Celebrating Mentoring Days Keynote on Digging Deeper and Doing Better

The NORDP Mentoring Committee presents Celebrating Mentoring Days Tuesday, June 29 and Wednesday, June 30. Come celebrate mentoring! 

All NORDP members are invited to attend. The complete program and registration information is available at https://nordp.memberclicks.net/celebrating-mentoring-days

Dr. Kelly Diggs-Andrews, Diggs-Andrews Consulting LLC, will deliver the opening keynote on “Digging Deeper, Doing Better: The Science of Effective and Inclusive Mentoring in STEMM” at 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 29. 

The content of this keynote is applicable to Research Development (RD) professionals, as we mentor both formally and informally across a variety of disciplines. In her keynote, Dr. Diggs-Andrews will provide an intellectual framework to accelerate the acquisition of mentoring insights to cultivate effective mentoring relationships.

Mentoring is a critical aspect of academic training and research progress, yet is often learned and perfected only through trial and error. Participants will learn about evidence-based approaches to broaden participation of culturally diverse groups in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical (STEMM) fields. Overall, RD professionals will gain confidence in working with mentees from diverse backgrounds, add new strategies to their mentoring toolbox, and gain access to available resources to support quality mentorship in their professional careers and at their home institutions. Participants will be able to continue the discussion in breakout group discussions immediately following the keynote on 1) Digging Deeper – the science behind effective mentorship, or 2) Doing Better – mentoring across diverse dimensions.

Kelly Diggs-Andrews, PhD is the founder and CEO of Diggs-Andrews Consulting, LLC, a consulting and media company whose goal is to broaden accessibility to science careers through science outreach, diversity training, and professional development. She is also a senior Master Facilitator with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER), where she leads both in-person and virtual workshops for research mentors across career stages and disciplines nationwide. She has led trainings at national scientific conferences for the American Society for Microbiology, International Mentoring Association, the Society for Neuroscience, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and others as well as numerous colleges, universities, and medical institutes. Her curricular expertise includes Entering Mentoring, Facilitator Training for Entering Mentoring, and Culturally Aware Mentoring.

NORDP Fellows Award Cameo – Jacob Levin

Who: Jacob Levin

Where: Founder & CEO, LGG Research Funding & Strategy Services

Number of years in research development: 20+

Length of NORDP membership: 12 years

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

I would say that NORDP as a whole is what I am most proud of. I was part of the initial founding group and honestly we struggled in the early years. I sometimes wondered if we would survive during our first four or five years. It has been amazing to see NORDP’s growth from a plucky little startup to a reputable, full-scale professional organization, through the efforts of its dedicated, diverse, and collegial members. We have many great programs, but I think we still have not hit our full stride. 

Of all the things we do, I feel that the listserv is still NORDP’s most valuable asset. It has continually provided a wealth of valuable information to broad spectrum of members, and is a great example of the open and supportive communication that is a hallmark of our group. I have been involved with a number of other professional organizations throughout the research enterprise and no other community is as collegial and supportive. 

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

It has been enormously impactful. NORDP is intrinsically entangled with my career. My service and engagement with NORDP has benefitted me professionally in countless ways, and motivated me to engage in activities take risks professionally that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve worked on well over 1,000 grants, with 2,000 plus faculty, and dozens of universities, but I consider NORDP my most impactful professional accomplishment, and the one of which I am most proud. I literally cannot imagine what career I would have had without NORDP. It has driven much of what I have done and vice versa. 

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

Back in early 2009 I received a phone call from Holly Falk-Krzesinski out of the blue. She was truly the driving force in getting us all together. There were a number of people doing RD seemingly alone at universities across the country. It was a new idea that everyone had simultaneously. Holly had looked through directories of major universities for RD related job titles and began reaching out to people. When she first called me we talked for over an hour. Soon the listserv began, we had our first meeting, and we undertook the process of incorporating as a 501(c)3. I actually came up with the name for NORDP back then. Holly had suggested calling it the National Research Development Professional Association, but nerds as we all may be, I wasn’t sure that NRDPA would be a draw. Sorry Holly!

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

My closest professional friendships are people that I have met through NORDP. I am still in touch with colleagues who have moved on from my office, and those I have worked with for years at universities across the country. RD is really my field now, despite my original training as a physicist and biologist. Research development is a network of networks that has opened up many opportunities for me. There are numerous things that I would not have done without my involvement in NORDP. Nothing else has been quite like it in terms of opening doors and developing professional relationships & lasting friendships. 

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined.

At the start we were very grassroots with everything done basically by hand. Back then the Vice President was responsible for putting on the annual meeting which I did for the second one which had 200 people. It was like putting on your own wedding (and it was actually in the same place I was married!). I had my family and work colleagues bringing in food, setting up signs, making badges, and working registration, while I was directing and introducing people, managing invited speakers, interacting with the hotel staff, and presenting in 5 sessions! The entire conference I was running around in chaos. It was like that for a few years, but it was what was needed at the time. 

Now we are truly a professional organization. Our most recent conference made me proud. Successful conferences do not come easily and are not a given, especially when they have to be done virtually. NORDP 2021 was the best online conference I have attended.

I think we are still only halfway there, however. We have become an effective entity and are now serving as sponsors at other group’s conferences, like the recent INORMS 2021. Research development is now considered a basic function at many universities. Vendors now see us a one of their primary customer bases.We have earned a level of professionalism and respect in the research enterprise and we are known throughout it. 

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

Just do it. Just start. Whatever it is that interests you, or you have experience with. You couldn’t find a more welcoming community. Everyone is so collegial, and they know what you are going through. NORDP pays you back in ways that you do not expect.

RD is a field that lends itself to volunteerism. We are all used to working on teams and on things that are not quite done yet. RD work like NORDP engagement is always in progress. 

NORDP is accepting of people and their interests. If you have an idea that is helpful to you, chances are it will be helpful to others. Get involved in any way you can. I promise you will not regret it!

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee


  1. Levin, J. 2011. The Emergence of the Research-Development Professional. Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2011. http://chronicle.com/article/The-Emergence-of-the/126906/
  2. Rainey, R.F. 2013. Jacob Levin brings in the research money. AAAS Member Spotlight, Feb 1, 2013. https://www.aaas.org/jacob-levin-brings-research-money
  3. Currie, E. 2011. Off the Path – Jacob Levin, UCSF Synapse, 25 May 2011. https://synapse.library.ucsf.edu/?a=d&d=ucsf20110525-01.2.10&e=——-en–20–1–txt——txIN–

#PayItForward by Mentoring

– When you learn, teach. When you get, give. – Maya Angelou

Applications for the 2021-2022 NORDP Mentoring Program are now open and will be accepted through June 7, 2021!

Are you ready to take your learning up a notch? Mentoring is an excellent way to:

  • Learn by teaching
  • Build your professional network
  • Create and continue a culture of mentoring within NORDP
  • Share knowledge and exchange ideas 
  • #PayItForward

The Mentoring Program is an opportunity to enhance your skills by interacting with other Research Development professionals. Every year, there is a high need for mentors – and YOU have wisdom to share! Consider becoming a mentor (and, you can be a mentee as well). If you are not sure if you are ready to mentor, watch this lightning talk: The Transition from Mentee to Mentor.

To make it easy, the Mentoring Committee has developed OnBoarding and Reflection Packets with resources for mentors and mentees to support all phases of the mentoring relationship (see the Mentoring Toolkit). The Committee continues to develop and hone these resources to meet the needs of both mentors and mentees. In addition, each mentor-mentee pair is assigned a facilitator who is available to answer any questions. The Committee also offers Mentor Training that helps you build upon competencies crucial for mentoring relationships. The May/June series has already started, but you can share your scheduling preferences to help us plan for future Mentor Training workshops if you are interested.

Questions? Let us know! mentorprogram@nordp-adminrdp.org

Interested in learning more? See what previous matched pairs say about their experiences:

Mentoring Reflections: Carolynn Julien & Faye Farmer

Mentoring Reflections: Jamie Burns & Eric Wayne Dickey

Finally, SAVE THE DATE on June 29 and 30 (11 a.m. – 7 p.m. EDT) for Celebrating Mentoring Days hosted by the Mentoring Committee! A full program and registration information will be coming soon.

Member Services Committee offers on-demand support, flexible networking for virtual conference-goers at NORDP 2021

Submitted by Sarah Messbauer, Member Services Committee

It’s no secret that virtual conferences present a unique set of opportunities and challenges. This year, for example, NORDP is reducing the stress we’ve all felt when choosing between concurrent sessions by offering more pre-recorded content and extended pre-and post-conference sessions. At the same time, the global connection of our virtual formats does have the potential to make us feel disconnected from peers and colleagues—unless we take active steps to forge those connections ourselves. 

It is for these reasons that the volunteers of NORDP’s Member Services Committee are “booting up” a suite of information, resources, and services to ensure all NORDP 2021 attendees can maximize their conference experience.   

Orientation for New Members/New Attendees – A guide to all things NORDP 2021

If you are new to NORDP, new to conferencing, or just want some insights on how best to navigate this year’s program, be sure to register for this conference overview event scheduled for Thursday, 29 April 2021 from 12:00-1:00pm EDT. The discussion will begin with a brief overview of NORDP’s goals and how it is structured to best serve you before segueing into advice from the conference organizers on how to navigate the conference platform and program, insights on networking opportunities, and tips on avoiding conference burnout. 

There will be plenty of time left for Q&A, so come with questions!

“Ask Me!” – NORDP’s annual conference ambassadors program goes virtual 

Conference Ambassadors are this year’s corp of volunteers ready to answer any questions you may have at any time: about the conference, our organization, or our profession. They are active NORDP members who have attended at least one prior conference (potential Ambassadors – sign up here!). You can spot them by their virtual “Ambassador” name tags… and a few may even sport the phrase “Ask Me!” in front of their names throughout conference! 

Let’s all go to the Lobby… and have ourselves a Chat!

Looking for a break from sitting in on sessions? Interested in connecting with your Research Development peers? If a mid-conference connection is in the cards, come by the conference platform’s virtual lobby and enter the Lobby Chat! This feature will be open for informal networking several hours each day, with MSC volunteers on-hand to answer questions and generate conversation. 

The Lobby Chat will be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the conference, from 10:00-11:00am; 1:30-2:30pm; and 5:00-6:00pm each day. 

The happiest place(s) on earth: MSC Happy Hours!

The Member Services Committee is hosting two concurrent happy hours at this year’s conference, both of which will take place on Wednesday, 5 May 2021 from 7:00-8:00pm (EDT).

In our first room, we’ll be chatting about the most useful activities, services, or resources you’ve come across as an RD professional—at your organization or elsewhere. If you’re curious to know what people are doing or seeing (and are willing to share, yourself), this is the place for the curious and creative. 

In our second room, we’re inviting all parents and caretakers to come and talk about Research Development: caretaking at home (and work?!). This will be a family-friendly happy hour, so kids, spouses, parents, and others are welcome to stop by, hang out, and join the conversation.

Networking Dinners – or breakfasts, or lunches, or….

Do you prefer a smaller, more intimate setting for getting to know your peers and colleagues? If so, Thursday, May 6th’s “Networking Dinners”—a longstanding NORDP conference tradition—are just the thing. These fun and informal zoom “dinners” are 1-hour sessions that provide a small group setting to meet and engage with other conference attendees around a topic selected by your host. Topics from past years have included: 

  • “Advancing Diversity in the RD Profession,” 
  • “Limited Submissions: Working With Leadership,” 
  • “Government Relations for Arts and Humanities” 
  • “RD Office Workflow Management”
  • “Graphic Design Tools of the Trade” 
  • “First-Time Conference Attendees” 
  • “Supporting Mid-Career Researchers”
  • “Transitioning to Supervising”

This year, hosts select the time of the meeting and provide their own Zoom link; this will provide those joining in from diverse time zones with more options to engage with your peers…. whether you’d like to share a meal, a cup of tea, or just some good conversation! Dinner? Sure! But “Networking Brunch” sounds pretty great too.

If you’d like to host a ‘dinner,’ please sign up here by Wednesday, 28 April 2021.  

If you’d like to attend a ‘dinner,’ please stay tuned! We’ll share the invitation to RSVP once host sign-ups are complete. 

Wow! With so many resources, activities, and support available, we hope to knock those virtual conferencing challenges right off your radar. If you are new to NORDP or have questions about the conference, attend the pre-conference Orientation or reach out to a NORDP Ambassador. They are your friendly faces and first friends of NORDP 2021, and along with other conference resources such as the daily Lobby Chats, concurrent Happy Hours, and final day “Networking Dinners,” are provided by the Member Services Committee to ensure all our Research Development colleagues have access to the information and services they need to make this year’s conference our best one yet! 

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

NORDP 2021 Plenary: Mark Bayer

Mark Bayer, former Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives during a 20-year career working in Congress, will join NORDP 2021 for an afternoon plenary on Monday, May 3. This plenary is presented by Elsevier.

For more than 200 years, evidence-based public policies, rooted in facts and sound science, have been a cornerstone of our democracy. Consequently, the marginalization of scientific expertise ultimately affects policymaking; it warps our laws and regulations, enables harmful activities dangerous to public health and well-being, and erodes confidence in our systems of government. The impacts extend to society from there.

How can Research Development professionals push back against the ongoing assault on science? According to Bayer there are ways to change minds when alternative “facts” and misinformation take root in our organizations.

Join Mark Bayer and leave armed to lay a foundation for cooperation; how to detect alternative facts and artfully dispel them; how to use the power of “gilt by association” to defuse difficult situations; and how to use Emotional Intelligence tools to reduce friction, align interests and increase effectiveness. Please see a brief video from Mark below. To send an anonymous response to his video message, visit this link: https://bbemaildelivery.com/bbext/?p=video_land&id=6cab1b31-ad20-9463-ff96-58f58e76099f

Mark designs and delivers interactive, true-to-life training that gives scientists and engineers proven, powerful tools for effectively navigating the policy environment in Washington, DC. Mark teaches scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs the same methodology he used in Congress to rapidly distill complex policies, craft strategies to advance high-profile initiatives, and concisely explain them to Members of Congress and journalists from leading media outlets, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostUSA TodayThe Boston Globe, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, AP, and many others.

Mark has been touted in Politico for his “decades of superlative experience” serving as a Congressional staff member. His work on how to combat alternative facts has appeared in Science and The New Yorker. Mark has been featured in IEEE-USA’s “Lessons on Leadership” column, and he serves as a guest lecturer in the Science Policy Bootcamp course at Cornell University’s Meining School of Engineering. 

Host of the weekly podcast When Science Speaks, Mark explores communications, science policy, and career issues affecting grad students, PhDs, and Postdocs in engineering and the natural and social sciences. Mark is a magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Master in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

NORDP 2021 Plenary: Robert M. Sellers

Robert M. Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan, will deliver a plenary presentation to NORDP discussing how Research Development professionals are uniquely situated to help dismantle racism in academia. 

The title of his talk, to be delivered from 11 a.m. – Noon EDT on Wednesday, May 5, is “How Research Development Professionals Can Be Change Agents for Promoting Anti-Racism within the Academy.”

Research Development staff serve as a bridge and key connection in the production of scholarly work at their institutions. Dr. Sellers’ presentation will look at how they can incorporate anti-racist strategies and help faculty, students and colleagues overcome racism that they encounter in their work or studies. He will share his experiences from his thirty plus years in higher education as a faculty member, department chair, and Chief Diversity Officer at Research 1 institutions to help demonstrate how Research Development professionals can be advocates in the academy and beyond.

Dr. Sellers also serves as the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Professor of Education. His primary research has focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans, and he has developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity that is used by other researchers. 

He has conducted research on the life experiences of student athletes and is a co-founder of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. The center serves a dual-purpose, conducting action-oriented research on the healthy development of African American youth, as well as a training ground for future researchers.

In his current role, Dr. Sellers is responsible for managing the University’s five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion and serves as a principal adviser to the President.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

Investing in You: Exciting News from the Mentoring Committee

As NORDP has grown, so has the NORDP Mentoring Program. The NORDP Board of Directors has invested in a mentoring software program designed to provide a more robust mentoring experience for NORDP members. A number of mentoring software companies were invited to provide demonstrations and respond to a request for proposals, and after careful vetting, Wisdom Share was selected as the vendor. With the software, positive changes are coming to the NORDP Mentoring Program. Here are some of the highlights:

  • To align with the NORDP Program Year, the official start for the mentoring program is July 1
  • Applications for the Mentoring Program will open in early May
  • As always, you can be both a mentor and a mentee
  • The software matches mentors and mentees using a proprietary, tested algorithm that has been adapted to support the unique skills and abilities of research development professionals
  • Matching will be completed by mid-June
  • Once matched, program participants will have access to tools to guide the mentoring relationship, including a dashboard to track progress, milestones to support the process, partner information at a glance, a resource library that provides content on mentoring best practices and ways to communicate securely over the platform

Participants in Peer Mentoring Groups will also benefit from the Wisdom Share infrastructure. There are resources, tools, and communication platforms for each group. And, the software has the capacity to support other NORDP programs and services that leverage members’ skills and knowledge.

During the coming weeks, there will be a Mentoring Town Hall, and additional blog posts with more detailed information. At the Conference, be sure to check out David Widmer’s overview of how mentor-mentee matches are made utilizing the software’s ability to assess some basic personality traits and preferences around communication, as well as the career-related demographic and experiential factors the Mentoring Committee has employed in prior years. This Lightning Talk will open our Mentoring Lightning Storm on Wednesday, May 5, 3:45 PM EST. Also, watch for software demos throughout May and early June; Mentoring Committee (MC) members will be available to help with the registration process, if needed.

This is an exciting next step for the NORDP Mentoring Program. MC member Jennifer Glass (Eastern Michigan University) summed it up nicely: This takes the Mentoring Program to the next level!

So, thank you to the NORDP Board of Directors, MC members, current and former mentors and mentees, and those of you who participate in Peer Mentoring Groups. Your commitment to mentoring has provided the motivation and justification for this organizational investment.

Consider this an invitation to start thinking about participating in or continuing your participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program…and stay tuned for more!

Featured NORDP 2021 Session: “Mindfulness” with Dr. Kelcey Stratton

Dr. Kelcey Stratton will join NORDP members for a mindfulness session during the NORDP 2021 conference on Monday, May 3rd at 1:45pm EDT. Her session will focus on skills to mindfully pause, improve presence, and cultivate gratitude, compassion, and positive emotions. Participants will have a chance to practice evidence-based strategies to manage moments of stress and support their well-being.

Dr. Stratton is a clinical psychologist and the Program Manager for Resilience and Well-Being Services in the Michigan Medicine Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. In this role, she develops programs and strategies to enhance well-being for faculty and staff at Michigan Medicine. She has a particular interest in the areas of stress and resilience, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and the use of narrative and reflective practices.

Prior to coming to University of Michigan, Dr. Stratton lived and worked in South Africa for several years, where she served as a mental health clinician and consultant to Peace Corps volunteers and medical providers in over 65 countries. She has also worked as a clinician and researcher in the VA health system, where she focused on post-traumatic stress concerns. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

Early Bird Registration Rates for NORDP 2021 Close Next Week

The Early Bird Member Registration price for NORDP 2021 is $149; Early Bird Nonmember pricing is $249. Early bird rates close March 31st – register soon to save! Registration is open on our registration page HERE.

The full schedule and registration are now available. The schedule at a glance and a downloadable PDF of the detailed schedule can be found HERE.

NORDP 2021 features over three full days of content delivered virtually. Registrants will have access to all recorded sessions from conference week.

The bulk of the conference content will take place May 3-6. In addition,
Pre-conference events start April 26 and feature more than 7 hours of pre-recorded 20-minute oral sessions. Post-conference events, starting May 10, feature more roundtables. Note: Pre-conference roundtable registration has already filled and the currently available post-conference roundtables will be full very soon.

We hope to see you at NORDP 2021!

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

Hats Off to First 2021 NORDP Mentor Training Workshop Participants!

The NORDP Mentoring Committee’s Mentor Training Team held the first mentor training workshop of 2021. Twenty NORDP members from 19 states and provinces participated in the 5-week workshop, covering the 9-module Entering Mentoring curriculum initially developed for research mentors and tailored by the NORDP Mentoring Committee for RD professionals. Developed in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER), RD professionals explored key mentoring competencies that can benefit RD mentors and mentees that have been associated with improved career outcomes, employee engagement and retention, and more inclusive work environments. The workshop was facilitated by NORDP members Jan Abramson, Kristin Boman, Paula Carney, Tabitha Finch, Rachel Goff-Albritton, Kathy Partlow, and Samarpita Sengupta. All participants and facilitators are invited to join a NORDP Mentor Training Circle and participate in other Mentoring Committee activities. The next Mentor Training Workshop is being planned and will be announced soon. If you would like to be contacted when the next workshop series is scheduled, please complete this form. Registration is limited to 30 NORDP members.

Kristin BeckAlexia Kelley
Gagan BajajElizabeth Lathrop
Antoinette BlairKathryn Lindl
Sarah BridgesSuzanne Lodato
Jamie BurnsKatie Pelland
Lynsey FitzpatrickMary Ann Pollmann-Mudryj
Jenna IsaksonGeoffrey Pollock
Ashley KapronEvelina Sterling