STEM Saturday a Success

Dr. Raven and the undergraduate volunteers introduce themselves before the activities begin.

The Community Research through Engagement in STEM Teaching (CREST) Project focuses on undergraduate STEM majors who will be entering the STEM workforce. Undergraduates will be working on developing communication and collaboration skills through working with elementary-age students during STEM Saturdays, a community event where students and parents from Caldwell Intermediate School are invited to participate in engaging STEM-related activities. The project is funded through two internal grants, one through the department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture and one through the College of Education and Human Development. Dr. Sara Raven, a professor of science education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture, is leading the project. In addition, three professors from the department are Co-PIs: Dr. Cheryl Craig, Dr. Trina Davis, and Dr. Valerie Hill-Jackson. This spring they ran a pilot STEM Saturday with 8 TAMU undergraduate student volunteers and approximately 30 grades 3-5 students and their parents. Click here to read more about Dr. Raven’s project.


Research Dean’s Corner

by Dr. Susan Bloomfield

It’s a busy time as we wrap up the academic year and transition into the more fluid schedules of summer— I will strive for brevity in my comments, mostly to alert our College research faculty to some important issues coming down the pike.

First, kudos on two distinctive achievements in the last two months:

  • Grand opening of our Human Clinical Research Facility:  check out the video embedded in this newsletter if you were not able to attend the grand opening on April 11, in which you can catch short clips of our Dean, President Michael Young and our Congressional Representative Bill Flores commenting on this impressive new facility. It’s not often that a college focusing on education leads the way in biomedical clinical research on its campus, but that is exactly what we are doing. Research Deans from across the university toured the facility on May 10 and were quite impressed with the hospital-grade clinical rooms, extensive functional testing areas, and analytical labs featuring four mass spectrometers.  Congratulations to Rick Kreider, HLKN Department Head and HCRF Executive Director, who envisioned this clinical research facility years ago, and to Dr. Mick Deutz , Director of Clinical Research at the HCRF  and Director  of the Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity, as well as Dr. Marielle Engelen,  Head Clinical Research & Co-director of the  Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity  whose expertise was pivotal in developing this state-of–the–art facility.   Support from former CEHD Dean Doug Palmer and the Vice President for Research Glen Laine, as well as Provost Karan Watson, was also pivotal in making this building a reality.  Dean Joyce Alexander and I are fully committed to developing support from other units around our campus and from the university administration for this unique resource for all researchers interested in clinically-oriented human subjects work.
  • EPSY’s Dr. Tim Elliott received the Association of Former Students’ Distinguished Achievement Award in Research last month.    Elliott blends his background in mental health care for disabled individuals with innovative health-care delivery methods to reach underserved clients, tested by rigorous randomized clinical trials.   Talk about transforming lives as well as his research discipline!

Recent and future workshops for PI’s:  We just delivered two “Tips and Tricks of Proposal Budget Preparation” workshops last week to some 22 faculty and research staff.  One assistant professor commented, “Wish I had known all this my first semester here!”   We will consider offering versions of this more often, especially to new faculty as they join our CEHD departments.   I am meeting with CEHD Assistant Professors this week for informal discussions on how best to support their research efforts; thus far, assistance in locating appropriate funding opportunities both large and small is one key priority.    Stay tuned for more on this soon.

Issues coming down the pike soon: 

  • Is TAMU HIPAA-compliant? If you work with Protected Health Information (PHI), this is important to you.  The TAMU-HSC is indeed compliant right now with the stringent IT requirements (data encryption, secure storage, e.g.), with oversight by its own Privacy Officer. Texas A&M proper (all non-HSC units) is not currently compliant with these HIPAA requirements.  The good news is that our new VP for Information Technology, Dee Childs, has formed a task group charged with getting this in place in the next several months.  If  you are currently, or will soon be, working with PHI data, please contact me directly for more information.
  • Positive developments in AUP/IRB processes In mid-April, our College CPI group hosted Ms. Aliese Seawright, the new Director of the Human Research Protection Program (more commonly known as the “IRB Office”).  She presented encouraging information about her office’s work on enacting  “delayed-onset determination” variants on the usual IRB, now allowed by federal law.    In cases when getting the full IRB application approved is difficult and/or slow, these delayed-onset IRB applications describe only the critical planning/purchasing training needed to get a project up and running before any contact is made with human subjects and allow spending to commence while awaiting approval of the full IRB application.   Stay tuned for announcements for when this option is in place.
  • Earlier deadlines for delivering proposals to SRS The Division of Research (headed by our VPR) has told the University Research Council that it will likely start requiring in the near future that final grant proposal budgets and text be submitted to SRS 5 business days ahead of your funding agency’s deadline.  [This is common practice at most peer research universities around the U.S.]  SRS might accept proposals later but with absolutely no guarantee of quality checks, which can find missing proposal elements or incomplete forms that increase your risk of automatic rejection by the funding agency.   I urge everyone to start planning your future grant preparation schedules with this earlier deadline in mind, especially with regards to setting even earlier deadlines  (e.g. 3 weeks before agency deadline) for any sub-contract budgets or cost-share commitments from collaborators.   Jesús and Sharmila in our pre-award office can definitely assist you in this effort, particularly for more complicated proposal budgets.   A few more days advance submission can really result in higher quality proposals that will be more competitive.

Changing leadership within University Administration impacting on our research mission:  Dr. Glen Laine has resigned as VPR, effective May 31.   Our Interim VPR will be Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, Professor of Electrical Engineering and currently Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies (with whom I worked for four + years while in OGAPS).   We await the outcome of the search for a new Provost, after hearing interviews from three distinguished finalists.   Throughout these changes in university leadership, I will continue to work diligently to represent our College’s unique interests.

Our college, university, state and nation benefit immensely from the important research you perform; thanks for all you do, often in the wee hours, to maintain your active research programs.  I wish for everyone some restorative R&R over the summer months ahead.

CPI Updates

by Dr. Jennifer B.  Ganz

The CEHD CPI has worked with PI’s and business administrators  throughout the College to draft proposed edits to the F&A and salary savings guideline. We have now turned it over to the Dean’s Council for their consideration. We greatly appreciate the participation of the members of CPI, college PIs, potential PI’s, faculty and staff who have contributed to this discussion.


Dr. Elliott Receives Association of Former Students Award

Dr. Tim Elliott, (EPSY) professor of counseling psychology, was selected by Texas A&M and the Association of Former Students to be honored with a 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award in Research. Dr. Elliott’s continued passion for research is one of the reasons he was selected to receive a 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award in Research. Congratulations Dr. Elliott!

Click here to read more about Dr. Elliott’s award.



SUMMIT For Meaningful Impact on Learning and Education-A Texas Schools Summit

Dr. Wijekumar with Senior Research Associate, Ms. Andrea Beerwinkle, attendee Teresa Limpo and Dr. Jackie Stillisano of ERC at SUMMIT in San Antonio.

Director of the Center for Urban Schools Partnerships (CUSP), Dr. Kay Wijekumar, recently organized an outstanding day-long summit in San Antonio, Texas, at the Hilton Hill Country Resort and Spa.  With speakers from Texas A&M’s College of Education and Human Development, as well as Arizona State University and University of California, Irvine, SUMMIT included research presentations ranging from literacy, reading comprehension, autism, writing instruction, assessment and the importance of STEM in early childhood.  Presenting from CEHD was Dr. Joyce Alexander, Dr. Julie Thompson and Dr. Jackie Stillisano.


 Human Clinical Research Facility Holds Grand Opening

The newly opened Human Clinical Research Facility (HCRF) held its Grand Opening on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.  The HCRF will be home to both the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity (CTRAL)  directed by Dr. Nicolaas Deutz and the Exercise & Sports Nutrition Lab (ESNL) directed by Dr. Richard Kreider.  It was a great event in spite of the stormy weather conditions.  In case you were not able to come, please check out the video with highlights.

Pre-Award Updates

Undergraduate Student Research  Initiative

Applications are now open for the 2018 USRI program.  To read more about this program and find an application form, please visit our office website at:

Also, please take a moment to read some our faculty’s and student’s comments about the impact of undergraduate research experiences funded by USRI awards! Success Stories

Tips and Tricks for Developing a Strong Budget

Pre Award team members, Windy Hollis Turner,  Jesús Palomo, Sharmila Pathikonda, along with Dr. Susan Bloomfield, recently conducted lunch-time review sessions on budget development for grant proposals.  Packed with many good ideas and useful hints, the hour-long events were attended by 22 faculty members and research staff, both novice and veteran.  In case you missed the sessions, please email to request a PDF of the slides.

PIVOT a Good Resource for  Locating Funding

PIVOT is a research funding database provided to the TAMU community by the Texas A&M University Libraries and the Vice Chancellor for Research. PIVOT allows research administrators, research development professionals, and individual faculty members to search and track the right research funding opportunities. Recently, Sharmila Pathikonda helped  Dr. Ledric Sherman set up a PIVOT account which includes strategic choices of key words to identify your research area and expertise.  If you need assistance in setting up PIVOT for your research , please contact Sharmila or Jesús at cehdpreaward@tamu.eduFor more information on PIVOT, click here for an easy to follow instruction guide.


Sending attachments back and forth with any grant project when collaborating with colleagues within TAMU or with SRS can easily become a nightmare. Whether it be the budget, the body of the grant,  letters of support, vitas, appendices, pilot data or sometimes syllabi. Syncplicity offers a secure cloud environment for users in The Texas A&M University System to store documents. It enables users to sync any folder or desktop, include and exclude subfolders, and use native clients for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android.  Click Here to get to the TAMU website for more information.

Post Award Updates

Summer Research Support

Summer research staff payroll entries are coming to an end, but there is still time.  If summer payroll details have not been provided to the CERD staff, or if you are curious about the status of your requests, please contact the designated post-award representative listed below.

Summer Tuition

The summer tuition schedule has been released and entries will begin here shortly.  If tuition details have not been provided, please do so by May 15, 2017.

As a reminder, the CERD Office has implemented the GAR Tuition Agreement Form that is required for tuition processing.  If this form has not been provided for Graduate Research Assistants, please do so by the tuition due date of May 15, 2017.  This form can be provided to the appropriate post-award representative listed below.

Fall Research Support

With Summer entries wrapping up, it is a good time to begin planning for Fall 2017 / Spring 2018.  In order to have sufficient time for processing payroll and tuition transactions for summer, we ask that faculty provide research staff payroll and GAR support details no later than July 31, 2017.  Please send information to the designated post-award representative (listed below).

Pro-active Interim Funding Set-up Service

Our office can help speed the set-up of SRS interim funding, coordinating closely with our SRS post-award administrator.   I urge you to take advantage of this new service to get a quick start on your new projects.   See this link on our website for more information:  [Click here to go to the CERD website]

The Post-Award Team

Clayton Holle, Business Administrator (EPSY) – Post-Award Manager

Wyatt Buchanan, Business Coordinator (TLAC/HLKN)

Pamela Parks, Business Coordinator (HLKN)

Mary Seifert, Business Coordinator II (EAHR/EPSY)


New Team Member

The CERD Office has recently hired a Business Coordinator III to provide additional support to the post-award team.  Adriana Burnett will join our post-award team starting May 22, 2017.  Adriana’s role and duties with the our office will be developed over the next few months, but the initial goal will be to support our current staff in effectively responding to PI post-award needs. A little bit about Adriana:

Howdy! My name is Adriana de la Cruz Burnett.  I have worked at Texas A&M University since 2008. My first four years on campus were at Scholarships & Financial Aid.  I worked on their processing team.  My duties included advising students and managing one of the loan programs.  I also advised Veteran students on how to maximize their state and federal educational benefits.  In 2012, I made the transition to the MBA programs office. I worked as Business Coordinator verifying accounts and processing accounts receivables for the department.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family. I have a wonderful husband, three very active daughters, and my parents live next door.  I stay pretty busy with my volunteer efforts in the Navasota school district and at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.

Outreach Coordinator Updates

In April, Spring Branch ISD Associate Superintendent of School Performance, Tyler Ream and Special Education Director, Joni Warren, paid a special visit to campus.  The purpose of the visit was further development of a partnership between Spring Branch ISD and the Center on Disability and Development, directed by Dr. Dalun Zhang.  Superintendent Ream, a California native, moved to Texas recently and had heard much about the Aggies of Texas A&M, but had never before set foot on campus. Outreach Coordinator, Amy Jurica Hinnant, invited Mr. Ream and Ms. Warren  to campus and extended the VIP treatment! After a comprehensive and inspiring student-led tour of Aggieland, a lunch including faculty members Dr. Julie Thompson, Dr. Jeni Ganz, Dr. Mack Burke, Dr. Dalun Zhang, Dr. Meagan Sumbera and Dr. Shaunta Singer  was enjoyed at The University Club.  The group then convened in Harrington Tower for further discussions in ways the CDD can partner with SBISD. A mutual desire for helping serve the needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), supporting development of teachers and staff to better meet the needs of special education learners, and a strong willingness to collaborate between the school district and center was established for future research and study.  If your Center or research project is looking to develop partnerships or build relationships, get in touch with Amy to see if she can help facilitate your needs.  Click here to email her.