Future of the Field - 2021

Future of the Field Honorees

Congratulations to the inaugural class of 2021 Future of the Field recipients. These individuals represent the “shiniest” of those rising stars, from all around the US and internationally,  and we are very proud to have them as our colleagues, mentors, co-workers and friends.

akhtar_f.jpg Zafar Akhtar
Assistant Manager, Research & Grants Administration
The Aga Khan University

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It is very difficult to grow in the field of Research Administration in countries like Pakistan as there are no schools teaching or training this. However, with proven track experience of working in the field and with the help of few trainings conducted by The Aga Khan University and Society of Research Administration (SRA), I gathered knowledge of the field and applied it into our department. Initially, the Research and Grants Administration at the Aga Khan University, utilized the pre-and post-model in preparing and executing research grants. This structure was transitioned to Grant Specialist model in 2020, it was very difficult for an administrator to work on post award management, but after learning the post award it is always awesome.

Worked on the Grants Specialist model.
NIH cap salary introduction in The Aga Khan University

My vision is to serve the developing world in the area of Research & Grants Administration.

andujar_f.jpg Doris Andujar
Director of Special Projects
Ponce Research Institute at Ponce Health Sciences University

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Growing up, Research Administration (RA) back in my college years was not among the majors. As miracle workers, we roll naturally and unexpectedly into an RA position. This scenario describes my progression in my career. In conjunction with my work experience, my educational degrees synergized in such a way that now I have the best of the worlds of science and administration. From secretary to research assistant followed by clinical research coordinator, I jumped to program manager. Within two years (2019), I became Assistant Director, and this year (2021), I got promoted to Director of Special Projects. I have led formally as an RA for four years now. I am proud of leading efforts to use technology for program monitoring and evaluation, team building, and organization. I plan to continue growing professionally and contributing along the way as a leader in the field of RA and even more once I finish my doctor’s degree in public health.

arceneaux_f.jpg Lyndal Arceneaux
Sr. Proposal Administrator II, Team Lead
Texas A&M University

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I started in the field of Research Administration in August of 2015, but it was certainly not the career I had in mind with a bachelors degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. With that said, I have worked in RA for 6 years now and fell in love with field within a few months with the fast-paced, every-changing challenges it presents. The accomplishment over that time that I am most proud of is my team. I have had the opportunity to work with and lead some amazingly talented and dedicated individuals. I am excited to see where their career journey takes them and to be a part of that. As for me, I am expected to receive a Masters of Science in Research Administration at the end of Summer 2021, and hope to utilize the skills and knowledge gained to further advance RA at TAMU.

barends_f.jpg Katie Barens
Research Administrator
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

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Being nominated for the Future of the Field is a great honor and was a complete surprise. I dipped my toe in the Research Administration field approximately 10 years ago, and have navigated twists and turns filled with challenges, growth, exploration and building relationships with diverse groups of people. My experiences in Research Administration have forced me to say yes, when my default would have been to say no, pushed me outside my comfort zone and consistently challenged me to remain optimistic and open to exploring new ways to accomplish existing tasks. It’s difficult for me to pat myself on the back for a particular accomplishment, as most often I am part of a bigger team working towards a common goal; however, I am quite proud of providing feedback within working committees from the perspective of the end user and no matter my workload making time to help others. I'm excited to continue to challenge myself and see what twists and turns come next.

bergman_f.jpg Deborah Bergman
Proposal Development Specialist
The University of Oklahoma

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While I've worked at OU for over 20 years, I've only been in research administration for 3 years. A friend thought I would enjoy the work and she was right, I like working with the PIs and helping them with submitting their applications. I have always enjoyed working in Excel, so budget work is my favorite part of the process. Last year I helped our department develop a master budget template to be used for all proposals submitted through our office instead of using multiple budget templates and I present a workshop on using the master budget template. I am currently preparing to take the Certified Research Administrator exam in the fall.

brinton2_f.jpg Trisha Brinton
Grants and Contracts Specialist
University of Washington

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I have worked in Research Administration for approximately 4 years, after working in K-12 education and student affairs within higher ed. I wanted to gain experience working with faculty when a position opened up in our sponsored office up. My then supervisor took a chance on me and supported my learning about RA. I am so grateful to have been given a chance to find work that I truly enjoy. I believe that RA is an impactful career because research is what allows the world to discover new ideas! I love that I get to work with faculty, students, other professionals, and staff from across not only the USA, but internationally. I have recently taken and passed the RACC CRA exam and completed the NCURA Mentoring program. I am looking forward to continuing to learn best practices, connecting with folks to come up with new and innovative ideas, and working to support PIs to the best of my ability. I am honored to be part of the Future of the Field this year!

bui_f.jpg Katherine Bui
Research Administrator Senior
The University of Michigan

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Katherine’s passion and enthusiasm for research administration are exponential although only having been in the field for 3.5 years. In this time, Katherine has graduated from John Hopkins University with her Master's in Research Administration, became a Certified Research Administrator, and accepted a promotion. In addition to her current Senior role, she serves as a volunteer Functional Lead by onboarding new staff, developing training, providing mentorship and expert knowledge. Beyond expanding on her own growth, Katherine enjoys supporting fellow administrators with their professional development as a way to invest back into the field.

Katherine joined SRAI 1.5 years ago and has since joined the Odyssey Program Subcommittee, the Michigan Chapter Planning Committee, wrote for the Catalyst, and will present at the 2021 annual SRAI meeting. Katherine has hit the ground running at the beginning of her career with lots of motivation which impacts the research administration community at multiple levels!

carlin_f.jpg Kate Carlin
Grants Coordinator III
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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While working on my MBA I received a graduate assistantship that opened my eyes to the world of government contracting, a career I did not know existed. After I graduated, I was hired on full time as a consultant and through that job I realized I really enjoyed helping small businesses with their bids/proposals, and the various requirements among government agencies brought opportunities for continuous learning outside of academic pursuits. When I joined the Sponsored Programs team, I knew this was where I was meant to be. This field marries my organizational skills with my passion for helping guide people through the complexities of the grant world, a process that can be overwhelming and tedious without an expert to lead them. I have been in the field now for 9 years and I am proud of the way I engage and build relationships with the faculty that I work with.

christiansen_f.jpg Ella Christiansen
Director, College of Health Sciences Office of Research
Boise State University

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Ella got her start in research administration by happy accident (and at the urging of a good friend) just over twelve years ago. She began her career in the central sponsored projects office at Loma Linda University. During her seven and a half years there, her primary responsibilities were in pre-award budget development and post-award financial management. Ella currently directs a college-level office of research, providing pre- and post-award support to college faculty. She is most proud of being a respected leader and mentor amongst her peers, with her staff, and the leadership above her. Ella was fortunate to have an incredible mentor early in her career and hopes to pay it forward in her mentorship of others in this field. She hopes to continue to share her knowledge and experiences with other research administrators on campus as well as becoming a leader in the field through involvement with SRAI.

conatser_f.jpg Stacy Conatser
Sponsored Programs Coordinator
The University of Oklahoma

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Stacy Conatser is a Sponsored Programs Coordinator for the University of Oklahoma, Office of Research Services. She reviews and negotiates contracts and agreements that have been selected for external research funding to the University. She works closely with Principal Investigators and the Offices of Legal Counsel, Technology Commercialization, and Export Controls and serves as a liaison for state and federal agencies. 

Stacy has been with OU for 13 years.  She has previously held a position as a team lead for post-award and occasionally trained new team members. Stacy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University.

Stacy lives in Oklahoma City with her husband of 23 years and their two Mini Aussie/Blue Heelers. Stacy’s daughter will be a junior at Oklahoma City University this Fall and her son works at an urgent care clinic nearby. Stacy is a proud “Nona” to her son's 2-year-old boy.

cook_f.jpg Amy Cook
Assistant Vice President for Research
Texas Tech University

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I am honored to be chosen for Future of the Field. After a previous career as a criminal prosecutor, I joined the sponsored projects office at my alma mater. I started my now nine-year journey in research administration as a contract negotiator. I am proud of many accomplishments that could not be met without the support of my first mentor, Kathleen Harris, as well as my colleagues and peers, both at TTU and at other institutions. I am most proud of my involvement in creating a research metrics dashboard, supporting continued pre-award and contracting growth within my institution, and working to create process efficiencies to ease administrative burden. I plan to continue my education in higher education administration, as well as my involvement in SRAI and other professional organizations. Most importantly, I want to provide the same mentorship I have received from so many over my career.

couch_f.jpg Theresa Couch
Research Administrator II
Michigan State University

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Theresa Couch joined the Office of Sponsored Programs pre-award team at Michigan State University in 2015, working primarily with the College of Engineering. She was later named the primary point-person for the Colleges of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, and Nursing. In that role, Theresa became a National Institutes of Health subject matter expert.

In 2018, Theresa joined Health Colleges Research Services providing direct support to investigators on a shared services team. In HCRS, Theresa provides exceptional service to faculty, improves processes for proposal submission, and continues to deepen her knowledge of research administration. She serves as a presenter in the Essentials of Research Administration training series at MSU and seeks professional development opportunities to broaden her knowledge of academic administration.

Theresa received her bachelor’s degree from Butler University, holds the Essential of Research Administration Certification from Michigan State University and Board Leadership Certification from the University of Chicago Graham School.

dement_f.jpg Linda Dement
Senior Grants and Contracts Analyst
Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

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I have been in research administration for over 11 years and work as a Senior Grants and Contracts Analyst at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason. Beginning in post award, I applied my knowledge of accounting by managing the SEFA and annual research revenue budget process. Later, as a GCA analyst at BRI, my role transitioned to cradle to grave support to my PIs, and I earned my CRA in 2015 and my BS in accounting in 2019.

I joined SRA International in 2015 and volunteered on the auction committee, membership committee and helped plan (2) chapter meetings. Last year, I became President-Elect of the Pacific NW Chapter of SRA and transitioned to President August 1.I am excited to see what the future holds for me as a research administrator and as a “Future of the Field” honoree of the Society of Research Administrators International, thank you for this honor.

difranzo_f.jpg Bella DiFranzo
Senior Consultant
Attain Partners

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I recently accepted a Senior Consultant position at Attain Partners after nine years working at higher education and sponsoring agency level where I have had the pleasure to serve the research community. In the past decade or so, I have had opportunities to participate in many aspects of sponsored project life cycle and work at institutions of various sizes, public and private, and with centralized and decentralized models. In addition, I have worked to share my learning and transfer the knowledge to the research administration community. I developed and delivered presentations and co-authorized articles on topics such as Award Transfers. Currently I am working on obtaining the Certified Federal Contract Manager certification.

I hope to continue making a positive impact on research administration via consultancy in the years to come and I look forward to meeting and working with many more of you in my new endeavor.

Furman.jpg David Furman
Director, Information Security & Risk Compliance
University of South Alabama

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In September 2019, I was hired by the University of South Alabama (USA) to serve as the Director, Information Technology & Risk Compliance. In this capacity, I am responsible for ensuring the protection and integrity of proprietary and sensitive research conducted at USA. Shortly after my arrival, I become responsible for all Foreign Influence issues, and began outreach to the USA research community to educate our researchers and administrators about the rapidly changing disclosure requirements from federal sponsors. In March 2020, I was asked to begin reviewing and negotiating sponsored research agreements on behalf of the USA Office of Sponsored Projects, and this is now a regular part of my responsibilities. I am most proud of the steps that USA has taken during my tenure to better protect our research and our researchers. These steps include continuing education and presentations for our faculty and staff involved in research administration, greater oversight over foreign collaborations, and new guidelines to protect sensitive and proprietary research from academic espionage.

gabrus_f.jpg Tamara Gabrus
Program Director, Faculty Cluster Initiative & Pre-Award Shared Services
University of Central Florida

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In 2007, I started as a Student Assistant in the Office of Research. By 2014, I was a Senior Manager leading a team of 10, overseeing the full life cycle of at least 6 units ($41M of $149M). In 2016, I became the Assistant Director for the Faculty Cluster Initiative (FCI), an innovative approach to multidisciplinary teams. By 2019, I was promoted to Program Director responsible for program management of 50 FCI faculty hires and 140 joint faculty. In 2020, I established a secondary unit, Pre-Award Shared Services (PASS) providing pre-award under a shared services model. In 2019, when UCF shifted to an off-the-shelf ERA with S2S; my colleague Greg Norris and I established an advisory group of our peers, the Departmental Administration Research Focus (DARF) Council. DARF is now an official cabinet advising our VP for Research, with formalized by-laws and membership. Co-creating DARF is my greatest achievement to date as it serves as an outlet to capture the decentralized voice of our institution, a model that will be replicated for years to come.

greenlee_f.jpg Cara Greenlee
Pre-Award Manager
Boise State University

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I started my career in Research Administration in December 2014 as a Contract Specialist for the National Institutes of Health and worked in a departmental research administration role at Boise State University. After a few years, I joined Boise State University’s centralized Office of Sponsored Programs and worked on the Contracting and Pre-Award teams. At the start of my career, I quickly developed a love for helping federal program officers and university faculty to navigate complicated regulations in order to further research and development goals. I really enjoy the exposure that you get to a diverse set of sponsors and research fields while in a centralized role and also appreciate the opportunities that I have had in the last few years to think strategically in the development of guidance and policies related to research at Boise State University. I look forward to continuing to grow my career in Research Administration.

Furman.jpg Mary Harrison
Chair, Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Committee
Curriculum Developers Affinity Group

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Dr. Mary Harrison is a curriculum development professional at Fanshawe College in Ontario, Canada. Through her involvement with the province-wide Curriculum Developers Affinity Group (CDAG), Mary became the first Chair of the Group’s Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Committee. As Chair, Mary has led the development of the administrative processes required for the CDAG to launch its Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Fund that supports research in Ontario’s College sector in the fields of curriculum, quality assurance, and teaching and learning. She has promoted the opportunity to members through information and brainstorming sessions delivered in-person and, during COVID-19, virtually. Under Mary’s leadership, the CDAG has succeeded in funding quality, peer-reviewed research or innovation projects for each funding cycle since the Fund launched. Mary looks forward to seeing the CDAG’s Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Fund continue to grow, and to learning from the interesting projects the Fund supports.

holloway_f.jpg Hannah Holloway
Contract & Grant Supervisor
University of California at Berkeley

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I am not sure how I found my way to the field in 2012, but I fell in love with it and quickly advanced through the career ladder. I enjoy finding positive resolutions to unique challenges. Working in Research Administration provides me with the opportunity to continuously learn and problem solve. I am most proud of my contributions to the continued education of future Research Administrators, especially with Cost Share Management, as part of my institution’s Research Administration Professional Development Program (RAPDP). The next phase of my career will focus on my new supervisor role and implementing a structured study-group for Research Administrators who are interested in earning a Certificate of Research Administration (CRA).

jackson_f.jpg Marchon Jackson
Director of Sponsored Programs Accounting and Compliance
University of Maryland College Park

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I began my career in research administration about 15 years working in the defense industry. I never really intended to be a research administrator but kind of fell into the large-scale DoD research project I was assigned to as financial coordinator. Over time, I realized that I love research administration because you continually learn new things and support important research efforts that benefit society and not just an organization's bottom line. This has led me to my work in the Society currently as the Northeast Section president.

When reflecting on my career so far, I'm most proud of being able to help other administrators and colleagues I've managed over the years progress in their careers. I really care about the research mission, but I care about the people involved in the process even more. I have had the opportunity to train and build relationships that will last a lifetime. I am looking forward to learning and offering more learning opportunities outside of my home institution.

kersey_f.jpg Jerod Kersey
Senior Contracts/Grants Manager
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

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Jerod Kersey is a Senior Contracts/Grants Manager at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) in Oklahoma City, OK, where he serves in the institution’s central office. He began his career in higher education research administration in 2016 at the University of Central Oklahoma on the departmental pre-award side in the College of Liberal Arts. He transitioned to OUHSC in 2020, where he later earned his Certified Research Administrator certification. Jerod views his career highlight to date as being published in NCURA’s Sponsored Research Administration: A Guide to Effective Strategies and Recommended Practices. For the future, Jerod is excited to continue to learn and grow in his newest role, but hopes one day to move into central office management, either at a regional PUI or a smaller academic medical center.

khan_f.jpg Mir Khan
Director, Research and Grants Administration, Institute for Global Health and Development
The Aga Khan University

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Like most, I bumped into this, back in Y2006, without realizing what a dynamic step its going to be. Since then there has a continuous stream of learning, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and career advancement! I am most proud of the difference I am able to make in the lives of underprivileged people of Pakistan (as well as abroad), by utilizing my Research Administration knowledge and skills to get high impact grants. I have been better able to support my faculty through the learning acquired from platforms like SRA International. Its been 15 years now, and the journey is still exciting and promising. I aspire to be working with international, global organizations where I can utilize my experience of administering grants in developing and developed countries.

kingsley_f.jpg Laura Kingsley
Senior Associate Director
University of Pittsburgh

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From my initial exposure to research administration while working as a research assistant, I knew I wanted to remain connected to the research process in my career. Working on research studies and getting a master’s degree in epidemiology have helped me connect with researchers, understand research methodology, and prepare me for a career in research administration. I have been fortunate to have worked in several outstanding institutions in both departmental and central roles and had amazing mentorship along the way. A good research administrator knows the importance of being quick to adapt because the field is always changing. I am most proud of my work with colleagues on developing and honing processes to address the many changes and be better prepared for upcoming ones. I look forward to continuing to grow in research administration and help pave the way for others to discover and excel in this great profession.

koeber_f.jpg Andrea Koeber
Grants Coordinator III
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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As many of us do, I fell into research administration accidentally, over 7 years ago. I have worked in both departmental and central offices, with a focus on pre-award. While review and submission of proposals is my primary responsibility, I also have taken on many other tasks along the way, including training others and service both within and outside the Office of Sponsored Programs. My biggest career accomplishment thus far is the relationships I have built with the faculty and staff I serve. For me, building trust and rapport is equally as important as catching errors and compliance issues prior to proposal submission. Having this collaborative relationship helps to make the process easier for everyone. I’m not exactly sure what my future looks like, but my goal is to continue to take on increasing responsibilities while maintaining the same level of customer service I pride myself on providing.

kumar_f.jpg Asmita Kumar
Associate Director, Research Compliance (IBC/IACUC)
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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My career path led me to my current role when I traded my pipets for a research administrator’s desk five years ago. I feel privileged to be supporting ground-breaking research and to be surrounded by great mentors, superiors and colleagues who are invested in my success. The accomplishment that I am most proud of was migrating our entire Institution from a paper based to an electronic Institutional Biosafety Committee protocol management system. I learned a lot about building and cultivating relationships, presenting information in the recipient’s learning style and honed my problem-solving skills. Each set-back was an opportunity to learn and highlighted many strengths that I didn’t even know I had. It was a transformative journey that has prepared me to think outside the box, never back down from a difficult situation and to continue learning. I hope to expand my portfolio and skills and prepare for my next adventure.

landrum_f.jpg Jill Landrum
Manager, Grants and Contracts Office
The Medical College of Wisconsin

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I have been working in Research Administration for 13 years after spending 3 years as a social worker. I accepted my first position in the Research Office at MCW seeking the stability of an office environment and from there, I found my career!

Being nominated and selected as an inaugural member of Future of the Field awardees is a thrilling recognition! Researchers and Research Administrators are being acknowledged globally as heroes during the pandemic and I am excited to represent MCW and the larger research community during this time.

I am most proud to be a part of an office that has experienced rapid growth and expansion over the last decade. We have routinely managed the daily grind while remaining forward thinking and future focused. We have a long-term outlook to move ourselves, our services, and those we support, ahead.

lewellyn_f.jpg Kevin Lewellyn
Research Administrator III
University of Mississippi

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I have been involved in research administration since I was in graduate school, when my PI asked me to manage lab spending to ensure we didn’t burn through grant funds too quickly. Following the completion of my dissertation, I took a job as a research scientist that was actually 50/50 lab work/administrative work. In 2017 I began working exclusively in the research administration arena, doing both pre- and post-award work.

I am most proud of our efforts to pursue and obtain large programmatic funding for several multi-project grants (P20 & U19). For a pre-award administrator they are a heavy lift, especially when they involve multiple subawards, but the joy you feel when the NOA arrives is hard to beat.

Looking forward, I hope to continue to develop my research administration skills portfolio and move our research programs forward here at UM.

luebbe_f.jpg Elijah Luebbe
Proposal Budget Coordinator
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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In 2011, I took a job as a temporary employee in Research Support Services (RSS) at the University of Memphis, thus accidently launching my career in Research Administration. Once that temporary appointment expired, I was hired in a permanent position within RSS. Still, I didn’t realize this was my career until I was willing to move to Nebraska for a Grants Coordinator job two years later. Shortly after my move to UNL I shifted to a new and unique role of Proposal Budget Coordinator. In the 10 years as a Research Administrator, my proudest professional accomplishments include earning my CRA in 2017 as well as developing a comprehensive budget template that takes standard input data and produces a variety of output formats that align with various sponsor budget requirements. So what’s next for me? I honestly don’t know, but I look forward to continuing the journey as a Research Administrator!

marino_f.jpg Michael Marino
Executive Director of Sponsored Projects
Long Island University

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Prior to research administration, Mr. Marino’s professional career was in fundraising for LBGTQ and HIV/AIDS non-profit organizations. His work for these organizations raising millions of funds for research and services led him into the field of research administration.

Michael has worked for both public and private institutions; in research centers, led school-wide research offices, and now leads a university’s central office overseeing two campuses. He has worked for NJCU, NYU, CUNY Baruch and is currently Executive Director of Sponsored Projects at Long Island University (LIU). In this role, he manages all pre-award functions and serves as the AOR, creates policies and procedures, and is tasked with reviewing all research-related contracts before they are finalized by legal counsel. Michael also serves at the Executive Officer of LIU’s IACUC and IRB.

Michael has presented at the SRAI annual meeting, NCURA regional meeting, and at CARA. He holds an MPA from NYU.

mclaren_f.jpg Tara McLaren
Head Research Development
Telethon Kids Institute

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My first role in Research Administration was as Research Development Advisor for the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Australia – I job which I loved and which encouraged the use of my broad range of engagement, training and coaching skills. I am currently Head of Research Development at Telethon Kids Institute, Perth’s largest pediatric health and medical research institute. I oversee the grants, research development, commercialization and impact team, working collaboratively with the other professional services teams to support researchers and the organization. My proudest achievements were: delivering the AAMRI Research Impact Framework on behalf of the Australian medical research sector in May 2021, and co-developing a training module Fundamentals of Project Management designed specifically for research administrators. I have a huge interest in building the capacity of the broader research administration sector and have a particular interest in developing organizational research strategy alongside building a positive research culture.

morin_f.jpg Cindy Morin
Sr. Administrative and Business Manager
Johns Hopkins University

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Early in my career, I accepted a position in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins. At that time, the world of Research Administration was a complete mystery to me.

After many years, I took a position as an Administrative Manager. This opportunity opened my eyes to the world of Research Administration and pushed me to learn more about the profession. Eventually, I became the Business Manager for a large Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium.

Throughout my career I have been fortunate to have the support of great mentors who provided me with invaluable tools to me develop, define and promote best practices.

Being a member of SRAI has given me the ability to enhance my educational knowledge, networking capabilities and provided me with a platform to share my knowledge with others.

I look forward to serving in this profession for many years and sharing my knowledge and experience.

nelkin_f.jpg Kacey Nelkin Pedersen
Grants Coordinator III
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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My ResAdmin career began in 2014 after nearly a decade working in state government. Like many, I came into this field with little notion of what lay ahead of me, but as soon as I realized that I could combine my wonkish skillset from state government with my aspirations to serve the greater good of humanity through science, I was ready to take the dive into this profession. In my 7+ years in ResAdmin, my proudest professional accomplishments have been earning my CRA; having the opportunity to develop and provide high-quality training and development resources to faculty and staff at UNL; hiring and mentoring new colleagues; and advocating for greater diversity, equity and inclusion both within this profession and at an institutional level; all while maintaining a somewhat sane work/life balance as a mother and wife. As for what’s next – I know for certain that I look forward to my continued professional growth in this field and I am keeping my mind and heart open to all opportunities that may come my way.

phillip_f.jpg Irene Phillip
Project Manager, MS, CIP
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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I have worked in research administration for 8 years. I started as a Research Study Assistant at MSK, working with investigators to identify eligible participants for clinical trials at the institution’s network sites and manage their schedules while on the study.

The accomplishment I'm most proud of is serving as the Chair of the Posters Committee for MSK’s Research Professionals Day (RPD) since 2018. RPD is a yearly conference set aside to appreciate, honor and celebrate all research professionals. As the chair, I am responsible for the planning, selection process, and presentation of the Posters Program at the conference. Due to the 2020 pandemic, the format of the conference and the poster presentations were switched to virtual; this was very well received, as it was more interactive and engaging, and allowed people to view the posters at their own pace with little to no distractions.

I believe that I have a lot to offer in terms of mentorship, reinvention, and contribution to Research Administration. Becoming a member of SRAI will broaden my professional horizon.

pratt_f.jpg Kimberly Pratt
Senior Sponsored Projects Officer
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital

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A former museum professional, Kimberly started her research administration career in 2012 at COSI (Center of Science and Industry). She began working full-time in research administration in 2015 and joined the Research Institute in 2016. Kimberly holds a BA and MA in History from Ohio University and received the CRA credential in 2017, with a background in business administration, program evaluation, and informal education.

Kimberly has been an active member of SRAI since 2015. As Past-President of the Ohio Chapter, she helped to revitalize the chapter and develop leadership succession as well as chair the Ohio Chapter meeting planning committee. She has served on the board of the Midwest Section since 2019, currently as its President-Elect. Looking to the future, she is excited to lead the Midwest Section in 2022 and renew and strengthen connections with others in the field.

quartiero_f.jpg Nicole Quartiero
Managing Grant and Contract Administrator
Oregon State University

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Hello, I am Nicole Quartiero and have been a Research Administrator for ~12 years now. I am extremely fortunate and grateful to have been nominated for Future of the Field by an amazing Leader (and one of my idols) who ironically I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from at a prior SRAI Metrics Intensive in New Orleans. I pursued a career in research as a result of two dear family members being diagnosed with serious diseases as small children and feeling as though I needed to dedicate my life to helping them - or people like them. This motivation has expanded to trying to just be a "helper" in the world through research administration as we all understand the value of research to society in general. My passion has carried me from an entry level coordinator to my current role that oversees post-award functions for a major research university. In the future, I hope to secure a Director position and ultimately end my career serving as an AVP for a major research institution.

rapp_f.jpg Farrell Rapp
Director of Research Services
University of Wyoming

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Farrell Rapp is the Director of Research Services at the University of Wyoming. She works with researchers to help them in their research endeavors by providing assistance with finding funding, proposal review and submission, and award review and negotiation. She is a 13-year veteran who leads a team of 6 FTEs with expertise in pre-award and subrecipient monitoring.

Farrell’s passion is supporting the scientists who are generating and disseminating new knowledge that is shaping and growing our understanding of the world.

Farrell served on the Board of Directors for the Research Administration and Certification Council (RACC) for 8 years. During her time on the board she held the positions of Vice Chair, Chair and Immediate Past Chair.

Farrell is an active CRA and was the first to earn the CRA credentials in the state of Wyoming in 2010.

Farrell holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wyoming.

rowell_f.jpg Jessica Rowell
Manager - Proposal Development
University of Colorado Boulder

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I first became a research administrator while serving as a receptionist for a central administration office. I will never forget having to learn my first acronym, “PI,” while trying to redirect a call. I have learned so much since then and continuing to learn more every day. Over 12 years, I have enjoyed the expanded roles I have taken on, allowing me to support researchers in a variety of ways. I am passionate about finding ways to improve the research administration process and reduce unnecessary burden. I jump at opportunities to clarify policies, procedures, and forms; even conducting a research study on the effectiveness of forms we use. My biggest accomplishments can sometimes be the smallest actions I can take that make the world of difference for a PI. I am excited to continue working for CU Boulder, developing more relationships with researchers across campus, and together making our research enterprise a success!

taylor_f.jpg Veronica Taylor
Assistant Director, Office of Sponsored Projects Administration
University of Kentucky

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After receiving my Master’s in Public Administration in 2001, I worked for six years at a regional non-profit writing grants and serving as project director of multiple federally funded programs. I started at the University of Kentucky in January 2007 and joined the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration in October 2007 as a Research Administrator. I am proud to be a member of the university’s Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT). One of my proudest accomplishments in research administration was, at the conclusion of an NIH construction grant close-out meeting, hearing the NIH representatives say that our team gave one of the best presentations they’d ever seen, and planned to use our presentation as an example for future close-out presentations. Future plans include making memories with my 8 year old son, seeing Bon Jovi in concert again (hopefully soon!), and continuing to support the research enterprise at UK.

wehipeihana_f.jpg Jaylene Wehipeihana
Research Manager
The University of Auckland

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I launched my career in research management with a Crown agency in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2016 I joined the University of Auckland as the Health Portfolio Funds Advisor, and I currently hold the newly established position (in 2019) as Research Manager, Vision Mātauranga in the Office of Research Strategy and Integrity. This position reflects the growing acknowledgement of senior leaders as to the importance of this field to the future of our researchers.

I am involved in the creation of the ARMS First Nations Research Special Interest Group, and I have developed a responsiveness to Māori tool and the creation of an online resource developed to support, educate and enable researchers, research administrators and managers.

I am extremely proud as an Indigenous woman to have this unique opportunity to shape this new field and contribute to the culture shift occurring within the Research Management Profession both nationally and internationally.

nophoto.jpg Erin White
Director Financial Research, Pathology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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Being a research administrator is not something you aspire to be out of the womb. Most of us are thrown into the deep end and we either sink or swim. I’m swimming. My start in research was on the post award side, managing a $5M NSF grant. After holding the positions of Business Officer, Grants Administrator, and Director of Research and Grant Administration for Pathology, in October 2020 I was promoted to my current position of Director of Financial Research for Pathology.

I am most proud of passing the CRA exam. I am also proud of the recognition received from SRAI, namely, this honor of being a Future of Field selectee and as well as being a recipient of the SRAI RAMP Scholarship.
As I continue my path toward my end goal of leading a sponsored programs office, I would like my next position to involve more work with clinical trials. I am sitting for the CFRA exam in September and plan to sit for the CPRA next year.

wolf_f.jpg Baron Wolf
Assistant Vice President for Research & Director of Research Analytics
University of Kentucky

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My career has been based on working with student and other institutional data analytics at various public higher educational institutions. Focused in the Offices of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Evaluation. I came to Research Administration when I accepted a decision support position at the University of Kentucky in 2015. I brought my institutional research skills with me and in a few short years I was able to create and deploy a comprehensive strategy to use data analytics, BI tools, and other competitive intelligence tools to help drive decision making across campus as it relates to our research community. My role continues to evolve as we implement new strategies, programs, and assist our units in research development, ensure compliance, and support our researchers across campus and disciplines. I am also an active research and look forward to continued opportunities to receive funding to conduct research related to decision support, data analytics, and BI tools.