Conference Cameo: Carolyn Bernhardt

Who: Carolyn Bernhardt, editor/writer
Where: University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
Number of years in research development: I’m just starting out
Length of NORDP membership: New member
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2020 will be my first one!
How do you unwind? By staying active, especially on, in, or near water

So, I am actually not a research development professional. At least, not on paper. But isn’t everyone who works in higher education there because they believe in the power of research?OV6A0781F_sq

I have been in higher education communications for the last four years, but have more recently begun to focus much of my efforts toward helping our faculty and staff researchers feel confident and competent when interfacing with the media about their research. I also work to help our researchers take the next step into leveraging their media relations to drive more citations of their research, open up new networking and collaboration opportunities, entice new funding agencies, bolster relationships with existing funding partners, and recruit graduate student talent. I am so looking forward to my very first NORDP because I am interested in learning more about how the work I do lends itself to research development, and learning more about the field of research development as a whole.

My background is in editorial work. I received my BA in English literature and film studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. Then, I started my professional career in children’s’ books. I have written, edited, and fact checked numerous titles for the library/education market. It was through this work that I not only crammed my brain full of so much random information that I became a pub trivia champion many times over, but also came to believe that, since science impacts everyone, everyone deserves access to understanding even the most complex science. To this day, I remain passionate about effectively communicating complex earth, health, and animal science to the broadest audience possible. So much so that, in addition to my current day job, I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Science Writing at Johns Hopkins University.

Currently, I am the managing editor of our college’s donor and alumni magazine, Profiles. I have worked hard to weave research into the fabric of the stories we tell as much as possible because I think if our donors, alumni, and legislatures should be consistently reminded that our research is what sets us apart. Plus, I get paid to hear people tell me their story and I work with some of the most fascinating people on the planet — it’s a pretty sweet deal, as far as I am concerned. Some of the coolest things I have written about in my career include moose, Gila monsters, racehorses, owls… and the brilliant, passionate people who keep them healthy.

I am attending this year’s NORDP to learn how my efforts can work hand-in-hand with research development professionals to help support leading edge research and its impact on humans, animals, and the world we share. I am especially looking forward to meeting new people, seeing San Antonio, and gathering new ideas for communicating about research. Communications conferences can be full of great pointers and practices, but I want to more specifically explore the relationship between communications and research. I look forward to doing just that in a few short weeks!


We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 17 – 20, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX. The conference room block can be accessed HERE

For more information about the conference or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2020 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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