We’re Here to Help: Arminta Brown

Portrait of Arminta Brown

My Focus:

As a Senior Post-Award Administrator my focus is customer service.  I accomplish this by establishing and maintaining good relationships with all stakeholders.  I set realistic expectations to give them assurances that their needs are heard and will be met timely.  Always asking for their input maximizes successful outcomes to reflect the highest professionalism of our department.

Where did I come from

I received my BSBA degree in Accounting from Rockhurst University.  My introduction to grant awards came when I worked as the Grants Accountant at the Kansas City Area Transit Authority. From that position I was promoted to General Accounting Supervisor. I spent thirteen years with KCATA.  From there I spent four years in corporate America at Great Plains Energy or what’s better known to the public as KCPL.  I was their Generation Accountant and Delivery Accountant.  I came to the University in September 2005 with ATTC.   It was in February 2006 that I began my journey in Research Administration at the Office of Sponsored Programs.

What I love about working in Research Administration

From my heavy accounting background, I love the versatility.  Research Administration is ever changing. Whether I’m working on federal awards, or with public/ private corporations, not for profits, or various universities, domestic or foreign institutions; I’m continuing to learn and grow professionally. Those transitional skills that I’ve gleaned from my prior work experiences mesh perfectly with Research Administration.  Instead of the monthly accounting cycle or as I call it “the accounting groundhog days”, I’m challenged daily in the areas of compliance, contract terms, proper internal controls and subcontract agreements.  Work life is never dull.

Some of my favorite things

I value my relationships with family and friends.  I enjoy entertaining and cooking.  I consider myself a novice foodie.  I enjoy exercise and maintaining a healthy life balance.  No, I’m not a fanatic – just working to stay young at heart and in body. I’m fascinated by what our city has to offer – theater, movies, restaurants and music. Lately, I’m obsessed about learning to paint and crafts.   Loud cheers can be heard from my home all year long because I love sports.  I’m a big baseball, college basketball and football fan.

We’re Here to Help: Leslie Burgess

Title

Program/Project Support Coordinator

My focus

Support is the key word in both my title and in describing my role in the Office of Research Services.  Serving initially in the department as the executive assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research, my position has grown to encompass a variety of areas in need, such as marketing/communications projects like our quarterly research newsletter, our Annual Report, Explore, and various research symposia. In support of UMKC’s new strategic plan goal to significantly increase the number of research grant proposals, I will begin training in Pre-Award services, which assists faculty in finding and applying for funding opportunities.

Where I came from

I have lived in the Kansas City area my whole life, and have worked in academia since graduating from UMKC, first with a BA in Psychology followed later by a MA in Higher Education Administration. My first position at UMKC was in the Counseling and Testing Center as an assistant and test proctor. I then accepted a position at the Kansas City Art Institute where I enjoyed serving as a campus coordinator until graduate school called me back to UMKC to further my educational goals.  I was a Graduate Research Assistant for the International Academic Office during that time and loved helping students study abroad. I joined the Office of Research team shortly after graduating in 2013.

What I love about working in Research Administration

The focus of my undergraduate degree was research and analysis in Psychology and this has been the first position I’ve had that taps into that interest.  I’ve been grateful for an inside view of the amazing research projects being conducted by our faculty.Overall, I love being a part of the ORS team and working with a wonderful group of dedicated, supportive colleagues.

Some favorite things

My husband and I enjoy taking our 3 year old daughter on adventures around the city, from weekend trips for produce at the River Market to rides on the KC streetcar. There are always new art openings to check out and restaurants to try.  Although the winters can be challenging, Midwest seasons are in my blood and I look forward to the warmer months where we venture out to hike, boat, camp, and grill. During downtime I catch up on reading for the book club I host.  

We’re Here to Help: Chelsea Dahlstrom

Title

Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator

My focus

I assist faculty with everything from proposal development to submission to award creation. At UMKC, we are fortunate to work with brilliant and innovative researchers and scholars across all disciplines from the Health Sciences to the Humanities, and it is a pleasure to support them in their academic pursuits.

Where I came from

I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in History and Religious Studies from the University of Central Missouri in 2005, I began my career in higher education in their Admissions Office and have stayed in higher ed since that time. In 2009, I moved to Kansas City to pursue my Master’s in History and Gender Studies here at UMKC and after graduating, started working in the Office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs.

What I love about working in Research Administration

Most of our faculty’s work is aimed at improving people’s lives and introducing groundbreaking knowledge to the world, so it’s meaningful knowing that I play a small role in that. Given that we serve all of campus, I get to work with researchers in almost every department, and therefore, get a front row seat to all the incredible projects happening at UMKC.

Some favorite things

My wife and I have a 15 month old son who keeps us pretty busy. We spend as much time as we can outdoors, while balancing all that fresh air with a healthy dose of Netflix.

We’re Here to Help: Sandy Wilson

Title

Finance and Accounting Manager

My focus

My area of focus is finance and administration.  As part of the fiscal leadership team, I help project, prepare, and monitor our operating budget, process accounts payable and accounts receivable transactions, complete account reconciliations and other finance and administrative tasks.  I also hold the role of HR Facilitator, the liaison between the UMKC-HR Office and the Office of Research and Development Staff.  I provide communications and assistance to the ORS staff in areas of benefits, payroll & records, training, recruitment, and employee relations.

Where I came from

After graduating from Emporia State University with a Business Administration Degree, I worked several years at KU Medical Center in the Accounts Payable and the Grant Accounting Offices. Upon moving to California, I worked for several years at California State University-Los Angeles in the General Accounting Office until my family and I relocated back to the Kansas City Metropolitan area where I began working in the Kansas City, Missouri School District in the Early Childhood Program.   After leaving the KCMO School District, I came to UMKC and have worked in the Office of Research Services for twelve years.

What I love about working in Research Administration

I work with a wonderful group of Research Administrators in the Office of Research and Economic Development who are dedicated and committed to a job well done.  It is rewarding to work with a group of people who go up and beyond to assist others in making their research dreams come to fruition.   I enjoy hearing about the array of interesting and potentially life, health, and technology, changing research that’s being conducted at UMKC.  I also enjoy having the opportunity to interact and supervise student employees.  We’ve had some great student employees working in our office and it is always a pleasure to see them develop, mature, and graduate from UMKC.

Some favorite things

My favorite things are my family (smile).  My husband, Vincent, and I have been married for 29 years and we have three children. Two daughters and a son. Our oldest daughter, Alexandria, is a graduate of UM-Columbia School of Law; she will be getting married this July.  Our second daughter, Victoria, is a junior at the University Central Missouri, majoring in Criminal Justice.  Our youngest, Vincent Charles, is a freshman in high school, who enjoys playing basketball and is currently on the tennis team at his high school. In my free time, I enjoy reading, going on long walks, attending worship services at my church, teaching primary Sunday school, and participating in volunteer opportunities that focus on children, women and the homeless.

We’re Here to Help: Chris Winders

Title

Director, Research Compliance

My focus

Develop, implement and monitor policies and procedures for the University as related to non-financial research compliance matters that affect the research mission of the University. Responsibilities include the review and interpretation of regulations that impact compliance with federal and state statues and how changes in those statues will affect the University. Among other areas, the Director ensures compliance and promotes ethical conduct of research in the administration of the:

  • Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
  • Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)

Where I came from

I have spent time in restaurant management, as a high school science teacher, as an admistrator for an independent review company serving human subjects research and the past 7 years here at UMKC in Research Compliance.

Some favorite things

  • My family – wife Teresa and 3 children
  • Watching my children enjoy their respective activities
    • Oldest son – baseball and basketball
    • Middle son – basketball and track
    • Daughter – gymnastics
  • College football and basketball, especially the Oklahoma Sooners
  • Reading

We’re Here to Help: Andrea Uhl

Title

Senior Grants & Contracts Administrator

My focus

I assist the University faculty and staff in the grant application and award process. I serve as an advocate for our faculty doing my best to provide the tools and explanations to allow them to communicate their project and/or research plans and goals as effectively as possible.

Where I came from

Although I was born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri I’ve now called the Kansas City area my home just a few years longer. My first home in the metro was on the campus of William Jewell College where I studied Vocal Music Performance, Political Science, Psychology and History. Later, I transferred to UMKC to continue my studies and found a wonderful first “real job” working in the School of Biological Sciences. My introduction to grants, research and grants management all started 18 years ago, filling out carbon grant forms on a type writer for the faculty in SBS! Enjoying the academic culture and opportunities here at UMKC I continued on as a fiscal officer in SBS, then moved to the Grants Officer position at the School of Medicine and eventually landed at the Office of Research Services as a Grants and Contracts Administrator. In 2009 I had the opportunity to explore healthcare grants and research administration at The Children’s Mercy Hospital where I spent six years working with researchers and faculty as a grants specialist. As my children were starting pre-school and my husband’s business was growing I diversified my efforts; I started a part-time research and grants consulting business, while managing our business and spending as much time with our twins as possible. As our children started kindergarten, the opportunity to “come back home” to UMKC and the Office of Research Services presented itself at the perfect time for me and my family. I’m so happy to return to the campus I love doing the work I’ve come to love!

What I love about working in Research Administration

The faculty we work with have the brilliance and expertise to formulate some amazing projects to teach, improve and develop many expansive fields. Research Administration can be full of complex and tedious tasks covering everything from proof-reading to composing detailed budgets, filling out multifaceted and intricate forms and providing endless information and justifications. Assisting faculty through these administrative tasks, I feel I am doing my part to provide the tools for them to grow and progress in their research.

Some favorite things

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family; husband Nathan, daughter Blythe and son Phineas. The twins keep us busy with many activities including soccer and family game night but I also find time to enjoy singing, running and training for races. This October I plan to run my third full marathon and take a break from the “long races” to enjoy some beautiful Kansas City Fall weather with outdoor yoga and cycling with my family.