University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Grants and Contracts Specialist

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

I got into research administration as a stepping stone to understanding the inner workings of grants. Grants are a major source of funding for our College of Engineering and I felt that it is necessary to know the requirements and processes that are involved with applying for and managing grants. I believe this knowledge will help me be a more valuable asset to the university in the future.

Alis M.

Senior Associate Director, Award Management

Became an RA: The 2010's

I was looking to move from a job to a career and found that great opportunity in January 2010 as a central post-award research administrator. Research administration has allowed me not only to become a skilled expert in my field, but also be directly involved in activities I enjoy including education, outreach, coaching, and customer service. I love that my role provides mission critical support to my university and that I get to be a part of a research administration community at both my institution and at the national and international level.

Chad L.

Grants & Contracts Coordinator

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

My career at the University of Illinois began in 2000 in the accounting area. The direction toward Research Administration didn’t really take off for me until a colleague of mine thought that I should take some classes in September of 2021. From taking the courses at my University to being an Interim Grants and Contracts Coordinator to being promoted to a permanent one, my journey has been a whirlwind.

Carla P.

Award Management Coordinator

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

I have previous experience in law enforcement, including certification as a “Criminal Intelligence Analyst”. I was an asset seizure & forfeiture clerk. My job responsibilities included filing the proper documents with the appropriate agencies (FBI, DEA, State’s Attorney Offices, etc., when assets were seized during police seizures. I was responsible for the assets from the time of seizure through the full life cycle of the process. Due to a contractual position, losing both of my parents within months of each other and changes within the State Police, I chose to find employment at the University.

I began at the University of Illinois in 2006 as a secretary. I continued testing and trying to find something that was similar to the type of work that I truly enjoyed. During this time, I also worked on obtaining my bachelor’s degree. I began a Grant & Contract Specialist position for Extension in 2017 and moved up to Grants Coordinator in 2018. In May 2023, I began working at Sponsored Programs Administration as an Award Management Coordinator. Instead of managing grants for a department, I will now assist departments across campus with their grants/awards. I will be working on the post award side for state and private awards. I am looking forward to this new journey and hope to become the “Research Administrator” that departments can depend on and one who makes the process less painful.