NORDP 2018 Election Results

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June 19, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I want to thank the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Nathan Meier (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and the 2018 Nominating Committee: Jan Abramson (University of Utah), Rachel Goff-Albritton (Florida State University), Jeri Hansen (Utah State University), Mady Hymowitz (University of Western Ontario), Augusta Isley (Ball State University), Kim Patten (University of Arizona), Barbara Walker (UC-Santa Barbara), for their work soliciting and evaluating applications and nominations for this year’s Board of Directors election. Further, we appreciate their liaising with NORDP’s election provider, Survey & Ballot Systems, to communicate the 2018 election results which were ratified by the Board of Directors on June 12, 2018.

We are pleased to welcome three new members and one returning member who will serve a 4-year term (2018-2022) beginning July 1, 2018:

  • Kimberly Eck, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Jill Jividen, University of Michigan Medical School
  • Paul Tuttle, North Carolina A&T State University
  • Etta Ward, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Congratulations to the new Board members and thank you to all the candidates for their participation.

We look forward to your leadership, energy and ideas as we strive to meet NORDP’s mission to support a robust national and international peer network of RD professionals whose broad goals include enabling competitive individual and team research, enhancing institutional competitiveness and catalyzing new research and institutional collaborations thereby facilitating research excellence.


Karen Eck
Vice President/President-Elect 2017-2018

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.

The Transition from Postdoc to Research Development: Samarpita Sengupta

The following is part of a limited blog series from the Strategic Alliances Committee highlighting NORDP members who have transitioned from postdoctoral positions to careers in research development.

senguptaSamarpita Sengupta, Scientific Research Writer, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Describe your work in research development (RD): In 2015, I became the Scientific Research Writer in the newly created Neuroscience Research Development (NeRD) Office in the Department of Neurology and Neurotherpeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. I help PIs, fellows, clinical and basic science researchers, and nurses maneuver the grant application process. I help with funding identification, idea generation, proposal development, document generation, and grant submission to funding agencies. I also contribute to the process of creation of manuscripts and their submission to peer reviewed journals. I work with PIs in the department as well as its affiliated centers such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the Neuroscience Nursing Research Center. I am the Director of the NeRD-Associate in training (NeAT) program, Co-director of the faculty professional development series, member of the neurology research committee, and Director of the manuscript workshop at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Describe your postdoc work: My first postdoctoral work was in the Departments of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. I worked on identifying novel pathway components of the pheromone sensing pathway using Drosophila as a model system and a large scale forward genetic screen and electrophysiology. After my postdoc mentor ran out of funding, I did a second shorter postdoc in the Department of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Here, I worked on understanding the signaling mechanisms in the antiphospholipid syndrome that result in pregnancy complications and miscarriages. Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes vascular thrombosis and pregnancy loss. I also worked on applying a novel method to specifically label in vivo and study the transcriptome of endothelial cells. Further, I worked on understanding the mechanism of diabetic complications in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Describe your transition from postdoc/research background to RD: During my first postdoc, I realized my scientific passions were beyond the bench. I discovered an interest in scientific writing and started actively networking for science writing jobs. I had an informational interview with Charlene Supnet, PhD, current director of the NeRD Office. I inquired about her job and it struck me as something I would like to do. I kept in touch with her, and several months after the initial informational interview (during which time I transitioned to another postdoc position), she contacted me after a position opened up in her newly established NeRD office. After an interview with her, the Research Programs Manger of Neurology, and three faculty members in the department, I was hired for the position.

Describe the benefits your postdoc work provides to your skill set related to RD: This job requires me to understand both the scientific and administrative components of a grant proposal development and submission. Being a scientist and having a PhD helps me understand the science. I also wrote research grants and edited my PI’s grants while in grad school and as a postdoc. This experience helps me with constructively critiquing the proposal from an outsider’s point of view, while still being knowledgeable about the science. Having been an active member of the Graduate Student Organization and the Quest for Career group at UT Southwestern gave me extensive experience on managing projects and people. I attained several transferrable skills such as project management, effective time management, leadership, communication skills, ability to speak different “languages” and so on during graduate and postdoc training.

What words of wisdom do you have for postdocs who might consider a career in RD?

  • Find an RD professional in your area; a list can be found on the NORDP website (
  • Set up an informational interview. RD is a complex field, with several job titles and descriptions. You might find something you like once you talk to people about it!
  • Tons of other resources on NORDP website (, the NORDP job board, and the NORDP blog.
  • Grant writing workshops can double as career planning sessions for interested postdocs, graduate students. Attend or organize those; local RD professionals can help!
  • Consider doing an internship/shadowing RD personnel to gain expertise. We offer a four-week training program to give people a glimpse of RD as a career.

What has been your best experience, so far, with your work in RD? I love the satisfaction of being in academia and having a pulse on the latest scientific discoveries, being part of scientific teams, of the idea creation and development portions. I love to teach people about how to write, guide them through a grant/manuscript writing process, and help make it less daunting for newbies. I love the freedom to create my own job description, finding areas of improvement and improving them. I love the satisfaction of project completion and that this job provides me the opportunity to have a healthy work-life balance.

Why do you think RD is a good career choice? RD makes good use of transferrable skills. You get to be actively engaged in the scientific process, ensuring funding for cutting-edge research, building competitive teams, and having a finger on the scientific pulse of the institution. The best RD professionals are master jugglers of scientific fields and carry a strong understanding of the scientific method. Therefore, they can easily take on the role of a central resource within an institution and assist faculty with a very diverse set of interests. An increasing number of institutions, ranging in size and expertise are creating offices of research and looking for people with scientific training to fill positions within these offices.

What other insights might be relevant to postdocs considering an RD career? RD as a career is often overlooked, but there is a large need for it. However, from conducting the NeAT program, we have found that not everyone has the aptitude to have a career in RD. It is a “service” industry and has the usual pitfalls of such an industry. However, it is not a job; it is a career.

Posted on behalf of the Strategic Alliances Committee committee

NORDP 2018 Rising Star Cameo: Kay Tindle

Kay Tindle is one of three NORDP members to receive the 2018 Rising Star Award for outstanding volunteer contributions to NORDP. We honor Kay in the cameo below:

Who: Dr. Kay J. Tindle, Managing Director of Research Development
Where: Texas Tech University
Number of years in research development: 8
Length of NORDP membership: 5

What recommendations do you have for members to get more involved with NORDP?Kayla Tindle

I often hear folks talk about reasons not to get involved in professional organizations such as demands of their current job or no time to do something extra.

I have also heard someone say, “You don’t get involved for the job you have, you get involved for the job you want to have.” I believe this and I encourage members to join a working group or committee, volunteer at the conference, host a webinar, give a workshop, or become a mentor or mentee. Your professional development and the connections made can benefit your future career.

If you are unsure of how to get involved contact me at or any of our committee chairs or co-chairs.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

Being involved has been incredibly rewarding as a result of a variety of experiences including mentoring, development of friendships, commiserating on shared struggles, encouragement, and the ability to talk through sensitive issues. I’ve learned a great deal from the connections I’ve made through NORDP.

It has also helped me navigate my own career with resources like the conference, listserv, and conversations with colleagues across the nation. I’ve gained a great deal of confidence over the years using resources like the salary survey/COL index which helped me negotiate a raise and higher title. This is a great tool for anyone going into a job interview providing external validation when discussing salary.

I am honored to be able to give back to an organization that has given me so much.

How did you hear about NORDP and what made you join initially?

I actually learned about NORDP in the offer letter for my first Research Development position. It was explicitly stated that I was expected to join for my professional development! My deeper involvement began at the behest of Peggy Sundermeyer when she asked me to chair the Southwest Regional meeting at the 2015 conference. Things progressed and I now co-chair the Member Services Committee. Thanks Peggy!

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

I have developed numerous levels of relationships over the past five years.  These range from individuals I see every year at the conference to closer connections with whom I am in regular contact over the phone and email throughout the year.

I am also serving as a mentor this year to two mentees who are very nascent to Research Development. I am excited to work with them both in the coming year as well as learn about their respective institutions.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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.

NORDP 2018 Rising Star Cameo: Nathan Meier

Nathan Meier is one of three NORDP members to receive the 2018 Rising Star Award for outstanding volunteer contributions to NORDP. We honor Nathan in the cameo below.

Who: Nathan Meier, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Research
Where: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Number of years in research development: 15
Length of NORDP membership: 7 years

What recommendations do you have for members to get more involved with NORDP?N Meier

My advice is to dive in! Attend the annual conference. Look for a committee to join, or reach out to a board member or committee chair and have a conversation. This will offer a great opportunity to learn how NORDP works, see how you might contribute, and allow you to extend your network by interacting with colleagues from around the globe. Don’t be shy. You won’t regret it!

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

My involvement has provided a litmus test of sorts for me as a research development professional and for the work we do in research development at Nebraska. It has shown me how we compare to other institutions and how we can improve by learning about what other members are doing. NORDP is a great crucible for collecting and mixing all types of perspectives, experiences, and institutions. This provides a sort of professional smorgasbord of strategies and approaches from which members may select and use to up their RD game.

How did you hear about NORDP and what made you join initially?

I became aware of NORDP early on when my supervisor was contacted about the initial meeting from which the organization was formed. I joined the listserv and saw its value to my work. Membership soon followed along with attending the annual conference.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

NORDP helps you learn who your colleagues are nationally – and meet them. I have built a national network of peers to consult with who offer objective insights and perspectives. If I have an issue that I cannot resolve locally, there are folks within the NORDP network always willing to provide ideas and share or brainstorm solutions. I began my service on the conference marketing committee, which led to joining the nominating committee, which I currently chair. Over the years, I have been the recipient of unexpected mentoring and developed numerous friendships along the way.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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.

NORDP Mentoring Program Webinar Series

Based on feedback from last year’s program participants, the Mentoring Committee has developed a series of webinars to support mentors/mentees/peer mentors when using the OnBoarding Packet, or individual tools in the packet. These webinars are open to the entire NORDP community, regardless of current participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program. Join us for one or all, and committee members will share tips as to how to use the tool, strategies for success, and other best practices. Registration links and descriptions for the first two webinars are below, as well as times and titles for the whole series:

Date Topic Length
June 13, 1:00 pm EST Getting your Mentoring Relationship off to a Strong Start 60 minutes
June 20, 1:00 pm EST The Initial Conversation Guide for Mentor Pairs: Getting Ready, Getting Started, Getting Results 45 minutes
June 27, 1:00 pm EST Self-Assessment Worksheet: Capitalizing on Strengths and Targeting Areas of Growth for Professional Development 45 minutes
July 11, 1:00 pm EST My MESHH Network: Developing Your Own Personalized Mentoring Network to Achieve Your Goals 45 minutes
July 18, 1:00 pm EST The NORDP Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP): Your Personalized Map for Success 45 minutes


Getting your Mentoring Relationship off to a Strong Start (June 13)

You are a mentor, a mentee, a peer or a near peer mentor. You might just be beginning to form a new relationship as a participant in the NORDP Mentoring Program, or are otherwise engaged in a mentoring relationship. This initial session in the NORDP Mentoring Program OnBoarding Packet Webinar Series will introduce participants to the OnBoarding Packet resources that are available to all NORDP members.

The webinar will provide an overview of mentoring within NORDP and provide tips and techniques for getting off to a strong start. The information that will be shared can be applied to any mentoring relationship, and at any stage. Attendees will have opportunities to ask questions, and provide input.

Following this introductory session, four targeted webinars will be delivered throughout the summer to provide a more in-depth look at each of the OnBoarding Tools: Initial Conversation Guide, Self-Assessment Worksheet, My MESHH Network and Individual Professional Development Plans. Join us for one, or for all, as you develop a strong foundation for mentoring.


Jan Abramson, MS, has worked in higher education since 1990. Throughout img_3098-jan-abramsonher career, she has been an ardent proponent of the value of mentoring. Her career began at University of Central Missouri, followed by appointments at University of Warwick and University of Birmingham (England). Returning to the US, she worked at University of Idaho before landing at University of Utah. Her early career was in student leadership development; since 2005, she has worked in the health sciences providing research and development support for the Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence, developing a research office for the College of Health, and growing a health-sciences wide emerging researcher program. In her role in a central research office, Jan is focusing on nurturing and supporting research administrators in Utah and across the country.

The Initial Conversation Guide for Mentor Pairs: Getting Ready, Getting Started, Getting Results (June 20)

Are you part of a mentor-mentee or peer-mentor pair? Whether you are just starting out or have an established mentoring relationship, this webinar will share some best practices. The OnBoarding Packet starts with the Initial Conversation for Mentor Pairs, a guide for preparing for and engaging in your first conversation. The tool has several sections and checklists that can serve as signposts: these include Getting Started, Establishing Agreements, and a Goals Worksheet and Checklist. This webinar will help you get a great start to your mentoring relationship. This tool can also be useful for those not formally paired for approaching people in your own mentoring network (MESHH) for relationship development.


David Widmer, PhD, has 17 years of research development and administrationDavid Widmerexperience at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, first as a Sr. Grants Management Specialist and currently as the Grants & Contracts (G&C) Manager of Scientific Development. In 2009, David started the G&C Funding Development Team (FDT) and has led it since 2011. A NORDP member since 2010, he has been actively involved with several working groups and committees. From 2012-2014 he served on the Membership Services Committee where he was part of the salary survey task force; since 2015 he has been a member of the NORDP Mentoring Program Committee and of the MESHH working group that developed the on-boarding packet and currently serves as Mentoring Committee co-chair. David has a Ph.D. in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Masters in Cell & Developmental Biology and the History of Medicine. David held a Fulbright Scholarship (1998-1999) and was a Fellow of the Swiss Confederation from 1999-2000.

Rachael Voas, MA, CRA, is the project manager for the Grants Hub, Office of the Vice rvphoto-300x300President for Research, at Iowa State University. In this role, Rachael leads interdisciplinary team development efforts in strategic areas and is actively involved with Team Science training initiatives. Rachael has six years of research development experience and has occasionally learned lessons the hard way, so she looks for opportunities to develop mentoring relationships to help others find an easier path and further the prowess of research development professionals.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee.

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.

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: Strategies to Grow Research at a Branch Campus

Strategies to Grow Research at a Branch Campus


  • Sian Mooney, Arizona State University
  • Susannah Gal, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Faye Farmer, Arizona State University

Thanks to our session scribe, Kara Luckey, University of Washington, Tacoma!

Key points from the session. We learned: 

  • Working in the RD space at a “branch” campus (and similar contexts) can present challenges for the RD professional and the faculty they serve stemming from feelings of isolation, distribution of power and resources, and a lack of energy for the research enterprise.
  • To meet these challenges, the presenters suggested multi-pronged approaches in three broad areas: Culture change, enhancing visibility internally and externally, and creative allocation of existing resources.
  • Presenters from ASU West Campus and Penn State-Harrisburg suggested a number of tools to move towards a culture of active research, including: Promoting and celebrating research through regular newsletters/publications and annual recognition events; creating opportunities and a ‘safe space’ for faculty to develop collaborations and a shared sense of purpose; and one-on-one encouragement to individual PIs who are well-positioned to pursue significant funding opportunities but require a ‘push.’
  • Presenters outlined a number of mechanisms to improve internal and external visibility of faculty research, including: Using consistent talking points on and off campus to emphasize faculty work and its importance to the larger university, developing relationships with key champions and allies within the branch campus, with other branch campuses, and at the primary campus; and seek out university-wide committee appointments to bring visibility and resources to research on your campus.
  • Finally, presenters encouraged branch campuses to pursue opportunities to effectively and creatively allocate resources, including: Developing a strategic plan that can be used to make the case for the needed for resources; rigorously demonstr­ate the return-on-investment of requested resources and equipment; Maximize access to existing resources and trainings offered at the main campus, and make the case to central campus staff for why they should come to the branch campus; Encourage the use of classrooms for research, especially for faculty with high teaching loads: Offer a cohort-model to train undergraduates across branch campuses to minimize the burden on individual faculty members.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

One branch campus (ASU, West Campus) saw an impressive 8-fold increase in funding revenues after several years of targeted efforts toward cultural change led by Sian Mooney that followed many of the approaches identified in the session.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

The presenters used a helpful real-time polling tool – (or – that allowed audience members to respond to questions posed during the presentations. This made for a more interactive panel than would have been likely for the last session of the conference.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?

An audience member asked about the sharing of DUNS numbers across campuses, and the implications for funding. The presenters agreed that the sharing of DUNS numbers has political importance – e.g. communicating that the campuses are part of *one* university – however, there are limitations that can be frustrating for faculty on branch campuses. In particular, faculty on branch campuses must compete internally for limited submissions, which can leave branch faculty members feeling that they are at a disadvantage.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

A large part of the cultural change achieved by the presenters from ASU West Campus and Penn State-Harrisburg was the result of encouraging faculty to think of themselves as active researchers. This was achieved through a good deal of cheerleading and deep support provided at the individual and collective level. As trust was (re-)built, faculty began to internalize their identity as active researchers, and – with targeted communication up the chain – administration at both the branch and main campuses began to take notice as well.