Number of years in research development: 18
Length of NORDP membership: 9 (I think)
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 8 or 9 (I forget)
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Actor, then attorney. Now have a job requiring both skills.

I started working in research development before it had a name. I started as a contract grant writer, in part because of my PhD qualifying exam at Tufts University. The exam consisted of a mock grant proposal and defense, and one person on my committee, that person who never likes anything, said it was the best he’d ever seen. Fast forward a few years later to a meeting where my dissertation advisor’s best friend heard the associate provost for research say in a meeting that it would be great to have someone who could write well and had a broad understanding of science, which resulted in a phone call to ask, “What’s Peg doing?” Convoluted, yes? Like most people who entered early into RD, I came through a convoluted path.image003

Our office at Tufts grew organically, with success breeding more work and my eventual transition from contractor to staff, and positions being created for the contractors I’d needed to hire. We focused on large proposals, but also provided training, funding searches, support for individual faculty, larger strategy—all the things that now seem standard for RD offices, but which so many of us created individually because these were what our faculty and administrations needed from us. NORDP formed about the time I left Tufts to work for a grant training company, and I joined the following year. I wish NORDP had existed when we started doing RD work at Tufts, and I have enjoyed being a contributing member.

NORDP conferences always feel like coming home. I always learn something, and I’ve made not only great professional connections, but also good friends. RD professionals are some of the most creative, collaborative, and kind people on the planet. I always find the meeting energizing and leave with new ideas and new connections.

If you haven’t attended a NORDP conference before, be prepared for something a little different, and talk with people, talk with people, talk with people!


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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