What is your current position and what is your favorite aspect of it?
I am an Assistant Professor in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Dept of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. I have two favorite aspects of my position, pertaining to research and teaching. I love the freedom I have within the research component, the freedom within my studies to explore any idea I may have and collaborate with a variety of investigators. I also enjoy the teaching component of the position, I get to interact with our pre-professional students to make sure the are well prepared for their professional training. I get to help move them toward their desired career path.
What was your previous experience with grant writing before joining the NRMN core group?
I had written a handful of career development and smaller R-series grants before joining the NRMN core. I had also taken three Grant Writer’s workshops before joining the NRMN group. Unfortunately with these other opportunities there was little follow up or review of multiple drafts to allow for nuances in the presentation in your ideas.
How did you get involved with NRMN?
I began involvement in NRMN after suggestion by Dr. Aleksunes.
What inspired you to apply for this RO1?
I have been involved in Toxicology and Environmental Exposure science for about 10 years and became award of this R01 call during my postdoctoral training. It is termed the ONES award for the Outstanding New Environmental Scientist. This R01 is a special call for Early Stage Investigators only directed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and includes funds for further career development. The awardees of this R01 are highly productive investigators with successful careers in their fields. Since starting my postdoctoral position I have been focused on this award.
How has your experience with NRMN changed the way you approach your career in the sciences?
My experience with NRMN has changed the way I present my science. To make sure I am clearly connecting all of the threads and not making assumptions that a reader will draw similar conclusions.
Now that you have been granted your first R01 what are your plans in the future with grant writing?
I was hoping to take a break, a moment to breathe, but I have other scientific ideas/projects that I am excited to pursue. This means that I have continued writing and submitting grant applications to support other projects.
What was your overall impression of the NRMN grant writing experience?
I think the NRMN grant writing process is fantastic. You really get feel of how others read your work and brainstorm the best way to present your ideas. The group and the “feel” in the room is never personal or competitive, always constructive to allow for the best presentation of the idea. I have had such a great experience that I have suggested the group to a postdoctoral fellow I am co-mentoring and collaborating with.
If someone called you and asked, “Why should I become involved with NRMN?” how would you respond?
I would reiterate that the group and the “feel” in the room is never personal or competitive, always constructive to allow for the best presentation of the idea. As you will never know who the reviewer will be for our grant, this group allows you to get feel of how others read your work and brainstorm the best way to present your ideas.
Is there anything you would like to share about yourself with a potential future NRMN mentee?
We are all nervous and anxious about getting judged. It is much better to get reviewed in a room with people who truly have your best interest in mind, when you still have the chance to address the concerns and brainstorm strategies/wording. When it takes place behind closed NIH doors, it’s too late.
Anything else that you would like to share?
We are really excited about this project and thank you for highlighting our work.