2022 Rising Star Award: Becca Latimer

The NORDP Rising Star Award recognizes individuals for their outstanding, early volunteer contributions to NORDP and strong potential for future contributions to the organization and the profession or the field. 

Becca Latimer, Rising Star Awardee

Who: Becca Latimer, Ph. D., Research Program Director


Where: University of Virginia Comprehensive Cancer Center


Number of years in research development: 6


Length of NORDP membership: 6 years


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

It is a tie between my work on the annual conference and past efforts with the salary survey committee.

I am one of the co-chairs for the 2023 national conference and I have served a variety of roles on the recent virtual ones as well. I really enjoy this area as it not only provides a way for our members to get together, but also learn important tools, tips and educational content from our experienced membership. I truly appreciate that as a member myself and my efforts with the upcoming and past conferences focus on providing the most valuable, useful, relevant, and current content for NORDP members.

A few years ago, I helped put together the report from the 2019-20 Salary Survey which I believe is a valuable asset to members. It allowed us to collect data to gauge how our membership is evolving and diversifying over time. It is helpful to new members and allows them to see the varied backgrounds and
types of positions in the RD field. It is also beneficial if your institution does not support RD functions. Finally, it is also useful to RD veterans in their work towards merit raises and promotions.


How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

My volunteer efforts have truly helped me come into my own in a profession I did not know about seven years ago. I came from a bench research background, and I really did not know much about the various careers you could use a research background for beyond that. I came to NORDP with an open mind and it has been helpful since day one. The various service experiences have allowed me to meet many other engaged volunteers. These folks have mentoring characteristics and skill sets that have helped me enhance my own skills as well. Working on projects for NORDP has allowed me to progress in my current career and mentor new people coming into NORDP and at my home institution, too.


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

When I started in RD my supervisor recommended checking out the annual conference. In my prior sciences work I really valued attending national meetings and engaging with people that shared similar interests as me – I was pleased with my first NORDP conference experience. It was exciting to be a part
of a group that were interested the same topics as I was and who had similar career goals.


What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

My engagement with NORDP really allowed me to step outside of my own experience. I’ve learned more about interacting with a wide variety of individuals from different institutions, including MSIs, PUIs, and R universities, than I ever would have on my own. I came to realize that we all have the same goal. Everyone I have encountered through NORDP has been collaborative and giving. They are always willing to take time out of their workday and life to help if they can.


Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined

The overall general mission has not changed, but I have noticed in the past few years that NORDP has incorporated a lot more inclusivity work and activities, which has been extremely beneficial. It has provided more opportunities for members to learn how to include DEIB into their everyday practices.
This has been evident through conference speakers, webinars, workshops, and training activities. Additionally, the growth in the membership in recent years is also an indicator that this is a positive community that welcomes people who are interested in learning, collaborating, and practicing inclusivity.


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

It actually took me a few years to get involved myself. It can seem intimidating at first, but there are so many ways to volunteer. Think about what you like to do and what seems of interest to you that is going on right now. Think about what group would allow you to learn a new skill sets or a group that would
benefit from you bringing your skills into the mix. I would say to start with one activity and see where it takes you. If you like it and see areas where you would contribute more, consider taking on a leadership position. There are opportunities for any type of work that might be of interest to you. It is also such a great way to meet new people and learn novel and different methods of completing tasks or projects.

As conference co-chair I definitely have to recommend that the conference (May 5-11, 2023 in Crystal City, VA) will be great place to learn about or engage with all of these things. Our theme is Growing Connections – and we’ll have plenty of time for networking. You can connect with committees & affinity
groups, present a poster or during a concurrent session, or volunteer in some capacity. The call for abstracts is out! Consider submitting one. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there – sporting your favorite NORDP gear!

Liaison News: Research Development and the International Forum on Expert Finders Systems Call for Conference Proposals

Jeff Agnoli, Senior Liaison, Office of Corporate Partnerships, The Ohio State University, is serving on the Conference Steering Committee for the International Expert Finders System Forum, April 5 & 6, 2023 in Coral Gables Miami, Florida. He will be a keynote presenter in part because of his research development responsibilities and his role in building a sustainable future for the Ohio Innovation Exchange, http://OhioInnovationExchange.org. This year’s theme is Connecting the Dots, which is something RD professionals do every day!

Agnoli will feature the various ways RD professionals use tools to build interdisciplinary teams, assist with identifying mentors, fostering innovation, building corporate partnerships, and driving economic development. He invites other NORDP members to consider submitting a call for conference proposals and share their institution’s unique use of these emerging tools. Presentations, panels, or posters can address how each college/university leverages these platforms to provide strategic/competitive intelligence, enhance the proposal development process, etc.

“I believe it is time for the RD community to do what we do best, i.e., leverage our relationships across the campus and advance the use of these tools,” he says. “Every day, we build partnerships with our colleagues in the libraries, information technology, communications, foundations/corporate relations, and technology transfer, to promote our faculty, enhance their research impact, and build our institutional reputation.”

Contact Agnoli at agnoli.1@osu.edu if you have questions or interest in collaborating on a poster, presentation, or panel discussion featuring your institution’s unique adoption of these types of platforms.

The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx) is the essential gateway for university scholars and business/industry seeking to build partnerships. Visitors enjoy access to more than 10,000 experts, research equipment/services, and patents to drive innovation and increase economic development. Every week thousands of people from across the globe visit the http://OhioInnovationExchange.org to discover new opportunities and promote research discoveries.

Collaboration and Team Science Peer Mentoring Group:  What Does it Take to Foster Strong, Impactful Collaborations?

By Jeremy Steinbacher (Syracuse University) and Leah Gorman (Oregon State University)

We are seeing new opportunities for transdisciplinary teams to develop proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries to increase the societal impact of research. Our institutions are excited by these opportunities, thinking creatively about how they might nurture environments that foster transdisciplinary work, and looking to research development (RD) professionals to help spark and facilitate these collaborations. For many members of the NORDP Collaboration and Team Science Peer Mentoring Group (CTS PMG), the skill set needed to do this work has not traditionally been a central part of our professional training. In addition, our institutions may not be familiar with how other institutions are approaching this work. Combined, the lack of both training and institutional knowledge leaves many RD professionals with the feeling that we are constantly  reinventing the wheel when facilitating team science. The CTS PMG seeks to address this challenge by offering an opportunity for RD professionals to share best practices and develop strategies toward creating working knowledge of team science at our institutions. 

Below, we address some common questions about the CTS PMG and the work we have engaged in over the last year.


How is a peer mentoring group different from other types of professional development environments you might use to build skills for fostering collaboration and team science?

All of us have access to a variety of professional development opportunities through our employers, professional societies, and educational institutions. Many of these are highly-structured workshops and classes with a designated leader/instructor and, for the most part, strangers as co-participants. On the other hand, the PMG environment offers several characteristics that provide a distinct learning experience. 

First, the PMGs do not have a single, defined topic at the outset; rather, the material is flexible to the needs, experience, and interests of group members. Though the CTS PMG set a schedule of topics for monthly meetings early in the year, we remained flexible to accommodate new topics as the group evolved. 

Additionally, unlike a workshop, class, or a traditional dyadic mentoring relationship, a PMG benefits from a range of perspectives, rather than training on a single approach. Every facilitator brings a different style and the open nature of discussions encourages input from all participants regardless of experience level. Importantly, the setting of ground rules by the group itself early in the meeting cycle helps create a psychologically safe environment where it is ok to be vulnerable. This helps members recognize and express the limits of their knowledge, knowing that the other participants are there to support each other’s growth. 

PMGs also offer the chance to build relationships with other NORDP members beyond the annual conference experiences and the more structured learning opportunities.


What did we learn about collaboration and team science this year? 

The CTS PMG discussed a wide variety of topics over the last year! 

Sharon Pound (University of Tennessee) led a discussion about the relationship aspects of teams, including how to deal with common barriers in communication and expectations, and also the benefits of long-term team building. 

Laura Heinse (University of Idaho) presented strategies for after-action review, such as post-submission debriefs with a team to determine course corrections and evaluate lessons learned. 

Chris Erlien (Duke University School of Medicine) and Eva Allen (Indiana University)  gave an overview of the many issues unique to developing center proposals with large teams, both practical impacts like project management and strategic issues surrounding group ideation and leadership. 

Melanie Bauer (Nova Southeastern University) shared a range of strategies that she has employed to facilitate faculty networking within her institution and with other institutions in her state. 

Leah Gorman and Sarah Polasky (University of Missouri-Columbia) led a discussion about collaboration across disciplines and the strategies we employ when team members working in very different disciplinary cultures. 

Finally, guest speakers Kristine Glauber and Christine Hendron of Intereach introduced us to their community of “boundary spanners” working across disciplines. Chris Erlien provided a nice description of their talk in a recent blog post.


How can NORDP members get involved in a PMG?

The NORDP PMGs are open to all members. We encourage experienced practitioners to participate in these groups as a way to build community and share best practices (#payitforward). To see the available PMGs, visit your dashboard on the WisdomShare platform and scroll down until you see the list of Peer Mentoring Groups, where you can click to join. Our PMG group will kick off again in September, and everyone who has joined will get the notification message.  If you have already joined a PMG or a few, we hope that you continue participating in the same or new PMGs this upcoming year. If you have not yet tried a PMG, we strongly encourage you to attend this year! To all, bring your curiosity, a willingness to share your experiences, and lots of questions. 

The NORDP Mentoring Committee is planning a PMG Orientation in October. Keep an eye out for the event announcement and we welcome everyone to participate!

Fireside Chats: Stories of How Colleagues have Kindled a Career in RD

Submitted by Gagan Bajaj, Chetna Chianese, and Jan Abramson

How did you end up in Research Development? You may have had a circuitous path to this rewarding career. Many of us did.

Are you curious about how others within NORDP have grown their careers in RD? Did you know there is a large collection of 30-minute videos available to NORDP members, sharing the career stories of RD professionals? It’s true!

The NORDP Fireside Chats conversation series highlights the professional trajectories of NORDP members working in a wide variety of roles and showcases the many paths available for career growth and advancement within the field. Each conversation is 30-minute listen-and-learn session, with time provided for participant questions. 


Previous Fireside Chats guests have included:

  • Karen Fletcher, Director of Grants Resources & Service, Appalachian State University
  • Susan Carter, Director of Research Development, Santa Fe Institute
  • Mark Milutinovich, Director, Large Center Development, University of New Hampshire
  • Samarpita Sengupta, Director of Research, Assistant Professor, UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Daniel Arriaga, Assistant Director for Research Engagement, UT Austin
  • Kelly Rose, Chief Scientific Officer, American Society of Hematology
  • Rebekah Hersch, Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation, George Mason University
  • Peg AtKisson, Founder and President, Atkisson Training Group
  • Quyen Wickham, Senior Proposal Manager, Arizona State University
  • Etta Ward, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development, IUPUI

…and many more!


These recordings are available to NORDP members, via the NORDP LMS. To access them, first log in to the LMS using your NORDP credentials, then select the course named NORDP LEAD presents: Fireside Chats where you’ll find all of the previously recorded conversations. You can search for the course using the search bar or by selecting from the Course Categories tab (at the top of the screen) > Career and Personal Development.

You can watch any (or all) of the videos at your leisure.

Enjoy!