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2021 SRAI Award Winners

By SRAI News posted 09-09-2021 12:03 PM


2021 SRAI Award Winners

Let’s come together to recognize this year’s SRAI award winners! SRAI acknowledges individuals who inspire others and serve as a model for the profession of research administration. The Awards Subcommittee was excited to have so many worthy nominations this year, and the winners are truly top of their field. Being recognized by your peers is a great honor. Read below to see this year’s winners and what this honor means to them. Please plan to join us in New Orleans at the 2021 Annual Meeting and clap loudly for these distinguished research administrators!

The Herbert B. Chermside Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research Administration

This Award is named after an SRA International member who first joined only two years after the Society was formed and then spent the rest of his career working towards the advancement of the profession of research administration. He was known as a mentor to many, and a dedicated research administrator to all.

Jennifer Shambrook, PhD, Director of Sponsored Programs, Office of Research and Instructor, Master of Research Administration Program, University of Central Florida

Receiving the Chermside Award is the greatest honor of my career. Herb Chermside tirelessly worked toward contributing to the professional development of research administrators. He mentored me for the first half of my career. Past recipients of this award are people who have contributed so much to my own professional growth, such as Marjorie Piechowski, Patricia Buennemeyer, Bill Schweri, Collin Cooper, Ed Gabriele, Jean Feldman, Dorothy Yates, Lynne Chronister, Elliott Kulakowski, Geoff Grant, Donna Marano, Mark Hochman and Ken Beasley. I would have never known these great people, or have had the rich professional development opportunities in which I have taken part, had it not been for SRAI. This organization allows any one of us to participate in the mission of advancing research administration as a profession.

Hartford-Nicholsen Award

Established to recognize SRAI members whose services demonstrate leadership in the Society, and who have made a major, distinguishable contribution which has been of benefit to the entire Society. Until 1973, this award was entitled the Distinguished Service Award and is still rooted in the critical importance of SRA International as a group of volunteers. Individuals who are nominated for this award have contributed their professional expertise to the Society in an important and fundamental way.

This year’s recipients are Heather Kraus and Annedorte Vad.

Heather Kraus, Director of Research Administration, University of Michigan

I am humbled to be chosen to receive the Hartford-Nicholsen Award.  I have been mentored by so many great mentors in SRAI over the years and I am grateful for each and every one of them. Without them I wouldn't have come this far and been able to share my love and passion for what I do each and every day.

Annedorte Vad, Head of Administration Københavns Universitet Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen

It makes me very happy and proud to receive an award for service to the society. I have always been very fond of volunteering and I am very grateful and thankful to my peers who took the time to nominate me and write letters of support. It means a lot. Thank you.

Excellence Award

This award was established in 1977, in honor of the Society's 10th anniversary. Recognizes up to three SRA members who have excelled in meeting the Society's purpose of expanding the knowledge and tools of research administration. Winners are selected as no more than one each from the categories of: newcomer (less than 5 years), mid-career (5 – 10 years) or advanced professional (more than 10 years).

Advanced Professional

Debbie Pettitt, Senior Grants Management Officer, National Institutes of Health

Being selected to receive the Excellence Award-Advanced Professional is an honor and I thank Gloria Greene for nominating me for the award. It means a lot to me that Gloria and other SRAI members believe I have excelled in meeting SRA’s purpose of expanding the knowledge and tools of research administration. It is an even greater honor to be placed in such distinguished ranks as those of the past honorees, some of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the past 10+ years. There are so many deserving individuals of this award, so receiving this award encourages me to continue sharing my knowledge with others to help enhance their careers in research administration and encouraging others to become more involved with SRAI and enjoy all the benefits of being a SRAI member.


Courtney Hunt, PhD, Research Manager, University of Houston

I have had the pleasure of contributing to numerous outstanding SRAI initiatives to support knowledge transfer and professional development in research administration. I am honored to receive the Mid-Career Excellence Award in recognition of these efforts. 


Katie Wu, CRA, Grant Management Specialist, Southern Methodist University

I am honored and thankful to be recognized for the SRAI Excellence Award. This recognition is a proof of my commitment to excellence and dedication of my contributions to the research administration field. I plan to use this achievement to inspire and encourage other professionals to communicate, collaborate, and contribute more to the research community.

The Technology Innovation and Application Award

Established in 2010, this award, open to an individual or a team, showcases and recognizes innovations and applications in using technology in promoting, processing or advancing research administration operations. Regardless of the media, innovations significantly move an office forward using the technologies that best reflect the goals proposed.

Benaroya Research Institute Team

Top row: Ryan Benton, Senior Analyst, Grants & Contracts Administration; Anna Bjork, UX/UI Developer & Product Manager; Linda Dement, Senior Analyst, Grants & Contracts Administration

Center row: Emily Deutsch, Director, Grants & Contracts Administration; Annie Feng, Specialist, Grants & Contracts Administration; Jim Folline, Database Analyst

Bottom row: Ezra Graziano, Analyst, Grants & Contracts Administration; Robyn Meshulam, Intermediate Software Engineer; Charlie Quinn, Director, Research Information Systems

From Emily Deutsch: This award represents effective collaboration and team spirit for the many members of our institute who participated in creating ACES (Allocation Certification of Effort System).  The system greatly improves a process that challenges many in research administration.  We built a system that maintains compliance, improves budget forecasting, and creates better monitoring and dialogue between science and administration.  Being recognized with this award is wonderful!

John Robinson Travel Award

The John Robinson Travel award was established in 2012 to support speakers in their early career to further their professional development. The award is given each year and supports travel arrangements for speakers accepted to present at the SRAI Annual Meeting. Through this award, SRA International acknowledges an endowment from John Robinson to honor his contributions to the Society by encouraging active participation of current SRAI members in the conference agenda.

Jerod Kersey, CRA - Senior Contract/Grant Administrator, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Being recognized with the John Robinson Travel Award is a humbling experience that allows me to continue to work towards and achieve my goal to be an active leader and educator in the Research Administration field.  It also allows me the opportunity to participate in and present at my first SRA Annual Meeting.  I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and look forward to continuing to grow with SRA.

Annual Meeting Scholarship

The Annual Meeting Scholarship was established in 2016 and given for the first time the same year. Through different initiatives by SRAI, AmazonSmile, #GivingTuesday and donations by members, the Annual Meeting Scholarships will allow two (2) recipients to benefit from leading edge education and networking opportunities offered at the Annual Meeting each year.

Saima Aleem, Aga Khan University Hospital

It will mean a lot for me as I will get the chance to meet different people from different organization and I will definitely learn new things.

Adebiyi Dele Ogunbamise, Research Administrator, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos (No picture submitted)

Authored by 2021 SRAI Awards Committee