2022 Leadership Award: Kathy Partlow

As part of the April 27, 2022 NORDP Awards session, NORDP Fellow Jan Abramson presented the 2022 NORDP Leadership Award with heartfelt emotion to her peer, colleague and friend — Kathy Partlow. The NORDP Leadership Award “honors a member, a group of members or team, an RD unit, or an organization that demonstrates exceptional leadership and/or a deep commitment to volunteerism in ways that advance the profession or field of RD.”

Jan began her recognition of Kathy with a quote from Peter Strople, former director of Dell Computer Corporation — “Legacy is not leaving something for people, it’s leaving something in people. The legacy of leadership begins at the first moment of impact.” Jan’s moment of impact with Kathy began when they worked together on the Mentoring Committee. Whether we know it or not, our NORDP experiences have been touched in some way by Kathy’s quiet, behind-the-scenes leadership. 

Jess Brassard from the Communications Working Group interviewed Kathy about her take on leadership. 

Who: Kathy Parlow

Where: Remote-working from Oklahoma. Note: Kathy participated in this interview in her personal capacity. 

Number of years in research development: 10

Length of NORDP membership: 10

What is leadership to you? 

KP: Formally, I am a co-chair of the Mentoring Committee and the lead for the Evaluation & Innovation team. Broadly, I believe leadership is noticing that one is in a position to to bring others up. This can happen from any title or position. Leadership also means having a big-picture, strategic mindset to guide a group of people toward the group’s mission.

How did you learn or develop your style of leadership? 

KP: My style of leadership is focused on others. I use the unit’s mission as a meter. My contributions started small and really grew as I became passionate about mentoring. Along the way, other leaders mentored me and helped me “settle in” to the style that best suits me. I was very much mentored into my servant leadership style.

How does your membership in NORDP develop your leadership style? 

KP: I came to a point in my career where there was no pathway to leadership in my job and had a mentor that encouraged me to think more broadly about where I could gain leadership experience. I chose to develop my leadership capabilities outside my “day job” through volunteering and community service. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP, and how have these relationships influenced your work? 

KP: I have connected to amazing colleagues and formed lasting friendships through mentee/mentor relationships and volunteer activities. Their guidance is infused through my work and career journey. I learned to be active and intentional about building relationships. Within the Mentoring Committee, I take it to heart. It’s the foundation of everything the Mentoring Committee does. 

What do you wish you would have known when you began your leadership journey within NORDP? 

KP: I wish I would have known earlier that leadership is a gentle pathway. It doesn’t need to be a switch that is flipped. I eased into the time commitment. The “rising co-chair model” of the Mentoring Committee and other NORDP committees helps with transitions. I appreciate the co-leadership and support this model enables. 

What have you found most rewarding, and most challenging, about leading within NORDP? In your CAREER? 

KP: As far as the most challenging — the Mentoring Committee leadership team saw the need to adapt to a growing NORDP. That meant large initiatives were needed to adapt and diversify the resources for mentoring (e.g. peer mentoring groups (PMGs) and implementing Wisdom Share mentoring software ). The reward from this hard work has been the feasibility of supporting record-breaking numbers of NORDP Mentoring Program participants. . 

By far, the most rewarding part of NORDP is the people. I love to recognize and celebrate with NORDP volunteers in these accomplishments (and all the mini-milestones throughout). 

What advice do you have for others within NORDP who are looking to develop as leaders? 

KP: My advice is to choose a measured path. Most NORDP leadership roles allow you to ease into them. Make small contributions at first. Share your time and skills in areas that interest you. Find reward in the volunteer work.

New NORDP Board Member Cameo: Kim Patten

Kim Patten, NORDP Board Member

Who: Kim Patten, Assistant Vice President for Research Development

Where: University of Arizona

Number of Years Working in RD: 15 years

Length of NORDP Membership: Nine years

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of research development work do you do?

My first position was working for a science-informed nonprofit started by a bunch of astronomers and engineers. I worked on the issue of light pollution, and one of my first assignments was to build a coalition of researchers, nonprofits, and governmental entities. Working with my director at the time, we received NSF funding for a workshop (my first NSF grant!). With preliminary data based on connections made at that workshop, an instrument that was designed and funded by NSF. And that was my introduction to RD, forming teams, getting funding, and sponsoring research (and I was hooked).

I went to graduate school, but stopped at my masters, and then joined the Arizona Geological Survey, running a large Department of Energy center that was nationwide, therefore, logging some frequent flyer miles in the process. I enjoyed working with these teams, providing dedicated support throughout the lifecycle of the research process. With just under a year left on the project, a friend told me the University of Arizona was starting a new department within the research office and encouraged me to apply. And I made the leap. There were better benefits at the university than in my other state job, including parental leave benefits, and better work-life-balance. In all honesty, I’m really happy I made that leap. The transition was difficult as I really loved what I was doing at the Survey, and the people, but here I am!

Today, I engage in a lot of strategic initiatives. I’m one of the primary liaisons for the research office with our federal relations arm. So, I have moved (and this is a Jennifer Lyon Gardener and Jeff Agnoli term) further “left of proposal” in my current efforts than in my previous positions. A lot of what I’m doing these days is leveraging federal relations activities for and toward appropriations and authorizations requests. We’re trying to get ahead of the major research activities authorized in the CHIPS+ Ac and Inflation Reduction Act. My work has transition to more of a strategic direction while others on our team focus on relationship development and proposal development.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

I’ve been a NORDP member since 2014, first presenting at the annual conference in 2015. I missed 2016 because of the birth of my kiddo, but I’ve been to every one since then. I’ve participated in numerous committees, including the Nominating Committee (NomCom), and the Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC). I’ve also been working to help and support both my institution and NORDP with professional career lines and career development activities. If you look back at some of my conference presentations, you’ll see how I worked with HR to get six lines of professional contributor and five lines of management for my RD team. Now, I’m trying to implement those, which is much easier said than done.

I joined the NomCom in 2015 and served as its chair through the pandemic. I was drawn to serve on SAC because of its focus on partnerships and engaged research. Partnership development, especially at the organizational level, was of particular interest to me, as I was transitioning part of my team into more partnership development, including supporting my leadership as they stood up a societal impacts unit. I was really interested in learning from the organization called Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) about that potential, and that’s how I got recruited to be a NORDP liaison to ARIS. We do now have an Office of Societal Impact at the University of Arizona. It does not report to me, but it’s a parallel office to mine, and we report up to the same VP, which is nice. And we collaborate significantly. All to say, I appreciate NORDP for the personal and professional growth as well as lessons learned from across the organization and with/from other organizations. We are a community of lifelong learners, and it shows.

What motivated you to run for the NORDP Board?

I’ve had my eye on the board for a little while; that’s part of why I wanted to be on NomCom, to see what the process was like. I was serving on another board through 2021, so I felt that I could not feasibly add the commitment, especially one with such a high volunteer load. To serve well takes a significant commitment, and hopefully a commitment that is supported by your employer (mine has been wonderful in supporting me).

My previous board service gave me experience with organizational development and growth, and I can to bring that to NORDP. From a bylaws overhaul to an investment policy, that board work took on a “cleanup” of the organization’s systems and support infrastructure, and I felt that experience would help the NORDP board and NORDP as an organization. That service also provided me with insights into staffing and outsourcing of a small, but mighty, non-profit. I’d argue that NORDP is at a transition point in its growth, and I’m excited to be part of the board that helps us reach the next level of infrastructure and support for our phenomenal community of contributors.

While I hope that my previous board experiences will help, I also hope that my experience in running and leading a comprehensive RD shop is also relevant. One of my goals for my own team is to encompass the four core areas of RD, as defined by NORDP: (1) strategic research advancement, (2) communication of research and research opportunities, (3) enhancement of collaboration/team science, and (4) proposal support functions.

What are you most excited about as a new NORDP Board member?

I am most excited about the fact that we are primed for success. I think the previous boards and the membership have done a great job of building a fantastic community and making sure that RD is a recognized field. I think that we are at that make-or-break moment, and I’m looking forward to helping make it happen. I think that the existing board members are phenomenal and talented individuals. They have been welcoming and have treated me warmly. I also have a board mentor, so that’s fantastic. I’m really looking forward to supporting NORDP to provide the infrastructure that’s needed for future success. I’m a big fan of collective impact and thinking about backbone organizations. Excited to make that happen for NORDP.

ARIS 2023 Summit: Special Discounted Registration for NORDP Members

Advancing Research Impacts in Society (ARIS) is offering two discounted registrations for NORDP members to attend its 2023 Summit: Research in Service to Society. The Summit will take place March 22-24, 2023 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

This special offer reduces the cost of registration by $150 and includes a one-year ARIS membership. More details about the Summit are available on the ARIS Summit homepage.

NORDP members who are not current ARIS members are eligible for this rate.

This discounted registration offer is available on a first come, first served basis. Interested individuals should send a request to tgilreathmullen2@unl.edu by March 1, 2023.

Tools ‘n Tips: Writing for a Lay Audience – Presented by Susan Elkins

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 @ 12:00pm (Eastern)

Researchers often have a difficult time with writing for a lay audience. This does not mean removing all of the science. It does mean simplifying or clearly defining those technical terms and ideas. It can also be helpful to think about making a connection between the scientific advancement you’re discussing and the potential benefits to the intended audience. Research development professionals can help faculty better address this task.

During the PD Committee’s January Tools ‘n Tips monthly webinar, Susan Elkins shared advice and resources for RD professionals looking to hone their skills when writing for a lay audience. 

Resource 1: Writing for a lay audience (Cancer Research UK) 

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it short
  • Make it inclusive
  • Back it up
  • Separate your ideas
  • Active voice
  • Avoid turning verbs into nouns
  • Use lists where appropriate
  • Be economical
  • Use analogies and images
  • Use Links

Resource 2: In a nut shell: how to write a lay summary (Christopher Tancock)

  • “So what” – justify your research
  • Contextual background – why are you doing this
  • Follow a logical order
  • Explain the impact
  • Sort sentences – write in plain English
  • Avoid jargon if possible
  • First person active voice
  • Use positive statements instead of negative ones
  • Include images if possible

Resource 3: 3 Questions to ask yourself when writing for lay audiences (AMWA Blog) 

  1. Who is my audience?
  1. What are their needs?
  1. How can I communicate most effectively?
  • Consider structure/content/design
  • Optimize readability
  • Tailor content for specific audience
  • Make it easy to navigate
  • Review your work through from your audience’s perspective

Accessing Previous TNT Recordings:

  • Log into your NORDP account (www.nordp.org)
  • Look for the “Quick Links” menu (blue) on the right-hand side of the screen
  • Select “NORDP LMS”
  • Make sure you are seeing “All Courses” – scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “SHOW ALL COURSES”
  • Search for “TnT”
  • Select the “TnT (Tools & Tips) Talks”

Do you have a great Tool or Tip you would be willing to share? If so, please contact Dawn McArthur or Emily Devereux. We would love to hear any requests and we’ll see if we can’t find a presenter!

New NORDP Board Member Cameo: Jessica Moon

Jessica Moon, PhD, PMP, NORDP Board Member
Jessica Moon, PhD, PMP, NORDP Board Member

Who: Jessica Moon, PhD, PMP. Executive Director, Stanford Aging and Ethnogeriatrics Research Center

Where: Stanford University

Number of Years Working in RD: Six years

Length of NORDP Membership: Five years

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of research development work do you do?

My daughter was three years old when I started graduate school at the University of Vermont, and I realized quickly that I did not want to pursue a tenure-track faculty position. I had worked for several years as a writing center consultant for undergraduates, grad students, and postdocs, and I thought perhaps my scientific and writing consultation backgrounds would be an effective combination. Another tipoff was that I really enjoyed my phase 2 qualifying exam—i.e., writing an NIH grant. I happened to see a presentation by Jeralyn Haraldsen (now the Director of Research Development at UVM) about the newly minted research development office. I reached out to Jeralyn—“Your work sounds really interesting! I’d love to hear more about your background and the RD field. Would you be willing to get coffee?” She introduced me to NORDP, and we carpooled down to my first Northeast regional meeting in Amherst, MA. The whole world opened up from there so to speak. 

My goal was to position myself for an RD job straight out of graduate school. There’s not a standard career path or ladder into RD (I recently heard someone refer to it as a “climbing wall”). The common thread from talking to NORDP members was scientific editing experience, so I started by diversifying my editing portfolio. I became a contract scientific editor for Cactus Communications, where I edited journal articles, scientific protocols, responses to reviewers, and other works for university researchers and drug companies across the biomedical and chemical sciences. About a year later, I started a small freelance business editing manuscripts and grant proposals. Basically, I fit in extra editing jobs wherever I could—between experiments, late in the evening, Christmas break…This gave me some hardcore copyediting experience that complemented the consultation and writing pedagogy work at the writing center.

My first research development job out of graduate school was at the University of Arizona in Kim Patten’s office as a Research Development Associate for the biomedical sciences. Jamie Boehmer (a Senior RD Associate at the time) took me under her wing and identified opportunities for me to network across campus. As a former VA Program Officer, she has a wealth of knowledge, and I learned a lot from her. In my two years there, my portfolio grew to include faculty from across the five health sciences colleges, many more types of NIH proposals, and other funders (e.g., HRSA, CDC, foundations).

Now, as Executive Director, I oversee all aspects of the SAGE Center. I refer to my role as RD+, because it encompasses a broad range of research development activities—advising on funding strategy, grant writing/editing, and faculty development, as well as things like program management and evaluation, research compliance, budgets, and scientific event planning. I am also the program officer for our pilot award program, and mentor all SAGE junior faculty and postdocs. One thing that is unique from my prior position at UArizona is that I do actual grant writing and intellectually contribute to the design and implementation of projects and programs. Hence, the scope and my view of RD has grown since coming to Stanford.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

As mentioned above, I started engaging with NORDP via the Northeast regional meetings and attended my first NORDP conference in 2017. I moved to Tucson, AZ shortly after graduating. My supervisor at the University of Arizona, Kim Patten, is a strong advocate of NORDP and encourages everyone in her unit to be engaged. My first volunteer activity at the national-level was the Affiliated Medical Centers special interest group. As a member of the inaugural leadership team, I helped shepherd AMC through its development into an affinity group. My NORDP mentor encouraged me to explore other committees. In 2021, I joined the Professional Development Committee, Committee on Inclusive Excellence, and Mentoring Committee with the thought that I could try them and see what I liked the best—I’m still a member on all.

What motivated you to run for the NORDP Board?

The encouragement from my NORDP mentor was a big part of it. I enjoy the strategic planning aspects of my work at Stanford and looking at things from a big picture/organizational systems standpoint—my role on the NORDP Board provides this from the non-profit perspective. I also wanted to give back to NORDP, because it has played such an integral role in helping me find and obtain RD positions after grad school. I learned about both of my jobs at UArizona and Stanford through NORDP connections. NORDP’s members are a wealth of information and their warmth and willingness to share ideas is remarkable and wonderful. For all those reasons, I was excited (and a bit intimidated) to run for the Board. I wanted the experience of strategic planning and understanding things from that lens while contributing to the good of the organization.

What are you most excited about as a new NORDP Board member?

It’s a fantastic group. I have attended three board meetings so far and have been amazed and energized by the team dynamic—everyone takes their duty of care seriously, meaning that discussion and deliberation is very thoughtful and open. I am introverted and have a hard time inserting myself into conversations, because I second guess that what I want to say will be helpful. There is conscious effort by Board members to invite everyone’s input, so I am excited to work with this really awesome group. I’m also excited because NORDP is in this transition period between thinking of ourselves as a smaller organization to a larger and more mature organization…Which I guess means we are in the awkward teen phase. I think part of that has to do with how quickly our membership has expanded—yay us! But we are also experiencing some growing pains, and the Board’s goal is to help NORDP work through that.

Mentoring Reflections: Sammy Rodriguez & Charlene Emerson

Written by: Mentoring Committee Marketing & Communications, Sammy Rodriguez, and Charlene Emerson

The yearly NORDP Mentoring Program offers a structured mentoring experience for NORDP members. While the program officially runs for a year, a lot of participants continue their mentoring relationships long-term. This month, we catch up with one such long-term mentor-mentee pair as they share their reflections on their mentoring journey. 

Sammy Rodriguez is currently serving as Interim Director for the Office of Research Advancement & Partnerships at Washington State University. He has been in research development and administration for over 10 years. His PhD is in educational psychology and his Masters in English literature. He is a member of NORDP’s Nominating Committee and also a mentor for NORDP’s mentoring program. He serves as a mentor for Charlene Emerson.  

Charlene Emerson is a Scientific Editor and Writing Consultant for the NextGen Precision Health building at the University of Missouri – Columbia. It’s hard to know when her career in research development started exactly, but she has over 5 years of professional experience in science editing. She received her PhD in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She is a mentee in NORDP’s mentoring program.

Q1: What influenced you to apply to be a mentor and a mentee for the 2021 NORDP Mentoring Program?

Charlene: I was very new to my position and to the Research Development field in general. I felt I needed to get advice and perspective about an RD career from someone who I didn’t work with closely, someone who could be relatively unbiased and candid in conversation. The NORDP Mentoring program felt like the perfect opportunity.

Sammy: Having NORDP go over the mentoring program in advance, its structure, the approach to pairing mentors/mentees, expectations, and its flexibility, provided more clarity on what to expect before deciding to sign up.

Q2: What is your favorite part about your relationship?

Charlene: My favorite part of my mentoring relationship with Sammy is how we’ve been able to watch each other grow and share in celebrating that growth. Our conversations have covered a lot of our challenges and ambitions, so it’s been great to be able to keep returning to that consistent support. I’m always looking forward to our next meeting to update him on my latest big project or to hear how his plans have turned out.

Sammy: My favorite part is that I gained a colleague I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Although Charlene is relatively new to the profession, she has so much knowledge and drive, and she’s a leader. Feels like we are mentoring each other. I’m happy that I am able to share some experiences and guidance and get feedback later on what was helpful, how an issue got resolved, or hear about a big win on her plans to advance her goals. It serves as validation and motivation to continue to share what we know with others.

Q3: How has participation in the Mentoring Program helped broaden your horizons about Research Development in general and/or affected your daily work in particular?

Charlene: RD is an incredibly varied field and I’ve learned a lot about the variety of positions and growth trajectories for an RD office. I now have more knowledge about different areas I could grow into and I don’t feel as uncertain about where this career path will take me. In my daily work, I feel much more confident that I’m approaching challenges and opportunities reasonably and that I have a supportive resource for any questions that come up.

Sammy: It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work of our office, our institution, but we have to keep a balance even within the professional sphere of our lives. It can’t just be tasks, tasks, tasks. We have to take care of ourselves and our colleagues, taking time for professional development, mentoring, taking a step back for a minute, and consider all those aspects that revolve around our profession. Doing so will ultimately make our careers more enjoyable, fruitful, and lasting. RD is truly a community, and as we grow and gain more and more years of experience, there is a responsibility to share what we know and our ideas. RD and NORDP are at a maturing phase where there is a broader space for mentoring as a key element for growth, looking to the future of RD and as an organization.  

Q4: What surprised you about being a mentor or a mentee?

Charlene: I was surprised how easy it was to grow the relationship comfortably. Before the mentoring got started, I was nervous that it would feel awkward or that we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. But once I decided to just open up and ask about topics that I’d been wondering about, insecurities about how to move forward with my career, or my perceptions of office politics, conversation came incredibly easy.

Sammy: How well it has gone. I think there’s always a level of apprehension when considering getting into a mentoring relationship. What if the pairing doesn’t work? What will we talk about? Is it going to be awkward? There’s a degree of opening up, whether you’re a mentor or a mentee, an element of vulnerability. Once you get past that initial pause and take the next step, then vulnerability turns into honesty and that builds trust. And I have to go back to a previous point I made, I’ve learned so much from Charlene. I knew that you also learn as a mentor, but I’ve learned in ways I had not anticipated.

Q5: What made you decide to maintain a longer-term mentoring relationship and how has it impacted you?

Charlene: It was an easy decision because I felt like we both still were getting quite a lot out of our conversations. Our monthly meeting doesn’t feel like an obligation or just another thing to get done, it’s a bright spot in the month.

Sammy: When the program was officially coming to an end, I think it was mutual that getting together and having these conversations, exchanging ideas, challenges, and successes had become natural. There wasn’t a reason it couldn’t or shouldn’t continue. I’ve read some advice that mentoring should have an end date, and I can see that, if the goals have been met, etc. But as I mentioned earlier, I’ve gained a colleague, a very knowledgeable, thoughtful colleague who has contributed to my professional development. We’re genuinely interested in contributing to each other’s success. Having someone to go to, vet an idea, ask a question, who knows you and at the same time is not biased due to proximity, is a great resource to have. I have gained a trusted colleague I can go to, and I’m also available to assist her in any way she feels I can be of help.

 Q6: Any words of wisdom or encouragement for those wanting to apply next year? Any other thoughts you would like to share? 

Charlene: Set expectations early on, then just relax and have a good conversation. And definitely don’t get caught up in thoughts that you’re taking up your mentor/mentee’s time, you’ve both chosen to be part of the mentoring relationship and there’s a lot to gain on both ends.

Sammy: Go for it. Getting outside our comfort zone is necessary for growth. Although each mentoring relationship is unique, there’s one common thread: whether as a mentor, mentee, or both, we all have an interest and are making a commitment to mentorship. It may feel like a gamble, but the odds are you’ll have a great experience!

Applications for the 2023-24 cycle will open in the spring; keep an eye out for emails from the NORDP listserv. Additional mentoring opportunities are available through the Peer Mentoring Groups that are open for participation throughout the year via the WisdomShare platform.

Investment in mentoring is an investment in you! So, as Sammy says, “Go for it!”

New Board Member Cameo: Samarpita Sengupta

Samarpita Sengupta, PhD, NORDP Board Member

Who: Samarpita Sengupta, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of Research

Where: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Number of Years Working in RD: Seven years

Length of NORDP Membership: Five years

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of research development work do you do?

I came to the United States in 2007 for my PhD. After my PhD, I was almost convinced that the traditional academic route was not meant for me, however, three years into my postdoc I knew that for certain. I started doing informational interviews to find out what career paths aligned with my interests. After several of these, I spoke to someone who ended up being my boss in my first research development job. We had talked about grant writing, and I didn’t know the term research development existed when I was interviewing. I joined as a scientific research writer in the newly formed Neuroscience Research Development (NeRD) office. We created the office from the ground up. Our responsibilities spanned the research cycle from idea generation to grant submission We went from submitting between five and 20 grants a year to over 100 grants per year. We kept that momentum going until 2020 when my boss moved to a different role and I started directing the office. In 2021, in search of career growth, I landed into what I called a RD plus role.

Right now, I serve as the Director of Research in the physician assistant studies program at UT Southwestern. I also have a faculty role which means I get to advise and mentor students as well, but my main focus is creating strategic programs and working with faculty and students to increase research capacity and scholarly output in the areas of education research, quality improvement with the goal of getting people engaged in allied health related clinical research. I also have some administrative responsibilities around maintaining program accreditation.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

When we started the RD office we fell into research development “by accident”. We didn’t have any formal training or a formal path to it. So we decided we wanted to make it better for people for people coming after us so we created a training program in our office where we would allow students, staff and trainees to shadow us for four weeks, eight hours a week using their personal time. This program was called the NeRD associate in training or NeAT program. We would teach them the basics of research development – how to talk to a faculty member, how you create teams, how you edit or refine a proposal, how you create a budget, how you work with sponsored programs. I presented this program at the 2017 NORDP conference which was the first conference where I presented a poster.

At that conference, I attended the Strategic Alliances Committee meeting and Peggy Sundermeyer was looking for someone to volunteer as a liaison between NORDP and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA). I had volunteered for NPA while a postdoc, so I figured this would be a really good fit for me. I volunteered to be a liaison. My initial term was for two years and then it was extended for two more years. I attended conferences with NPA and had people from NPA come and attend NORDP conferences. The goal was to create a pipeline from postdocs to RD. Not a lot of postdocs know about RD, therefore, there is a rich niche of people we can recruit from. That relationship led to a couple of changes for NORDP as well.  We created the trainee and emeritus memberships in NORDP because we wanted to attract trainees and students to get a foot in the door through NORDP. I worked on this project in collaboration with the then chair of the MSC, Kathy Cataneo. At the NPA conferences I attended, postdocs were curious about RD internships. Through the generosity of NORDP members, we solicited other examples of onboarding programs, combined them with NeAT program’s structure and created a resource that RD offices can take to create their own internship, training or onboarding programs called NROAD to RD. The teams that worked on this project was awarded the NORDP Innovation award this year and I couldn’t be more grateful to have worked with these dedicated individuals.  

With the Member Services Committee I also helped create the Ambassador Program which matched up new conference attendees with seasoned conference attendees so they had at least one point of contact to talk to and ask questions so they wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed at their first conference. I joined the Professional Development Committee and the Mentoring Committee and served as a mentor and a mentee. I’ve been part of the NORDP Certification Task Force. We’re also trying to get an Immigrant Affinity Group off the ground. I have presented at each of the NORDP conferences since 2017 and was part of the inaugural LEAD cohort. I served as co-chair of the Mentoring Committee as well.

What motivated you to run for the NORDP Board?

I have been thinking about the board for a while, but while I had started several projects, I had not led a committee.  Last year I participated in the Lead Program, and I served as the Mentoring Committee co-chair for a year. I have tried to be very intentional about using all my experience volunteering for several different committees so I could know what most committees do and where they stand, so I can be a voice for everyone. This year, I knew that I had the experience to back up any decisions that needed to be made regarding the organization. I think I understood the organization enough, had some ideas of what people wanted from it, what the mission and vision was and could morph into in the future so I would be comfortable being part of making larger decisions.

What are you most excited about as a new NORDP Board member?

I get excited about everything! From the beginning, my work in NORDP has been about creating a path for people who want to do RD but don’t really know about RD. As our organization grows, we need more people to join us, and we need more revenue sources as we grow to keep the organization afloat.

One of the things I am passionate about is to help people make the conscious decision to join RD and not just “fall into” it as I and many others have done. I want to continue the work NORDP has ongoing to making sure academics, funders, and institutional leaders understand what RD is, how it is different from and similar to RA, how it is different from R&D.

I’m also excited about several new NORDP offerings, such as the work being done by the certification task force. If and when this comes to fruition, it would be a really big deal for our organization. I am excited about the work done by all the NORDP committees, putting forth innovative programs and resources. I am excited about the commitment from NORDP leadership and its members on being a forerunner on inclusive excellence. I am excited and humbled to be working with some amazing individuals on the NORDP Board, many of whom have been mentors and personal heroes! Finally, I am incredibly grateful to the NORDP membership who have placed their trust in me and my fellow new Board members and I hope I can help propel our organization forward.