DAWG program grads hone sponsored-project administration skills

The newest Departmental Administrator Working Group graduates are (seated, l-r) Donna Edwards, Sarah Brown, Koretta Reed, Kristen Nichols and Jessie Schmidt; and (standing, l-r) Kay Travis, Christy Green, Chris Kolb, LeeAnn Funderburg, Bailey Anderson, Renee Brannon, Webb Jennings, Caty McCluskey, Kim Rayborn. Not pictured: Ginger Cavinder, Tiffany Middleton and Ashley Patterson. PHOTO: Russ Houston | Public Affairs

Seventeen Mississippi State staff members are graduates of the fifth-annual professional development program offered by the university’s Office of Sponsored Projects.

A unit of the Office of Research and Economic Development, OSP oversees externally-sponsored programs -- the grants, contracts and similar agreements that help fund research at the land-grant institution.

This year’s edition of the Departmental Administrator Working Group -- also known as DAWG -- involved a nine-month curriculum designed to develop participants’ sponsored-project administration skills and foster networking opportunities with campus peers, according to OSP Director Jennifer Easley.

“The DAWG program helps departmental administrators grow professionally and create relationships with their peers across campus,” she said.

Honored at a recent campus reception, the 2017 graduates are Bailey Anderson, Sponsored Programs Accounting; Renee Brannon, National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision; Sarah Brown, High Performance Computing Collaboratory; Ginger Cavinder, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences; Donna Edwards, Department of Psychology; LeeAnn Funderburg, Stennis Institute of Government; Christy Green, College of Veterinary Medicine; Webb Jennings, Sponsored Programs Accounting; Chris Kolb, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems; Caty McCluskey, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems; Tiffany Middleton, College of Education; Kristen Nichols, Delta Research and Extension Center; Ashley Patterson, Extension Southwest Region; Kim Rayborn, College of Arts and Sciences; Koretta Reed, Cobb Institute of Archaeology; Jessie Schmidt, Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute; and Kay Travis, Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station.

Applications for the 2018 class will be made available later this summer, Easley said, explaining that participants are chosen through a competitive nomination and selection process.

During classes meeting for two hours each month, DAWG members are taken through the grant administration process to gain a better understanding of both pre- and post-award functions. Topics include how the different offices work together to prepare budgets, administrate research proposals and conduct post-award management, among other key areas.

Easley said this year’s graduates also gave brief presentations about themselves and their work.

“Sharing their stories gave us an opportunity to see the diversity of research and creative discovery at Mississippi State,” she said.

For more about the Office of Sponsored Projects, visit www.osp.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Jim Laird | Public Affairs

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