Who: Paul Zvonkovic, Research Manager
Where: East Carolina University
Number of years in research development: 6
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2019 will be my first one!
How do you unwind?: Long walks on trails with my dog
I spent almost 30 years working in public transportation planning for transit districts and as a consultant before getting into research development and administration at the Virginia Tech School of Education. My transportation planning work was mostly done in Oregon and Texas, but when my family moved back to the east coast I was ready to take on a new career challenge. Much of my prior planning work involved meeting the requirements of publicly funded grant projects so I already had experience in putting together projects and understanding of what sponsors are looking for when I started working on pre-award proposals.
Personally, starting research administration work for education research funding in Virginia seemed natural to me since I went to high school outside of Richmond, VA and got my undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia. I had familiarity with university faculty, having worked on publicly funded transportation project with professors, and through my wife, an academic herself, who came home one day to say, “there’s a research administration position open in the School of Education – you would be good at doing this and you would enjoy it” She was right. I found that I had the technical skills and Virginia Tech offered a comprehensive research administration training program that got me up to speed. I am grateful for VT’s investment in me and the professionalism in their Office of Sponsored Programs. I enjoy the challenge of not only putting together the technical components of budgets, timelines, and other requirements, but also acting as go between for proposers, our university sponsored program officers, and grantor program officers. I have found that I am able to bring together these folks with diverse perspectives in a way to will meet requirements (especially proposal due dates!) and make a convincing case for funding.
My training at Virginia Tech served me well, when after 5 years, I made the move to East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. I have always had friends in North Carolina, despite the old ACC rivalries from my college days in the 1970s [side note: UVA men’s basketball finally won the national championship – Wa Hoo Wah!]. Eastern North Carolina is a beautiful region and it’s a privilege to work closely with co-workers who seek funding to improve education for this region and the rest of the state.
I have been at ECU since July 2018. This will be my first year of joining NORDP and attending the conference. My colleagues have told me about good experiences at the conference, so I’m looking forward to it.
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.