Future of the Field

Congratulations to the class of 2022 Future of the Field recipients. These individuals represent the most radiant of those rising stars, from all around the US and internationally. We are very proud to have them as our colleagues, mentors, co-workers and friends.

Future of the Field Honorees

ameenakshi_f.jpg Meenakshi Annamalai
Associate Director
Yale-NUS College c/o National University of Singapore

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I have been fostering research, spearheading grant management unit and various academic programs at NUS for more than ten years. Prior to joining Yale-NUS College, I was a doctoral student at NUS, and worked at the NUS Nanoscience Institute as a Research Professional for over five years, responsible for Grant Administration, Higher Learning Programs, Postgraduate Entrepreneurship Launchpad, Aspiring High School Students Enrichment Program, Organization’s Web Presence and Experimental Material Science Research. Having successfully handled administration of several programs and published in prestigious journals, I discovered that I could support research capacity for individuals at a multi-divisional institution having an even greater impact through mentorship and strategic leadership. Hence, took on a full-time role in research administration at Yale-NUS College and enjoy every moment of my work! I have developed strategic initiatives enabling greater capacity among faculty while promoting interdisciplinary, national/international collaboration. I implemented many new programs and policies, and more than doubled faculty grant submissions which is a promising sign of increased confidence, motivation and interest in the faculty in applying for major external funding.

/jvanarsdall_f.jpg Jourden Ashi
Research Administrator II
Michigan State University

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Jourden began her career in research in 2014 as a Clinical Research Coordinator and joined Michigan State University in 2015 with the Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute (CSTI) department. She has experience with federal, industry-funded and PI-initiated clinical trials and post award management. She joined the Health Colleges Research Services (HCRS) in January 2020 with a primary focus on pre-award where she manages large and complex proposals. Jourden has worked with multiple funding agency including NIH, CDC, DoD, and numerous foundations. Jourden maintains the Essentials of Research Administration certification and is an active member of the Sponsored Programs Research Opportunities and University Training (SPROUT) committee. She is always looking for the newest challenge and a more difficult proposal to help her grow both professionally and personally. Jourden loves research administration and is determined to make a powerful impact in the field as her mentors have done before her.

nophoto.jpg Jennifer Barrows
Coordinator - Grants and Contracts
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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Statement not available.

kbone_f.jpg Karen Bone
Proposal Administrator
Florida Atlantic University

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I have been a research administrator for eight years, first as a Proposal Analyst at Texas Tech University and later as a Grant Coordinator at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute before moving to the central office. I joined SRAI in 2015 and have served as the Southern Section Secretary, President-Elect, President, and now Immediate Past President. In 2018 I received the John Robinson Travel Award and presented at the 2018 SRAI Annual Meeting in Orlando. One of my favorite activities has been serving as the Co-editor for the Catalyst since October 2020 and getting to work with my fellow co-editor and committee members. I’ve also enjoyed getting to help with trainings, either one-on-one or in group settings at my institution. I look forward to continuing to be active in SRAI, learn more about the different facets of research administration, and grow within my institution.

hdarling_f.jpg Heather Darling
Senior Program Manager
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and joined Vanderbilt University in 2009 as a research assistant within the Center for Structural Biology. In 2015 she transitioned to laboratory manager. Throughout this role she assisted with pre-award, post-award, and everything in between, allowing her to explore career options beyond experimental wet lab work. Heather obtained her PMP certification in December 2020. She shifted to her current role in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center in 2021 where she focuses on strategic planning, post award scientific progress reports, and leads a small team of project managers. Design thinking is frequently applied. She is proud of seeing her team learn, grow, and flourish after dismantling a silo mentality management approach. Her other enjoyment comes from seeing graduate students navigate through the doctorate process. She will continue education through SRAI certificates, Project Management Institute webinars, and graduate courses.

kdavis_f.jpg Kelley Davis
Grant Officer
Dartmouth College

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Kelley Davis is a Grant Officer at Dartmouth College serving the Thayer School of Engineering. Previously, at the University of Kentucky, Kelley served as a Research Administrator, Conflict of Interest Administrator and most recently as a Grants Program Coordinator from 2011-2022. Kelley holds a BS in Agricultural Biotechnology and an MS in Toxicology and worked as a bench researcher in the fields of cancer biology and spinal cord injury.

Kelley believes the difference between good work and great work is attention to detail and collaboration and feels incredibly fortunate to have worked at two institutions which provided excellent opportunities for her growth and development in research administration. Kelley looks forward to growing in her position at Dartmouth College and in the long-term would like to pursue management in Research Administration.

In 2020, Kelley became a Certified Research Administrator and in November of 2021, was honored as an SRAI LevelUP All Star.

mdavis_updated_f.jpg Mimi Davis
Senior Manager, Grants and Contracts
Campus Grants Management Team, Duke University

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I have been an RA for approximately eight years and got my start by accident. While working in clinical trials, I was recommended for a financial position but instead found RA as a way to combine my interests in research and finances. Over the years, I have grown from an administrator to senior manager. A proud moment in this profession was becoming the Secretary for the NC Chapter of SRAI for the 2021-2023 term. Soon I will add President of the chapter to my list of accomplishments. In order to expand my networking community and to push my boundaries, I became a mentee in the Odyssey Program meeting my mentor, Sandra Justice, Associate Director, Research and Innovation, USF (University of South Florida). She has been an invaluable support system, encourager, and mentor this year enabling me to excel beyond my comfort zone into the next level as an RA.

mduvivant_f.jpg Melissa Dunivant
Senior Proposal Analyst
University of Colorado Boulder

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My start in research administration stemmed from my desire for a career in higher education. In 2011, as a recent graduate I began working in an administrative role at the University of Colorado Boulder, being introduced to NIH proposals, progress reports, and any NIH-related research administration topics. In 2017 I moved to the Office of Contracts and Grants support research from a central office perspective.

My knowledge and skill-set have been greatly expanded since then; I feel that I now have an actual impact on my office, team, and the development of campus policies, and I serve on many committees and initiatives. Redeveloping our NIH Proposal Checklists was a major achievement as it has been a valuable tool for our PIs and AORs. I continue to absorb as much as I can (particularly surrounding NIH topics) to be a valuable resource for all!

jedwards_f.jpg Jamila Edwards
Pre-Award Manager Public Health and Nursing Research Administration Services
Emory University

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Like many in our field I became a research administrator without direct intent. I was a graduate student in public finance looking to make a career change when I received the advice that any additional expertise I could garner would be valuable. I was also working part-time for the institution I was attending, and working on some grant proposals for my department was a project that fell into my lap. I decided to learn as much as I could and have never looked back. Eleven years later, after completing a doctorate in Higher Education administration and moving into a leadership role in research administration I am most proud of my continued commitment to learning and growing as an administrator and leader. I am also proud of the work that I have done to continuously improve processes and policy at my institution and my ongoing commitment to training and sharing the knowledge and expertise that I have gained. I look forward to continuing to grow as a leader in the field.

afong_f.jpg Ann Fong
Director, Office of Research Services

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Based on my experience in reviewing various research and commercialization contracts, plus my knowledge of and familiarity with the university and research environment, I was provided with the opportunity to establish a research services office (RSO) at my organization, TRIUMF, in 2017. My supervisor at that time encouraged me to become a member of SRAI and to start attending the various educational programs offered, as well as to build up my network. I am most proud of leading TRIUMF's effort in applying for and becoming recognized as an eligible institution by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Canada). I have now worked in research administration for four years and as Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Section, I'm excited to be working with our President on ways to attract more members and deliver more value to the overall SRAI membership.

sgaugler_f.jpg Sarah Gaugler
Contracts and Grants Supervisor
The University of California, Berkeley

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I didn’t intend to end up in research administration. I was actually on track to go to med school, but life had other plans. I took a temp job at UC Davis and realized that I really enjoy the work. By way of UChicago, I landed at UC Berkeley. After five years and advancing quickly, I became a supervisor in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I now manage a fabulous team of brilliant RAs - watching them thrive and grow is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve been a part of. I take great pride in my contributions to the advancement of the RA field by co-leading several campus-wide trainings as a part of the Research Administration Professional Development Program (RAPDP) at UC Berkeley. I am planning to implement a study program for RAs interested in obtaining the Certificate of Research Administration (CRA) over the next year as well.

tgehret_f Timothy Gehret
Senior Contracts Officer
University of Colorado, Boulder

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Timothy (Tim) Gehret is an attorney and Senior Contracts Officer at the University of Colorado (CU), Boulder. A former litigation and criminal defense attorney, Gehret began his research administration career in 2016 at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). His aptitude for contract negotiation and project management combined with the support of various mentors and colleagues have led to several unique opportunities to lead and educate others in the field. Some of his career highlights have been leading the successful launch of Georgia Tech’s Office of Exchange Agreements, overseeing the administration of the institute’s SBIR-STTR subcontracts, presenting for SRAI and serving as chair of SRAI’s research law and contracting working group for the last two years. Gehret is excited about his new role at CU and hopes to one day serve in executive leadership or as a consultant specializing in the area of program implementation.

bha_f.jpg Brooke Ha
Senior Grant Specialist
University of Arkansas

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Throughout my career in research administration, I have had opportunities to participate in many aspects of pre- and post-award and worked at universities of various sizes, public and private, and with centralized and decentralized structures. I was fortunate to have an incredible mentor early in my career who provided me the tools to establish and promote best practices. I enjoy what I do and eager to learn and adapt with the changes and requirements in research administration. I look forward to advancing my career and making a positive impact from sharing my knowledge and experiences with other research administrators.

khalley-octa_f.jpg Kathleen Halley-Octa
Director, Office of Research & Sponsored Projects, Office of Education & Human Development
Georgia State University

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Kathleen began her research administration career in 2012, as a proposal administrator at Kennesaw State University. She then moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she worked in the School of Mechanical Engineering before joining the Office of Sponsored Programs as a trainer. She currently leads a staff of research administrators who provide pre- and post-award support for Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development.

Her proudest accomplishments are founding GSU’s Research Administration Departmental (RAD) Group, a coalition of research administration leaders who work together to solve problems faced by research administrators and researchers across campus, and starting the Access to Careers in Research Administration program, which provides a college-to-career pipeline for students wanting to become research administrators.

Kathleen has been a CRA since 2014. She studied English Literature and holds an MA from the College of Charleston and a BA from the University of Georgia.

dhill_f.jpg Devon Hill
Tier 1 Research Initiative Grant Writer
Oklahoma State University

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Devon Hill is the Tier 1 Research Initiative Grant Writer at Oklahoma State University, Office of Vice President for Research. Here she works with the University’s ‘Grand Challenge’ research groups to develop grant proposals. She reviews requirements, assists with budgets, collaborates closely with faculty on the writing, and conducts final reviews. Additionally, Devon provides training to internal and external faculty, staff, and community partners.

Previous positions at OSU include the A&M System Grant Writer where she worked with the other system institutions on programmatic and institutional level grants, and a Pre-Award Proposal Development Specialist.

Prior to OSU, Devon worked in university development in Scotland, was a Proposal Manager for a human services company, the Market Research Manager for an international commercial real estate consultancy, and an Adjunct Professor of Cultural Anthropology. Devon has a Masters from the University of Chicago and a Bachelors from Mount Holyoke College.

rkinney_f.jpg Rachel Kinney
Director, Research Administration and Sponsored Programs
High Point University

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Like many in research administration, I fell into the field by chance in 2014 and haven’t looked back. I started at Wake Forest University Health Sciences focusing on pre-award and worked my way through the central office soaking up as much knowledge as possible while finding a passion for the complexity of federal contracting. In 2021 I moved on to become the Director of Research Administration and Sponsored Programs at High Point University. Building a research program at a PUI has been a rewarding experience with a new set of challenges requiring creative solutions bringing stakeholders together to implement new policies. Repaying the time invested in me by being a mentor and seeing growth in others has been the highlight of my career. The ever-changing landscape of sponsored programs is what continues to excite me about this field and looking forward to what new learning opportunities lay ahead.

klynam_f.jpg Krys Lynam
Senior College Grant Officer
University of Kentucky Research Foundation

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Little did I know as a theater and communications major I would one day build a career in research administration. I wasn’t even aware there was such a career path. My journey in this field began in Post-Award administration at Morehead State University as a project coordinator for the Kentucky College and Career Readiness Initiative, then continued as the Business and Communications Director for the 21st Century Education Enterprise. An opportunity in MSU’s sponsored projects office introduced me to Pre-Award research administration as a Grants and Contracts Administrator. Three years later, I joined the University of Kentucky Research Foundation Office of Sponsored Projects Administration as a College Grant Officer. I’m proud of my growth as a research administrator and grateful for the opportunities each stage of my career has provided. As a Senior College Grant Officer, I look forward to becoming more active in SRAI and expanding my knowledge base.

mmcgill_f.jpg Melinda McGill-Carlison
Sr. Pre-Award Specialist
Cornell University

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I have spent my entire career, just over seven years, as a research administrator. For me is it the perfect profession; where I can combine my education in business, my love of deadlines and my passion for innovation into one role!

Like most, I fell into the professional purely by chance. While working on my MBA in the evenings, I spent my days completing SBIR/STTR applications for small business clients at InteliSpark, LLC. I enjoyed working with small businesses but aspired to work in higher education. In 2017, I joined Cornell University where I have held roles in both departmental pre-award proposal development and centralized grant/contract negotiation.

I have presented at several conferences, hosted a podcast on burnout, and written a journal article on compliance adherence. Being a research administrator has given me numerous amazing opportunities, and I’m so thankful to be named a Future of the Field recipient!

kmichel_f.jpg Kristin Michel
Pre-Award Program Manager
University of Notre Dame

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Following 18 years as a fundraising professional, Kristin Michel began her research administration career in 2017 when she joined the pre-award team at the University of Notre Dame. She enjoys working with her faculty, the challenge of learning new sponsors and systems, applying her problem-solving skills, having variety in her work, the project-based nature of the work, and the thrill of working successfully against deadlines. She joined NCURA and SRAI to learn more about research administration and to network, and in 2021, she earned her Certified Research Administrator (CRA) credential.

Kristin has prior experience in development, fundraising and grant writing as well as developing and managing budgets, working on capital acquisitions, managing databases and relationship management. She serves on Notre Dame Research’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and on the board of a youth-serving non-profit, the Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County. Kristin has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame.

amills_f.jpg Anita Mills
Director of Enablement
University of Tennessee Space Institute - Huntsville

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I have been fortunate to have worked in academic, industry, government, and military settings, giving me a holistic view of research and education. In my current position as the Director of Enablement for the University of Tennessee Space Institute, I work with leadership, faculty, and academic and industry partners to build teams that solve complex aerospace and defense problems.

I reflect on my journey, as I finish my doctorate at Lipscomb University, which focuses on Leadership and Strategic Change. I realize how important working as a team and mentoring can be to everyone. My plans for the future are to leverage my past experiences as I build teams to achieve great things through collaboration. Embracing our failures and successes are equally important, and I want to encourage and educate others as they make their way through their career

mmingler_f.jpg Melissa Mingler
Business Manager
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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Melissa (Mel) Mingler completed a MS at Michigan State University and an MBA at Xavier University. Mel has 16 years at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as a research assistant and is currently the Business Manager for Allergy/Immunology. Her combined work in research, finance, contracts, grants administration, and management provide experience in many aspects of research administration: establishing budgets, grant submission/management, clinical trial administration, and billing. Mel’s detailed knowledge of research bridges gaps in many business situations. Mel has served three terms as Treasurer and Secretary on the SRAI Ohio Chapter and one term as Treasurer on the SRAI Midwest Section. She would like to help the Midwest Section get back to networking and in-person meetings that significantly have decreased due to COVID. She believes the strong networking opportunities in SRAI lead to career advancement and many great training opportunities. Mel’s leadership can help SRAI navigate through the challenges facing research.

amoakley_f.jpg Amy Moakley
Electronic Research Administrator
University of Oklahoma

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After working over a decade in the financial industry, five years in secondary education and 12 years in insurance, Amy made the decision to combine the skills she had acquired in those fields and put them to use in Research Administration. Her first position was an accounting role on the post award side. She then transitioned to Pre-Award as an electronic research administrator handling compliance review and maintaining account credentials for her organization. During the pandemic, she also assisted with proposal submissions. She is most proud of streamlining the two-factor authentication process that many websites are now requiring and enjoys coming up with new solutions for access to organizational accounts. Amy has been in the field just over four years and is looking forward to expanding her experience, training and knowledge in the years to come. When not at work, Amy enjoys spending time with her three adult children and husband as well as helping her brother design Airbnb properties.

jmorris_f.jpg Jill Morris
Senior Grants Specialist
The Ohio State University/Institute for Population Research

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I fell into a career in research 14 years ago which has been a winding road filled with lots of bumps and many laughs! After getting my master’s in school counseling, I landed my first “temporary” job with an Otolaryngology research group as a Research Coordinator where I learned the basics of grants management and loved it! Next job was a Grants Manager in the Institute for Population Research. Then a promotion to Senior Grants Specialist adding two more departments. I started with a very rudimentary knowledge of the grants administration process but quickly learned by attending many yearly trainings on campus as well as NIH, NSF, and SRAI conferences. My future goal is to get a job at the college or university level where I can be in a leadership position and develop trainings and presentations to present at SRAI. Proudest accomplishment - relationships I have built with colleagues!

mmun_f.jpg Mirna Mun
Grant and Contract Officer Principal
Arizona State University

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Upon earning a Master’s degree in Global Health, Mirna Mun joined the Office for Research and Sponsored Projects Administration at Arizona State University in 2015 when the opportunity presented itself to venture into the “behind the scenes” sphere of research administration which supports the global knowledge enterprise fueled by research.

She is now a Grant and Contract Officer Principal, serving as the main point of contact for departments, investigators, sponsors, and colleagues as part of a team that manages a vast and interdisciplinary portfolio of awards and services a multitude of units across the university. In this role, she relishes in contributing to knowledge exchange and process improvement as cornerstones of advancement in the field, and takes pride in her business communication and cultivating meaningful and effective relationships with collaborators. Having participated in SRAI’s Odyssey Program, becoming a Certified Research Administrator, and joining the Research Administrators Certification Council’s CRA Item Review Committee, Mirna aims to tackle the dearth in knowledge of international research administration next and plans to join SRAI’s Journal of Research Administration Committee.

mnoto_f.jpg Meredith Noto
Associate Director of COI & Export Control
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

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I have worked in research administration since 2015, moving over the years from IACUC staff into an Associate Director role overseeing the Conflict of Interest and Export Control Offices at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. While in prior roles and academic settings, I came to appreciate the complexities of operationalizing regulatory and institutional requirements, leading to an interest in the field of research administration as a career path. I hold an MA in Anthropology and several certifications relating to my position, and am very proud to have completed an MBA in Healthcare Leadership earlier this year. My goals include expanding the scope and efficiencies of my office, proactively planning for changes in the areas of institutional research security and improper external influence, and actively participating in the research administration field through sharing knowledge, ideas, and mistakes. I am so honored to be in the 2022 Future of the Field class.

cparker_f.jpg Cathi Parker
Award Administrator
University of Oklahoma Office of Research Services

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In August 2018, I began working at The University of Oklahoma Office of Research Services with no experience as an Award Administrator, and was told it would take three years to learn the job. To learn more about my role, I completed professional development, including serving as a beta tester for SRAI’s LevelUP module Principles in Research Development and attending the iSRA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, as well as participating in research webinars and various other research training. I have an assigned group of faculty members that I work with as their dedicated Award Administrator, including all faculty with the last names beginning with A-D, plus two additional departments regardless of last names. I also handle all NOAA-related awards including a five-year cooperative agreement. We’ve had three new members join our team in the past six months and I’m considered an asset in training them by my supervisors.

cpigg_f.jpg Carly Pigg
Coordinator of Grants and Development
LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing

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I started in Research Administration by accident. I left teaching after five years in Louisiana public schools and wanted to be home in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I accepted a position at a community college outside of New Orleans and within three years transitioned to their Research Administrator role. I have been in Research Administration since 2008 and have loved every minute of this work. In 2012, I accepted a position at LSU Health New Orleans as a departmental administrator and have been in that role for ten years. The accomplishment I am most proud of was the Department of Labor grant I secured for the community college. They were extremely hard hit by Hurricane Katrina and needed those funds to accelerate their business program offerings. I enjoy presenting and teaching newcomers to the field and hope to continue to expand my teaching and presenting in Research Administration.

spoll_f.jpg Sara Poll
Research Security Compliance Administrator/Policy Analyst
University of Kentucky

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I started in research administration as an administrative assistant coming from a background as a paralegal. I have been in this field for almost seven years and have worked as a research administrator for most of that time negotiating research contracts with for-profit companies and federal agencies. In my tenure, I have gained a passion for the research process and helping to grow the research enterprise. I am particularly honored to have a role in establishing collaborations with local companies, specifically within the bourbon industry to bring forth a new institute that will help facilitate the growth of the spirit industry in my state.

Recently, I transitioned into a new role within the compliance field as it relates to research security and will guide the development and implementation of a new program to comply with recent regulatory guidance. I'm very excited to explore this new field of research administration.

lmothersbaugh_f.jpg Leah Rattie
Associate Proposal Specialist
The Pennsylvania State University

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Leah began her career as a grant writer and “cradle-to-grave” grants administrator for the Clinton County Planning Department in Lock Haven, PA. In 2018, she transitioned from a more general grants administration role to one that focused primarily on research administration after accepting a position with Penn State’s Office of Sponsored Programs. Since then, she has worked for Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Office as a Pre-Award research administrator where she has been responsible for assisting faculty members throughout the proposal development process. Among her accomplishments, Leah was able to assist the College of Agricultural Sciences in increasing research awards by 50.7% between FY 21 and 22. During this time, she also received her master’s degree in Public Administration and a graduate certificate in Public Budgeting and Financial Management. In the future, she looks forward to becoming a certified research administrator and to passing along her research administration experience to those new to the field.

lreddington_f.jpg Laura Reddington
Research Administrator
The Pennsylvania State University

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My introduction to Research Administration was while working as a research assistant. I fell in love with the profession and pursued a dedicated research administration position in 2018. It was my privilege to start my RA career in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences Research Office, quickly being exposed to a wide variety of sponsors and unique funding situations. In the fall of 2021, I accepted a promotion to the university’s Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Office.

I am most proud of my work this spring, single-handedly supporting multiple large, complex, strategic proposals while rebuilding the office I just joined. I take great pride in the new team and look forward to our continued growth. Personally, I plan to continue developing my research administration skills and knowledge. I hope to increase my engagement with the greater research administration community and look forward to what is ahead.

wreichert_f.jpg William Reichert
Assistant Vice President for Research
University of South Alabama

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I started at the University of South Alabama in 2010 as an assistant professor of chemistry with an active research program with externally funded projects. Over the years, I helped develop several successful proposals to fund my research and grow research collaboration with other departments on campus. In 2019, an opportunity in the Office of Research and Economic Development arose that would let me broadly share my skills in proposal development across campus. As the Assistant Vice President for Research Communications, Development, and Learning, I now help our faculty develop proposals, oversee the technical and administrative aspects of various funded projects, guide our internal grant programs, and work to expand the University’s research endeavors. I hope to continue helping faculty develop successful research projects, increase the success of our internal funding programs, and grow as a research administrator. I am honored to be chosen as a Future of the Field recipient.

crodriguez_f.jpg Carlos Rodriguez
Director Management & Compliance Sponsored Programs
University of Puerto Rico

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Carlos M Rodríguez Rivera has a master’s degree in Business Administration (Finance) and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, both from the University of Puerto Rico. He has been working with the University of Puerto Rico for 20 Years. Initially, he worked in the research and programmatic aspects, being a bioinformatics specialist and managing a large high performance computing facility, and now working in the management and compliance of federal programs for over nine years. Currently, he is fulfilling two positions at UPR: director of the Office for Management and Compliance of Sponsored Programs and deputy director of the Central Budget Office. In 2014, Mr. Rodríguez was essential for the establishment of the first system-wide compliance and integrity office at the University of Puerto Rico.

Additionally, Mr. Rodriguez is the president elect of the PR Society of Research Administrators and has been a training resource for the organization for several years.

vrook_f.jpg Vanessa Rook
Research Administrator, Shock Trauma and Anesthesiology Research
University of Maryland, Baltimore

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I’m honored to be recognized as part of the 2022 Future of the Field. I discovered research administration over a decade ago when I was hired by the University of Chicago, tasked with managing the website re-design of their research administration office. At the time, my only grant experience came from an internship with the Village Light Opera Group in New York where I assisted in preparing their grant applications. This first internship kick-started my career – combining my love and background for artistic and academic endeavors with the communication and grant writing skills I’ve accumulated in this field. In the next few years, I plan to focus on the future of research administration: how universities and research hospitals can recruit and retain young professionals and invest in their careers through mentorship, as well as capturing knowledge from senior administrators to prevent gaps in training and education.

gschmitz_f.jpg Grace Schmitz
Health Research Institute Manager
Michigan Technological University

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Grace Schmitz began her career in research administration in 2019. Drawing from her diverse experiences in non-profit management, public administration, international development, and public health, she manages day-to-day operations and provides pre- and post-award assistance to the members of her institute. This has included unique opportunities, including acting as an administrator for the Michigan Tech COVID-19 Testing Lab and planning a conference for medical practitioners in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

She participated in the SRAI Odyssey program and hopes to apply to the JRA Author Fellowship program in the future. She plans to further her education and continue to support and learn from the research administration and development community, both at Michigan Tech and within SRAI. As a relative newcomer to the field, she recognizes the value of the mentoring and support she received from her colleagues and actively seeks opportunities to support other new professionals.

aseymour_f.jpg Amanda Seymour
Senior Associate
Attain Partners

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Amanda Seymour has worked in research administration for 14 years with most of her time working at R1 Research Institutions serving both central and departmental roles. Recently, Amanda has joined Attain Partners to focus her time and energy working with other research Institutions to help them achieve their research administration goals and run successful projects.

My greatest accomplishment is that prior to me starting at my previous institution, the departmental research administrators had never attended nor heard of professional development that was geared toward them. Over the 7-year tenure at that institution, progress was made and the departmental research administrators now regularly attended professional development opportunities AND seek them out! Every position in research administration is critical to the overall success of the research portfolio, so making sure the team knew how important they were and deserved professional development, was a message I stood (and still stand) behind.

asharma_f.jpg Anita Sharma
Manager, Research Services
Thompson Rivers University

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Anita’s transition to research administration, as a career, was very subtle and something that she did not plan for after obtaining a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry. As an immigrant to Canada, during her tenure at the University of Manitoba as a Research Associate (2004-13), she had several opportunities to write and review grants and manuscripts, and that experience served as a launching pad for her entry into the field as a Research Development Officer in 2013. In 2019, she was promoted to her current role. Anita enjoys this fast-paced, continuously evolving, and challenging role. Leading a team of three talented individuals, Anita is strategically instrumental in providing state-of-the-art research development and management services to build a strong research culture and research capacity at TRU. She has introduced three internal awards and developed educational resources and tools for faculty to build their research profiles and help envision their research goals. Building on the successes and using innovative ways, Anita hopes to continue contributing to the progressive growth of the research profile and research enterprise at TRU.

tshultz_f.jpg Teresa Shurtz
Senior Research Budget Director
The University of Alabama in Huntsville

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I started in the field of research administration when I began assisting faculty with the post-award administration of their contracts and grants. I then transitioned to a role in the Vice President for Research and Economic Development office where I research complex accounting issues, monitor spending and risk for the research units, and provide training to the University’s post-award research workforce. I am most proud of our many training tools like our canvas course with embedded training videos and our PI dashboard. My goal is to make it easier for our researchers to focus on their research. I have been a member of SRAI since 2018 and involved with research administration for the past 13 ½ years. My next step is to improve our training tools for our research community as we continue to grow.

sstaley_f.jpg Stormy Staley
Manager, Sponsored Project Administration
Kaiser Permanente, Northwest Region, The Center for Health Research

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In 2001, Stormy was hired as a division chief’s administrative assistant because she made him laugh in the interview. Unknowingly, she began her research administration career in that role! From 2001-2006, Stormy relied on her sense of humor while pulling all-nighters on grant proposals. After an employment hiatus, she returned to research administration in 2014, reigniting her career and discovering that research administration had evolved substantially! (Hello, electronic proposal submissions—goodbye all-nighters!) Committed, Stormy sought opportunities that have enabled her and her colleagues to grow and develop together. To achieve this, she’s done what researchers do: ask questions that inspire innovative ways of thinking and generate new ideas for executing the work. Looking ahead, Stormy will lead the sponsored project administration team at The Center for Health Research in Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Region, complete a MS in Research Administration from Johns Hopkins University, and continue to serve on the Research Administrators Certification Council's Board of Directors.

mstinnet_f.jpg Monica Stinnett
Director of Research Operations, College of Arts and Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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In 2004, I started my career as a Research Technician. I transitioned from roles as Lab Manager, Program Director, and Grants Administrator and had extraordinary opportunities to learn with peers and receive mentoring from great leaders that prepared me for my current position. As the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Director of Research Operations, I provide pre- to post-award grants administration, as well as education and training on other types of extramural funding opportunities.

Research is the passionate pursuit of knowledge. After much consideration, I decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in 2016. With support of family and colleagues, I received my MBA in 2018 and my CRA in June of 2022, all while working full time in the research industry. I am incredibly proud and humbled to be a Future of the Field honoree. I am excited to have found a career I love and look forward to opportunities to share my knowledge base. It is my desire to continue mentoring others and building relationships with research administrators across the nation.

vsvensson_f.jpg Vibeke Svensson
Head of Awards
NEOM, Education, Research and Education Foundation

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Like so many other research administrators I ended up in Research Administration by coincidence. I hold a PhD in Food Science and was on track to continue in this field when life took an unexpected turn and I ended up in Saudi Arabia with a pre-award administrator job at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). After KAUST I worked at American University in Washington DC as a Grant and Contract Manager and over the course of six years I moved up to Assistant Director and then Director of the Sponsored Programs Office. After ten years in research administration, I have recently started a new adventure and I am Saudi Arabia where I work at NEOM as Head of Awards. Here I am part of a start up team where we will be setting up a funding agency.

I have learned so much throughout my career but one of my biggest learning experiences and a biggest successes has been to rebuild a team that is now flourishing and full of confidence.

dthompson_f Danell Thompson
Assistant Director, Contracts
Office of Contracts and Grants, University of Colorado Boulder

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Danell Thompson has always been passionate about helping people find what they are looking for. Prior to her current role as the Assistant Director of Contracts in the Office of Contracts and Grants at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Co, Danell was a corporate clothing buyer for a national retailer. She pivoted to research administration in 2009 as a contractor for the Federal Government, issuing grants funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. In 2013 she joined CU Boulder as a Contract Officer and has grown in her role supporting transformational research at the university.

Today, Danell focuses on incoming and outgoing research contracts, supporting traditional research and service-based work. While Danell takes great pride in the innovative and important work she supports, leading a team and collaborating with talented peers in their careers is the highlight. Danell is committed to the success of her team and the work they support everywhere their work takes them.

Going forward, Danell is looking forward to more opportunities to collaborate and grow this incredible research community.

mthrogmorton_f.jpg Molly Throgmorton
Associate Director for Research Development
University of Arkansas

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My experience in the grant world has spanned over six years. I first started at a local nonprofit, then moved into research administration when I joined the University of Arkansas’s Sponsored Programs team. I joined the Research Development team in 2020, became a Certified Research Administrator in 2021, and then was promoted to my current position in 2022. To date, my role in Research Development has helped investigators receive $21.85M in grant funding. I came for the grants and have stayed because of the wonderful relationships I’ve built with investigators and staff!

The next step for me in my career is to focus on cultivating research development at the University of Arkansas. I want the research development team to be a highly sought-after service on campus that supports the University’s research priorities, bringing together strong research teams and improving the overall competitiveness of our submitted research proposals.

bvanwinkle_f Bonnie VanWinkle
Senior Proposal Administrator
University of Oklahoma

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While searching for a new and rewarding career, I was led to the University of Oklahoma's Office of Research Services. In the 5 years that I have been with ORS, I have been motivated to learn as much as I can about the field of research administration. I am most proud of studying for and passing the CRA exam last November. In the future, I hope to move into a leadership role so that I can play a part in motivating others in research administration. Most of all, I believe in what we do at the University of Oklahoma.

hwainwright_f.jpg Heather Wainwright
Assistant Director, Office of Sponsored Projects Administration
University of South Alabama

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My career in Research Administration began about 7 years ago. With a background in payroll and accounting, I initially applied for an accounting position at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute. To my surprise, the position I accepted was actually a departmental research administrator. To my even greater surprise, I loved the job. Great credit is due to my supervisor at the MCI, who helped me to develop the skills necessary for success in research administration. After three years at the MCI I accepted a position in the Sponsored Projects Administration office at USA where I currently work as a Sponsored Project Analyst. In May of this year, I earned my CRA certification.

I have been an active member of SRAI since 2019, and I currently serve as the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter Treasurer. I am honored to be a member of this year’s Future of the Field awardees.