Conference Cameo: Sowmya Anand

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 

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Who: Sowmya Anand, Research Development Manager
Where: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Number of years in research development: 2
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
How do you unwind?: Reading (some more), cooking, or watching cooking shows

I came to Research Development either 1 year ago or 24 years ago, depending on how you define it. My first experience with Research Development involved helping a faculty member write a small piece of a project narrative for a proposal in the year before I graduated with a PhD. After a brief career as a marketing research professional with Gallup, which seemed ideal as I am a trained social psychologist in conducting research in the area of attitudes and measurement, I came back to academic research (and to the US). The second time around as a postdoctoral researcher, I helped prepare and submit two proposals to NSF that were selected for funding. This preparation helped a lot when I moved to the University of Illinois to be a Project Coordinator with the Survey Research Laboratory, where I prepared many, many more proposals for all sorts of sponsors: large and small, for- and not-for-profit, private and public. Working in a small unit, on many projects I was the proposal developer, the grant administrator, and the research scientist. About a year and a half ago, amid concerns that the lab was going to close permanently, I saw a job posting for a Research Development Manager (RDM), and thought, “This is exactly what I do now, minus the research implementation.” I applied for it, and here I am.

SAnand_pic1During the job interview, the only RDM in the office at that time discussed NORDP and the great experiences and opportunities for learning she had attending the conference. So, when another RDM and I joined, we immediately signed up for NORDP membership and made plans to attend our first conference (in 2018). While RD was not new to me from my previous positions, in my first year as RDM, I sometimes felt like I had one foot each in two boats going in different directions – am I a survey methodologist or a RD professional? At the NORDP conference, I met more than one person with a ‘split personality’ like mine, and I even found other survey enthusiasts! I learned a lot about developments in the RD world, which I feel helped me ‘catch up,’ and at a poster session I found people eager and willing to share their solutions to a process problem I was grappling with. There was no question I’d be attending the next conference.

To get the most out of the conference, I would suggest connecting with people at the sessions you attend, at the poster presentations, and at your lunch table. I also plan to take lots of notes to share with people back at my institution as the information will help us implement plans we are thinking about to advance RD on our campus.

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Sunday We’ll Be Together

While #NORDP2019 officially kicks off Monday, April 29, there are many opportunities on Sunday, April 28, to connect with old friends, meet some new ones, orient yourself to the organization and the conference, and volunteer. For those of you coming in on Sunday, please consider taking advantage of the following:

2:30-4:30 pm: Committee Meetings
All members are welcome (and encouraged!) to join NORDP Committees. NORDP is a volunteer-run organization, and we are always looking for members to get involved. You can explore Committee options here. For those who can’t make it, you also will be able to learn more about Committees and speak with members during the Ideas Showcase on Tuesday afternoon.

4:30-5:30 pm:  Activities to Engage with Old and New Members

  • New Member/ First-time Attendee Orientation & Networking: The Member Services Committee welcomes new members and first-time attendees to connect with veteran conference-goers. Meet your Ambassador, and learn how to make the most of conference opportunities. Hear from NORDP President Karen Eck and President-Elect Karen Fletcher, and participate in networking activities to meet new friends.
  • Mentoring Meet-up: Newly matched Mentor/Mentee pairs will meet for the first time face-to-face and get their mentoring relationship off to a solid start. Past Mentee/Mentor pairs also are invited to attend.
  • PUI Kick-off: Congratulations to the newest NORDP Affinity Group–for Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs)! If you’re interested in engaging with this group of NORDP professionals to share perspectives and best practices and contribute to the group’s planning and goals, join them on Sunday.
  • Sponsor Opportunities: Our conference sponsors will be set up and ready to answer your questions about the tools and services they can provide to enhance your RD activities.

5:30-7 pm: Welcome Reception
Our unofficial kick-off! Before heading out for dinner, grab a drink and mingle with your fellow conference-goers. There are multiple built-in networking opportunities throughout the conference–and these are wonderful chances to expand your base of knowledge and contacts. Remember your business cards!

7 pm: Dinner Options
Several dinner engagements will be taking place, including Committee Dinners, New Member Dinners and Sponsor Receptions & Dinners. If you’re looking for additional options, visit our  conference website or use our interactive map for recommendations from locals.

8-11 pm: Research on the Rocks
This is the inaugural of a new evening option–an informal opportunity to mix and mingle after conference hours in the hotel bar.

Volunteering
There is still a plethora of opportunities to donate your time at the conference! Lead a walk/run/bike, host a networking dinner, commit to #NORDP2019 #tweet #promos,  or help run the registration desk. View all options on the website here.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Cameo: Sarah E. Robertson

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 

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Who:  Sarah E. Robertson, PhD, Director, Office of Sponsored Projects and Research
Where: University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 3
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: Scientist – I was fascinated with the natural world and microscopes.

When I’m talking about my research development career, I’m never quite sure where to start. Like so many others I’ve met through NORDP, I stuck my toe into the water of research development while in previous positions. After finding NORDP and spending time with the other amazing members, I’ve found that our identities as research development professionals coalesce.

SarahRobertson-headshotAs the go-to reviewer for the applications and articles of my grad school classmates at Penn, I found that I loved reading about various areas of research, not focusing just on my protein of interest. After graduation, I found my way to the American Association for Cancer Research where I wore many hats, including grant writer and review committee administrator. I then went on to another cancer research foundation to manage their grant portfolio. In this role, I did everything from RFA creation to peer review to awarded grant oversight. Having those close experiences with grant applications made me fall in love with the early phase of research: the time when a PI can dream about what they want to do and how to do it. It also allowed me to continue to have broad exposure to many types of research.

However, after serving in a Program Officer/Sponsored Research Officer role for many years, I became frustrated with seeing good science go unfunded—especially when it went unfunded for errors I could have fixed! I also wanted to be able to talk with the researchers more often, so I decided to move back to academia where I could directly help PIs improve their applications.  University of the Sciences in Philadelphia has fulfilled my desire to build strong relationships with my faculty and has exposed me to even more areas of research.

As USciences is a PUI, my office is small and we provide both research administration and research development services. The NORDP annual meeting has been a great resource for me to build our trainings and tools. Since I do not devote all my time to research development, it has been invaluable to have that time to focus, learn new skills, network and bring back different ideas to try with applicants. Everyone I have met through NORDP has been extremely generous with their time and knowledge. I strongly encourage attendees to go to the networking dinners and other events where you can meet someone new. You never know what you will learn next!

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Funding Agency Sessions at NORDP 2019

There will be a number of sessions at #NORDP2019 hosted by representatives of federal funding agencies. This is a great opportunity to learn more about future agency priorities or trends, and ask specific questions about funding opportunities and strategies for responding to FOAs. If you wish to schedule a one-on-one meeting with these representatives, you can sign up HERE.

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Suzanne Iacono, Head of the Office of Integrative Activities, National Science FoundationNSF_4-Color_bitmap_Logo

 

Meghan Houghton

 

Meghan Houghton, Senior Advisor for Strategic Engagements, Directorate for Computer and Information Science & Engineering (CISE), National Science Foundation

 

Dr. Iacono will present Strategies for Successful Broader Impacts (Monday, 3:15-5:15 pm) with Brown University’s Amy Carroll, and discuss NSF’s Strategic Initiatives and Integrated Activities (Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 pm) with Dr. Houghton.

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Mark Mirando, National Program Leader of Animal Nutrition, Growth & Reproduction, USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture

 

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Robin Barr, Director, Division of Extramural Activities, NIH National Institute on Aging

 

Drs. Mirando and Barr will be featured in a Funder Spotlight on Tuesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Waterplace I.

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Lisa Friedersdorf, Director, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office

Dr. Friedersdorf will be featured in a Funder Spotlight on Quantum Information Science on Tuesday, 9:45-10:45 a.m., in Waterplace I.

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Browning_Valerie_1711208 DoD-Logo

 

Valerie Browning, Director, Defense Science Office, DARPA

 

 

Dr. Browning will present at a Funder Spotlight on Tuesday, 2:15-3:15 p.m., with Brown University’s Jill Pipher.

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#NORDP2019 start Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Spotlight: Mindfulness Sessions for Self-Care

Ever feel overwhelmed, anxious or burned out? Ever feel like you spend so much time taking care of others that you can’t focus on yourself? Does your daily stress lead to unhealthy habits?

At #NORDP2019 in Providence, you can choose from a range of activities for a healthy start to your mornings. Every day of the conference at 6 am, as we have in past years , we are offering opportunities for an invigorating walk, run or bike with fellow conference-goers. And a new option this year is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction sessions, for relaxation and focus. (Each of these activities is seeking volunteers to help facilitate: sign up here to lead a walk/bike route, or here to help with Mindfulness.)

Further, we are thrilled to offer a presentation from renowned expert Judson Brewer, MD, PhD. Dr. Brewer is the Director of Research and Innovation at the Mindfulness Center and Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the Brown University School of Medicine. c26509b2fb6f78fd26045fdfce39d293ab458400_254x191He also is a research affiliate at MIT.

See Dr. Brewer during Concurrent Session I:

How to Hack Our Craving Minds for Better Health

Tuesday, 8:30-9:30 am
Providence Rooms II & III
How do habits form, and why are they so hard to break? In 2014, Time magazine declared a “mindful revolution” due to its growing popularity and research suggesting that mindfulness may help to treat a number of health-related problems from anxiety to addiction. However, little is known about how (and how well) it works. In this talk, Dr. Brewer, a world-renowned expert in behavior change, will map how our minds form habits, and how we can use mindfulness training to hack this same learning process to break out of unhealthy habits ranging from emotional eating to anxiety. He will highlight the scientific research underlying behavior change using examples from clinical studies of app-based mindfulness training for smoking (Craving to Quit), eating (Eat Right Now) and anxiety (Unwinding Anxiety), as well as brain imaging studies from his lab. He will also show how we can tap into our reward-based learning systems to build our natural capacities of awareness, kindness, and curiosity.

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#NORDP2019 start Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Cameo: Archie Pitsilides

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 
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Who: Archie Pitsilides, Director, Grants & Outreach
Where: Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business
Number of years in research development: 11
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? Istanbul, Turkey: People, Culture, Food!

I came to work in the research development field as a third profession. Prior to commencing my career in academia, I held a variety of management positions in the archie headshot (2)hospitality industry, followed by directing customs brokerage services for U.S. importers.  In the early part of the millennium, I returned to the university as a non-traditional student to earn an MBA and an M.A. in Spanish, in part because my spouse accepted a tenure-track position at Texas Tech University. As I was contemplating the next chapter in my professional career, a position was serendipitously announced – as a research associate for a Department of Education-funded program that was working to internationalize curriculum to serve faculty, students, and the U.S. trade community.  This position merged my newly acquired academic skill set with my business experience in international trade. From there, I was hooked. I was fortunate to have a great faculty mentor who took the time to introduce me to and help me navigate both the research and funding environments, while the college supported my professional development through attendance at various grant writing and research workshops. As the Rawls College enhanced its focus on the importance of obtaining grant funding, I was promoted to my current position of Director of Grants and Outreach.

As a grants director, I work to develop and secure funding opportunities for both faculty and students in the areas of business education, research and program development. I provide life-cycle services that include curating opportunities that align with the unique interests of business faculty, proposal editorship, budget development, and pre- and post-award management. In the past few years, the college has made a commitment to supporting interdisciplinary research in an effort to incentivize faculty and enhance the collaborative research environment across the university. This emphasis on collaboration has enabled me to work with a diverse group of investigators and teams from our colleges of education, engineering, media and communications, and visual and performing arts. As with all funding efforts, some proposal teams met with great successes while others had some tough defeats.  Alas, such is the life in the dynamic world of RD.

Inasmuch as last year was the first time I attended the conference, I can honestly say I was genuinely impressed with both the variety and caliber of the conference session offerings. While I often self-selected into the break-outs that paralleled my interests, I did consciously make it a point to discover insights on at least one new area of research. More specifically, I chose to attend a session which focused on early stage investigators in biomedical sciences. This session allowed me to gain a different perspective on mentoring and training early career faculty and provided me with some ideas how to engage program officers to their benefit. To that, end, my insider tip is to make room in your personal agenda to take advantage of the Ideas Showcase which is scheduled on Tuesday, April 30, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm. If you ever wondered how other institutions pilot programs, achieve results, translate research, or enhance collaboration, do not miss this opportunity to discover a plethora of strategies, processes and people. You will come away with new tools or at least a new way of looking at an old challenge. Finally, enjoy the camaraderie of your peers and make new friends!

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Ask Me: Bright Yellow Buttons and Smiling Faces Welcome You to #NORDP2019

If you are a first-time NORDP conference attendee and lost in the sea of smiling-but-busy-faces, feel free to stop a NORDP Ambassador wearing a bright yellow button that says “Ask Me.” You can ask them about NORDP and how to get the most out of your conference experience, make a connection and a friend!ask_me_buttons

The NORDP Member Services Committee (MSC) launched the Ambassador program last year in an effort to ease first-time conference attendees into the conference experience, provide networking opportunities for first-timers and seasoned attendees alike, and increase engagement with the organization. The program is back, bigger and better, for #NORDP2019.

This year, each first-time attendee is matched with one NORDP Ambassador who is their source of all answers about the conference and the organization. First-time conference attendees and Ambassadors will attend an Orientation and Networking session before the conference begins on Sunday, April 28, 4:30pm-5:30 pm, in the Providence Ballroom.

MSC will have a table by the reception desk, staffed by Ambassadors during breaks to further answer questions. Each Ambassador will be wearing a bright yellow “Ask Me” badge and will be happy to talk/answer questions/network anytime during the conference. Each first-time conference attendee also will have a chance to sign up for a networking dinner hosted by several ambassadors. There will be other opportunities throughout the conference for first-timers to have networking dinners with other NORDP members.

Looking forward to a great conference experience and meeting you all in Providence!

You may contact Samarpita Sengupta (samar.sg@gmail.com) or Sarah Messbauer (smessbauer@ucdavis.edu) with questions about the Ambassador Program.

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.