Conference Cameo: Jennifer Schaefer

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

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Who: Jennifer Schaefer, Research Concierge Administrator
Where: Penn State College of Medicine
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 4 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4
How do you unwind? Spend time with my dog & horse

My journey to a career in Research Development could best be described as unconventional. After earning my Master’s degree in Geography, I spent the better part Jennifer Schaefer_DSC8703of 18 years in private consulting,  working my way up the career ladder with a Pennsylvania-based firm that specializes in community planning and funding strategies. As a senior associate, I supported a wide variety of projects for clients in both the public and private sectors, doing everything from writing grant proposals and drafting support letters to facilitating focus groups and briefing elected officials. A significant focus of the firm’s work was the development and implementation of public funding strategies – a government relations function that required direct engagement with local communities, strong relationships with state and federal legislative delegations, and a working knowledge of the federal appropriations and state budget processes. As a project manager, I was frequently responsible for managing client communications, developing congressional briefing documents, and project white papers. I enjoyed the challenges of my work, but after 18 years in consulting, I was looking for a  career opportunity that would allow me to grow in new directions.

In Summer 2013, I came across a job posting for a Research Concierge Administrator at the Penn State College of Medicine. The position was established to strengthen the research support infrastructure for investigators at the College of Medicine and would work closely with the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Penn State CTSI). Because the Research Concierge Service (RCS) was a newly created unit in the Office of the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, I would have an opportunity to build the unit from the ground-up, working in partnership with the Director of Research Development. The position has afforded me the opportunity to leverage the skills I amassed in private consulting and presented me with new learning opportunities. At its core, the Research Concierge Administrator serves as a physical and virtual coordinating hub for research support services at the College of Medicine. As a service of Research Development, I work closely with a variety of key stakeholders to connect investigators to potential research collaborators, to help build research teams, to strengthen grantsmanship skills, to maintain web-based resources through the Research Concierge Service website, to promote the field of interdisciplinary research by organizing seminars and talks, and to serve as a project manager for strategic initiatives. At first glance, it might seem that my previous work experience is incongruous to my current role. But I have found that, in many ways, the skills I amassed in private consulting were invaluable preparation for my current role.

I attended my first NORDP conference in Spring 2015 and have continued attending NORDP conferences since that time. NORDP conferences are a great place to network with peers from a diversity of institutions. This broad exposure to professional colleagues is a value-added of NORDP conferences. If you are attending the conference with other team members from your institution, I recommend you review the conference schedule as a team to determine which sessions each of you will attend. To achieve the greatest return on investment, “divide and conquer” by spreading team members across the conference schedule. If you are attending the NORDP conference as your organization’s sole representative, review the conference schedule with your team members to identify key questions you will keep in your back pocket for presenters. Whether flying solo or attending the conference with co-workers, remember to step out of your comfort zone — introduce yourself to someone new. We all find comfort in the familiar, but it is often when we step outside of our comfort zone that growth happens.

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Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Conference Cameo: Susan Gomes

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

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Who: Susan Gomes, Director of Research Development and Strategy
Where: Harvard University
Number of years in research development: 20
Length of NORDP membership: 8 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 8
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? I lived in Costa Rica for six months as a graduate student doing field research.

I’ve been in the research development field for nearly 20 years and had the good fortuneGomes_Portraits087(WEB) to work in both public and private research universities and at the department, central, and school level. Starting out at the department level working with faculty in a large research center was wonderful training for my later work in a central office—it made me very aware of the challenges department colleagues face and the value of their contributions. In the central office position, I supported proposal development efforts across the University for large scale grants and individual investigator grants, and developed programming and resources for new faculty. During my time in that position we were successful in increasing our annual research volume from $60M annually to $100M with no additional resources. We also received an EPSCoR grant to build our state’s research infrastructure. In 2010, I was offered an opportunity to build a new research development office at Harvard University in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. With the help of wonderful colleagues and an incredibly talented team, we built a new office. We have since expanded our team to serve our engineering school as well.

The colleagues I have met through NORDP and the programming at the conferences have been an essential part of my professional development. I attribute my success, in part, to the wonderful group of NORDP colleagues I have cultivated over the years. I have attended all of the NORDP annual conferences with the exception of the very first annual meeting in 2008. When I interviewed for my current position, I mentioned that I was a NORDP member and that I would be able to leverage my relationships and the expertise of a strong national network of colleagues across the country.

I encourage any new NORDP attendees to take full advantage of all of the opportunities for networking at the conference and to build new relationships with colleagues as well as new knowledge of your profession. For me, the best part of the organization has been the relationships I have built and the opportunity to learn from my colleagues.  I have also enjoyed the opportunity to share best practices and ideas with colleagues in informal settings at the conference, over coffee or dinner. I look forward to this year’s conference and to connecting with colleagues, both new and old.

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Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Conference Cameo: Michael Jacobson

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

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Who: Michael Jacobson, Research Development Specialist
Where: Binghamton University
Number of years in research development: 2
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Archaeologist

My transition to research development began before starting my current role as a research development specialist. For about 12 years, I worked as a contract archaeologist for a university-based cultural resource management firm. In the beginning, my position mostly involved fieldwork, research and travel across New York State and the Northeast. However, as I progressed in the field, my role included more grant writing and contract development. In a sense, I was already serving as a research development specialist. This made my transition to research development relatively simple.Jacobson - Conference Cameo 2019

Our Office of Strategic Research Initiatives at Binghamton University focuses on preparing proposals for large interdisciplinary teams. This involves more than just grant writing. We are often called on to be facilitators by helping with faculty training and team building. My background in anthropology is an asset in working with faculty across campus and in different disciplines. Acknowledging that different disciplines have their own practices and working with these various perspectives in their own terms helps with facilitating research teams for large proposals. My research background also made me appreciate the value of public engagement with research. I try to continue this interest by advising our faculty on developing plans for broader impacts and public engagement resulting from their research.

Last year was my first time at a NORDP conference and it was nice to see that there was a large community of people dealing with the same issues. The NORDP membership is more than willing to share their best practices and solutions to the issues we face in research development. I brought back a number of ideas from last year’s conference for discussion at our university. These include expanding partnerships with campus libraries for help with proposal development and developing retreats with interdisciplinary teams to improve collaboration and proposal development. One specific example inspired me to expand our NSF CAREER faculty training from one annual workshop to a workshop series that went into more detail on proposal writing and broader impacts.  The keynote addresses identifying funding agency priorities and trends within scientific research were also valuable.

My suggestion for attending the conference would be to be open, present, and engaged, but also be sure to get in line early for the events.

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Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Conference Spotlight: Two-Hour Sessions

For the first time, the annual NORDP conference will offer a full day of long-form content that includes 2-hour sessions, in addition to our regular 4-hour workshops. Two-hour sessions will allow a deeper dive into topics of interest and more interaction between facilitators and attendees. These courses will be held from 10 am to 5:30 pm on Monday, April 29; the full listing is posted online here.

To highlight a few options:

Writing and Editing for Impact
Presenters: Alan Paul, Giant Angstrom Partners; Joanna Downer, Duke University

The quality of presentation—i.e., whether our writing and graphics are effective—is a key factor in the impact of a proposal. Effective proposals meet the needs of both author and audience and tell a story that convinces reviewers to fund the project. This two-hour workshop will teach RD professionals how to recognize effective writing and presentation for grant applications, how to incorporate approaches to effective writing de novo, and how to deploy techniques for effective editing and guidance.

Understanding the Faculty Lifecycle
Presenters: Anne Windham, Brown University; Kimberly Mowry, Brown University Faculty; Judith Bender, Brown University Faculty; Erica Larschan, Brown University Faculty

Faculty are subject to many competing demands over the course of their careers—tenure review, family commitments, sabbatic leave and teaching obligations are just some of these. The RD professional must think strategically about how and when to communicate and offer support and opportunities, keeping in mind that research funding is one important element in an academic’s career.

This is a Test: Adapting NRMN’s Maintaining Effective Communication Module to the RD Profession
Presenters: Erica Severan-Webb, Xavier University of Louisiana; Paula Carney, University of Chicago; Kathryn Partlow, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Etta Ward, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

This team is working to adapt the National Research Mentoring Network curriculum to become specific to research development professionals. RD people can then access the NRMN curriculum for their campuses. The NRMN curriculum spans undergraduate through junior faculty across the biomedical sciences and beyond.

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Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

#NORDP2019 will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Cameo: Hilda McMackin

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

Who: Hilda McMackin, Director of Research Development and Support
Where: Vanderbilt University
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A psychic. I was inspired by Commander Deanna Troi from Star Trek.

McMackin2I was involved in research development before I knew it was a field.  I worked as a lab manager in my first job after getting my PhD and found out about research administration from an internal training program.  After looking for positions in research administration, I was recruited into the School of Engineering to work on an NSF Engineering Research Center proposal and then became the grants manager in the largest engineering research institute on campus.  I heard about research development when a new Vice Provost for Research started at Vanderbilt and was hiring for a position to start a dedicated research development program at Vanderbilt.  I was immediately hooked when I heard of the opportunity, and my grants management experience with large proposals luckily made me a strong candidate.

I am the Director of Research Development and Support, and I founded this office at Vanderbilt, growing from a staff of 1 to 5 people.  My office oversees some services that support research compliance (export controls) in addition to research development.  Our research development programs focus on proposal support for strategic opportunities, managing limited submission opportunities, relationship building with sponsors, and providing workshops for faculty to learn best practices for seeking funding or applying to certain agencies.  We focus specifically on federal agencies and cover all 10 schools and colleges at Vanderbilt, including arts & sciences, engineering, basic sciences, education, and nursing.

I joined the Mentoring Committee at my first NORDP conference without ever having participated in the mentoring program.  It has been a great way to connect with more of the RD community as well as hone some professional development skills.  I presented my first webinar with them last summer and will be co-presenting some sessions at this year’s conference.

At my first NORDP conference I was taken aback by how welcoming the NORDP community is compared to other professional conferences I’ve attended.  I recommend identifying a few people that do work you’re interested in or have experience that you want to learn more about.  Take note of who is presenting sessions that spark interest in you and make a point of connecting with them at the networking events.  I attended a workshop my first conference and ended up seeking out one of the presenters that I was particularly impressed by.  I followed up with her after the conference and asked if she’d mentor me and this past year we participated in the mentoring program as a self-matched pair.  Never be afraid to advocate for yourself!


Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Welcome to NORDP’s Conference Career Center

conference-2019

Did you know that NORDP will host its first Conference Career Center during the 2019 Annual Research Development Conference? If you searching for the best Research Development professionals, we recommend you complete the 2019 Employer Career Center Application on or before April 8, 2019. This is your opportunity to:

  • Gain access to an exceptional, talented and skilled pool of research development professionals.
  • Get a head start on your recruitment/hiring efforts for new staff in 2019, i.e., spring, summer, or fall.
  • Conduct onsite interviews during the conference and meet with many qualified applicants.

Our conference planning team will provide you with access to potential applicants and assist you with scheduling onsite interviews. And there is no cost to list a position for NORDP members!

Job Seekers/Applicants – You can explore Career Center opportunities HERE. Watch for updates as we approach the conference. For more information or questions, please email administrator@nordp.org.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Cameo: Lisa Youngentob

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

Who: Lisa Youngentob, Director-Research Development
Where: University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, TN
Number of years in research development: 3.5 years
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1

I worked in the lab as a lab manager for 30 years at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. I left the lab and moved to administration when I relocated to UTHSC to become the director of the newly created Office of Research Development.

youngentob2The biggest part of my job is managing our ever-growing collaborative seed grant program (CORNET Awards), which stimulates innovative, interdisciplinary, team-based research. In 2016, we started with a cross-college collaborative, and from there, the CORNETs have grown to include collaborations between regional universities, the UT system, industry, and international universities. We have run competitions focused on cancer, health disparities, regenerative medicine, and substance abuse, to name a few. This program is very competitive and incredibly popular with the faculty here at UTHSC. My office of two also runs all of the limited submission competitions and two internal bridge funding mechanisms, provides funding opportunities to our faculty, and organizes on and off-campus symposiums and workshops.

Last year was my first year attending the NORDP conference, and I was overwhelmed by the collaborative nature of the members! Everybody was incredibly helpful, ready to offer advice, ideas, templates, you name it! I’ve been to a lot of scientific conferences over the years, but this conference had a very different feel…so welcoming…the camaraderie was palpable.

I found creating a schedule was absolutely necessary to get the most out of the conference.  I was busy from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the conference! I also printed out the cameos of highlighted NORDP members that were doing work similar to mine and sought them out at the conference. I especially enjoyed the poster session, where you could pick up a lot of information in small, manageable bites. My best advice is don’t be shy, take full advantage of everything the conference has to offer, and network, network, network!


Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Conference Cameo: Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.
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Who: Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni, Director of Strategic Research Initiatives
Where: University of Oregon
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? For our honeymoon, my spouse and I stayed at an old fort in Madya Pradesh, India, that was converted into a hotel. It was on a river, and we spent our days people-watching on beautiful ghats.

Like many of my peers, I essentially “fell into” research development. I initially pursued a traditional academic route and completed a Master’s in Food Studies from NYU with the intention of working for a few years before applying for a PhD program in anthropology or sociology. I worked for a small non-profit that supported refugee and immigrant farmers for a few years, and discovered that I wanted to ask questions about food studies through a more applied focus, rather than strictly academic. I enrolled in Boston University’s Masters in Public Health program and began working in the proposal development office at BU’s medical school; I  found that my career path and training prepared me well to support faculty with their grant submissions. I could manage multiple projects simultaneously and communicate effectively for a variety of audiences. I found that I enjoyed being able to help faculty across disciplines articulate their research ideas, rather than pursue one specific line of research myself. Kate-Petcosky-Kulkarni-Square

After two years, due to the support of a fantastic boss and mentor, I became Director of the Office of Proposal Development. Our team largely managed traditional pre-award functions, but I recognized the need to help our faculty learn how to navigate the research enterprise and be strategic in their approach to seeking external funding. I discovered NORDP in 2018 when I was researching best practices in early career faculty training. The conference was fantastic—much more personal and engaging than the research administration workshops I had attended in the past. I left the conference invigorated with new ideas for supporting our faculty. Indeed, had I not attended the NORDP conference, I would not have had the confidence to apply for my current position as Director of Strategic Research Initiatives at University of Oregon.

I joined UO this October to launch the Office of Research Development, which was in the middle of a major staffing transition. The office had been unstaffed for 4 months and I was brought on to build the team from the ground up. It’s an incredible opportunity and I look to NORDP for support and ideas on a regular basis. The listserv is beyond helpful and the NORDP community is smart, engaging, and supportive.

I am very much looking forward to this year’s conference and the opportunity to connect in person with many of my peers who have provided insight and guidance to me by e-mail or by phone. My new role involves operations that I did not previously coordinate at BU, such as managing internal awards and facilitating limited submissions. I am eager to learn how my peers approach this work and how they evaluate these activities. As my office moves in a new direction, I need to demonstrate efficacy in our approach, so I will be having many conversations about metrics and evaluation.

I am thrilled to be a part of the NORDP community, and I cannot wait to attend the 2019 conference!

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Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Conference Program Now Posted!

The NORDP 2019 conference program is now available HERE.

Monday, April 29, will kick off with our keynote speaker, Brown University President Christina Paxson, and continue as our long-format day, with 2-hour and 4-hour sessions running from 10 am until 5:30 pm. Seven Concurrent Breakout Sessions will be spread over Tuesday and Wednesday, consisting of 1-hour presentations, roundtables, and lightning rounds.  Our ever-popular Ideas Showcase will take place Tuesday evening, with dozens of informative posters, a meet-and-greet with Board candidates and tons of networking opportunities. Check out the offerings and start planning the attendance strategy that meets your interests and needs.

For logistical purposes, please note that Committee Meetings will take place Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm. At 4:30 pm, attendees can participate in a Mentoring Meet-up, New Member & First-Time Attendees Orientation, or PUI Affinity Group meeting, followed by the Welcome Reception, 5:30-7 pm.

If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so HERE. Take advantage of the Early Bird rates ($640 for members) until March 15.

We’ll be sharing more details about speakers, workshops, and things to do in Providence over the next two months. Stay tuned!

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Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

Participate in the NORDP Career Center. All hiring manager/recruiters should complete the 2019 Employer Career Center Application by March 8.

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Tool: Venmo

venmo-logo-and-textAs we move headlong into a cashless society, apps like Venmo stand in for paper money. Venmo is a smartphone app that enables you to send money to anyone else with a Venmo account, and it works regardless of smartphone device (i.e., no Apple v. Android confusion). The app uses encryption to securely connect to your bank, so you can draw money right from your checking account, like a debit card, or accept money from someone to deposit in your account. There’s no need to have cash on hand, and no waiting time, like with personal checks.

How will this work for you at the conference? One of the most fun and worthwhile activities we coordinate are nightly Networking Dinners. While 8-10 dinner pals might make for lively conversation, it’s often a headache for servers to split checks accurately (and some restaurants may refuse to split them at all). In this case, a single payer could be reimbursed instantly with Venmo.

We also are planning to use Venmo for members to buy NORDP products onsite–our online store will offer limited stock (and some special items) at the conference, and Venmo will be one way to make a purchase.

How do you get it? Download the app on your phone. Create an account (add a photo to make it easier for friends to identify you).  Connect the account to your bank (the app will walk you through). Use “Search People” to find your friends. It’s fairly self-explanatory from there (select “Pay or Request” and enter how much), but Mashable has a great Venmo beginner’s guide with screenshots here.

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Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.