Rising Star Award Cameo – Katie Shoaf

Who: Katie Shoaf, Associate Director

Where: Grants Resources & Services, Appalachian State University

Number of years in research development: 5

Length of NORDP membership: 5

What initiative are you the most proud of in your role as a NORDP volunteer? 

I really enjoyed my role working in the core group with Kari Whittenberger-Keith and Paige Belisle to kick off the pilot RD 101 program.  I found developing and refining the curriculum to be the most rewarding aspect.  We are currently working with an instructional designer for the next version of the program.  RD 101 is a great opportunity for NORDP to put our best foot forward.

I am also proud of my participation in the LEAD initiative and the LEAD peer mentoring group in particular.  Our Fireside Chats were well received this past spring and we have more in the works for the coming year.  

These two working groups gave me unique avenues to participate, cultivated professional opportunities and gave me a chance to make meaningful contributions right away in my volunteer role. 

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

I have been fortunate to work with Fletch, who is super involved with NORDP, throughout my RD career.  We are a team of three and she encouraged me to get involved with NORDP from the start.  I saw the impact it had on her and I knew it would benefit me as well. 

My engagement with NORDP has broadened my network across the country with hundreds now a part of it and I no longer feel as if I am in a tiny RD bubble.  I have built meaningful relationships through committee work, mentoring, and other activities.  Many of those connections were already virtual prior to the pandemic and that helped ease the transition to working from home.  

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

Fletch arrived at Appalachian State shortly after I did and she encouraged me to join.  She was very involved in committee work and I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of it as well.  I attended my first conference in Arlington/DC.  I truly feel like I am contributing to the profession and that my committee work actually matters. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I have met so many people through NORDP while only working at a single institution.  I had never talked to anyone else involved with RD or RA before.  I met Jan Abramson through the Mentoring Committee. She intentionally reached out to me outside of regular meetings and encouraged me to run with ideas that I had.  This extra encouragement gave me professional confidence in both my NORDP and work roles. 

Kari Whittenberger-Keith invited me to be a part of the RD 101 initiative which was huge for my own professional development.  Jill Jividen asked me to be a co-chair for the 2021 conference as well.  These efforts showed me that my peers had faith that I would be a positive contributor despite only having tangential interactions in some cases.  This was valuable to me personally and I am forever grateful for their little nudges that opened great opportunities for me.  I am also thankful to Fletch for the initial push to join!

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined

I am not sure if I have enough perspective for this as I have only been involved since 2017.  I did know that NORDP were my people when I went to my first conference.  We have all had the challenge of explaining to our family what it is that we do in RD, but when I came to NORDP it was like, “Oh yeah this is the thing.”  It has given me a real sense of community. 

I have a better understanding of NORDP’s inner workings which has changed my relationship with it now that I know it better.  I know that my efforts are valued and how I can best contribute.  

NORDP is growing and has a lot of avenues to develop your leadership skills.  We provide professional development for members at all stages of their careers.  We are looking at equity and inclusion issues and doing well to respond to changing times.  We are increasing meaningful engagement of members through programs like RD 101 and LEAD. 

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

Regardless of your experience or personality there is something for you to give to NORDP.  You can join a committee or sub-committee, join a mentoring diad or group, submit an abstract for conference consideration.   I would encourage to reach out to someone you know or to me about how you can get involved.  

NORDP will welcome your contributions and ideas with open arms.  I have only been in RD for five years and I have seen tangible benefits during my time.  Introvert or extrovert, you can make a difference and have an impact on many people through your volunteer efforts. 

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee