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Alaska Chapter

By SRAI News posted 08-13-2020 09:07 AM


Alaska Chapter

Jennifer Redmond – President

jredmond.pngA little about me …

I am a life-long Alaskan, an accounting graduate of the University of Idaho, and a Certified Research Administrator.

I have recently taken the position of Grants Administrator with Chugachmiut. Chugachmiut is an Alaska Native 501 (c) 3 non-profit agency incorporated in 1974 to serve the seven Native tribes in the Chugach Region. We provide health and social services, education and training, and technical assistance to the Chugach Native people in a way that is acceptable to Native cultural values and tradition to enhance the well-being of our people by continuing to strengthen the tribes and increase self-determination opportunities for community-operated tribal programs.

Before coming to Chugachmiut I worked at the University of Alaska for eight years. My previous positions at the University as Assistant Director of Pre-Award, Fiscal Manager, and Grant Officer, have given me extensive knowledge of programmatic and fiscal grant administration from the proposal stage of the grant lifecycle to closeout with projects ranging from complex federal grants to foundation awards.

Outside of work, I am the SRAI Alaska Chapter President, an active member of the Bread Line, Inc. Board of Directors whose mission is to “feed people and affirm lives,” and I enjoy spending time with my husband, two young boys, and bernedoodle Banksy.

What have I liked most about being a Research Administrator?

A research administration career connects you to hope and discovery if you let it. From supporting groundbreaking cancer research through compliance oversight to managing proposals to end poverty. Allowing yourself to connect with the projects and proposals that you support will make that student stipend more than just a budget line, but possibly a lifeline to that student. That request for additional funding for a rural community ambulance more than a formal application but a life-saving improvement.  This career gives back what you put in, and it continues to give me hope and fulfillment. As we move through these uncertain times, I am grateful for the hard-working Research Administrators that keep these programs and projects going through thick and thin, Zoom call after Zoom call.

Alaskans – no more expensive travel to get world-class professional development!

The world continues to change, like SRAI providing almost all professional development and meetings virtually. For Alaskans, whose travel costs are pretty exorbitant to go outside the State, this is an exciting opportunity. The new virtual professional development opportunities that SRAI is offering have been, and continue to be, enlightening, professional, and relevant. I want to especially thank the SRAI team for your devoted work to making the Annual Meeting an impressive a virtual opportunity for us all. I hope my fellow Alaskans take full advantage of the month-long Annual Meeting offerings in October. I know I will be!

Elizabeth Dickenson – President Elect

edickenson.pngAs a Research Administrator, I am able to positively impact my organization, and in turn my community, through the work that I do on a daily basis. I currently work for a non-profit organization in Anchorage, Alaska. Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) offers an array of integrated programs, including nurturing families, growing graduates, finding jobs, and achieving sobriety, serving over 12,000 people each year. With a primary service area in the Cook Inlet region of southcentral Alaska, CITC not only serves Our People, but all who come through the doors. The mission of my organization gives me purpose in what I do and drives me to accomplish all that I can when I am working at the office, named Nat’uh, which means ‘our special place’.

I joined the Compliance Team at CITC last year, coming from the University of Alaska Anchorage. I gained a deep and broad understanding of research administration while there, working at the department and central levels. It was through these varied perspectives I was able to lead the Office of Sponsored Programs as the Acting Director.

I have extensive experience working with all aspects of the life cycle of a grant. From pre-award proposal preparation, review, approval, and submittal, to contract review, negotiation and execution, award acceptance, post-award grant management through closeout, compliance, personnel management, creating policy and procedure, developing and implementing organization-wide trainings, organizing internal and external audits, and working with federal, state, private industry stakeholders, I have developed into a well-rounded Research Administrator.

It is through my strong communication and leadership skills that others have come to rely on my expert knowledge to guide them. I serve my organization passionately, have a dedication to serving in the most efficient way possible, and have a style of proactive leadership that creates a positive work environment for everyone on my team.

Shannon Watson – Secretary & Treasurer

swatson.pngAll throughout high-school I grew up never knowing what I wanted to be or what to do with my life. I had ideas, but alas I have no singing voice so being a rock-star wasn’t in the cards. After high school and some college, I worked various jobs in retail, still trying to figure this out. Unhappy in my job position at the time, I applied for a University of Alaska fiscal-tech position back in 2001. It was a significant pay-cut from what I had been making, but I needed the change. My new job, which started January 2002, was in a research unit making purchases for PI’s, organizing travel, and learning all about what is allowable, allocable, and reasonable. Fast-forward a couple of years and I applied for a fiscal professional position, in the same department, managing a large Department of Energy cooperative agreement. Those years were when real learning took place. The University hosted many sessions on the differences between grants, cooperative agreements, and gifts, as well as different procurement mechanisms along with workshops on federal guidelines. Years later I made another jump into a larger unit managing grants, cooperative agreements, foreign awards, still not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. Then about 8 years ago I decided it was time to get my CRA (especially since, at that time, it came with a slight salary increase if you passed). Since January 2019, I have been working for Alaska’s NSF EPSCoR office as their fiscal manager for our Fire & Ice project. It’s a large cooperative agreement with a large match component. It’s been an exciting change and there’s still plenty of learning. Throughout the years, my husband, family, and friends have asked me what I do at my job. Those in research administration know that isn’t the easiest question to answer. Nowadays I usually tell people I work with grants and help folks spend the money legally.  It seems easier than trying to explain all the details.

I enjoy spending time with my husband, our two daughters, and two dogs.  My oldest is out of the house, but our youngest still lives at home and will be a junior in high school this year.  We usually spend our summers traveling for soccer or doing something soccer-related.  I’ve also recently started going back to school.  I also have a position on staff-council at our University, am the Treasurer for my youngest's soccer team, and our local church organization, and I also volunteering time as Secretary for SRAI. 

And, while I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow-up, I figured being content and happy where I’m at in life is perfectly okay with me. 

Authored by Jennifer Redmond, Grant Administrator
Chugachmiut, Inc.
SRAI Alaska Chapter President