Conference Cameo: Archie Pitsilides

#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. 
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Who: Archie Pitsilides, Director, Grants & Outreach
Where: Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business
Number of years in research development: 11
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? Istanbul, Turkey: People, Culture, Food!

I came to work in the research development field as a third profession. Prior to commencing my career in academia, I held a variety of management positions in the archie headshot (2)hospitality industry, followed by directing customs brokerage services for U.S. importers.  In the early part of the millennium, I returned to the university as a non-traditional student to earn an MBA and an M.A. in Spanish, in part because my spouse accepted a tenure-track position at Texas Tech University. As I was contemplating the next chapter in my professional career, a position was serendipitously announced – as a research associate for a Department of Education-funded program that was working to internationalize curriculum to serve faculty, students, and the U.S. trade community.  This position merged my newly acquired academic skill set with my business experience in international trade. From there, I was hooked. I was fortunate to have a great faculty mentor who took the time to introduce me to and help me navigate both the research and funding environments, while the college supported my professional development through attendance at various grant writing and research workshops. As the Rawls College enhanced its focus on the importance of obtaining grant funding, I was promoted to my current position of Director of Grants and Outreach.

As a grants director, I work to develop and secure funding opportunities for both faculty and students in the areas of business education, research and program development. I provide life-cycle services that include curating opportunities that align with the unique interests of business faculty, proposal editorship, budget development, and pre- and post-award management. In the past few years, the college has made a commitment to supporting interdisciplinary research in an effort to incentivize faculty and enhance the collaborative research environment across the university. This emphasis on collaboration has enabled me to work with a diverse group of investigators and teams from our colleges of education, engineering, media and communications, and visual and performing arts. As with all funding efforts, some proposal teams met with great successes while others had some tough defeats.  Alas, such is the life in the dynamic world of RD.

Inasmuch as last year was the first time I attended the conference, I can honestly say I was genuinely impressed with both the variety and caliber of the conference session offerings. While I often self-selected into the break-outs that paralleled my interests, I did consciously make it a point to discover insights on at least one new area of research. More specifically, I chose to attend a session which focused on early stage investigators in biomedical sciences. This session allowed me to gain a different perspective on mentoring and training early career faculty and provided me with some ideas how to engage program officers to their benefit. To that, end, my insider tip is to make room in your personal agenda to take advantage of the Ideas Showcase which is scheduled on Tuesday, April 30, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm. If you ever wondered how other institutions pilot programs, achieve results, translate research, or enhance collaboration, do not miss this opportunity to discover a plethora of strategies, processes and people. You will come away with new tools or at least a new way of looking at an old challenge. Finally, enjoy the camaraderie of your peers and make new friends!

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For more information about the conference program, 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.

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