Supporting the faculty, staff and students of the basic science academic departments

 

Staff Spotlight

Kayla Palmer, MS

My work environment and day-to-day operations allow me to explore all aspects of research projects, from inception to close, which makes me appreciate the process and innovation it takes to be a scientist.”

Kayla Palmer, MS
kayla.palmer@northwestern.edu
Research Administrator
Office: Ward 5-313
Phone: 312-503-7585

Where is your hometown?

I grew up in the city of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, about two and a half hours south of Chicago.

What is your educational background?

After graduating high school, I attended DePaul University in Lincoln Park where I received my Bachelor of Science in biological sciences in 2017. I then relocated to Baltimore, Maryland to pursue a Master of Science in biotechnology with concentrations in regenerative medicine and stem cell technologies at Johns Hopkins University.

Tell us about your professional background.

Prior to joining the staff and faculty here at Feinberg, I coupled my graduate studies and research with my work at the American Physiological Society (APS). While at APS, my primary focus was working with early-stage investigators, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates to promote opportunities and exploration through physiological research, with a specific focus on reaching underrepresented racial and ethnic groups not typically recognized in science, technology, engineering and medical fields. While I completed my graduate program at Johns Hopkins, I worked with a philanthropic and science-minded group called eNABLE, combining the need for prosthetic appendages like mechanical forearms and hands with functioning fingers to individuals across the globe with congenital deformities and veterans who lost their limbs in battle. In total, I was able to assist with grant-writing and administering and coordinating projects, awards and programs for close to 800 students, researchers and educators.

When did you join BSA?

I started as a Research Administrator in the Basic Science Administration in November 2020.

What is your role in the Basic Science Administration?

My primary responsibilities as a research administrator are to support eight principal investigators and their lab members in the proposal development, submission, management and closeout of their projects. Each phase of support requires a different set of skills, including assisting with communication with grant officials, managing finances and assisting with program requirements so that research continues to perform well and with few hassles.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Working remotely since my hiring has limited my exploration into the job but working with and learning more about each project my PIs are working on is extremely fascinating. I enjoy reading about the work that is being proposed during development, as well as seeing how external factors can cause fluctuation in the research being conducted, like how COVID-19 has affected some of the research two or three years in versus the research that only just began in the last six months.

Why do you enjoy working at Northwestern?

I enjoy working at Northwestern for a variety of different reasons, and in my short time at Feinberg, there is always another new thing to add to the list. My work environment and day-to-day operations really allow me to explore all aspects of research projects, from inception to close, which makes me appreciate the process and the innovation it takes to be a scientist even more. I also appreciate the many opportunities to learn more about other departments, participate in forums throughout the university and sit in on discussions about the research being conducted throughout the organization.

What exciting projects are you working on?

Drs. Chisholm, Rasmussen-Torvik and McNally in the Center of Genetic Medicine are working on a project that involves clinical trials related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the recruitment has been slightly delayed, the project is beginning to pick up momentum and I can’t wait to see what results come out of the project as a whole

What are your hobbies/extracurricular interests?

When I’m not completing my duties as a research administrator, I am finding a new course to take on Coursera or working on business proposals for dream ventures to pursue with my two sisters. For fun, I love to cook and often challenge myself to find new and inventive ways to create tasteful meals from the remnants in the pantry or refrigerator right before “grocery shopping day.” I’ve most recently taken a liking to baking after binge-watching "The Great British Bake Off" and attempting some of Paul Hollywood’s most famous recipes. I am also a card and board game connoisseur of sorts; I’m always challenging someone to play against me in one the games within my 32-game collection.

Anything else we should know about you?

I’m a volunteer-aholic! Though the pandemic has proven many limitations to the places and people I can serve, you can find me participating in two or three service projects every month. Whether that is helping my church’s food pantry organize the grocery baskets for our community, being a “day buddy” at a nursing home or being a virtual math tutor, I find that serving is the warmest gift you can give someone.

Ashn Kinsey

I enjoy the different types of research that is being done, and seeing it progress as the projects are completed.”

Ashton Kinsey
ashton.kinsey@northwestern.edu
Accounting Specialist
Office: Ward 8-290

Where is your hometown?

Lincoln, NE

Tell us about your professional background.

Prior to coming to Northwestern, I worked at UIC for several years as an Account Clerk.

When did you join BSA?

I joined BSA and Northwestern in November 2020.

What is your role in the Basic Science Administration?

I’m an Accounting Specialist. My main duties include procurement and expense reports for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I enjoy the different types of research that is being done, and seeing it progress as the projects are completed.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy traveling and SCUBA diving. I have been diving on all 7 continents and am now trying to dive in all 50 states.

Ellie Msser

I enjoy problem solving, working with faculty/staff in a collaborative fashion, and opportunities to learn/grow.”

Ellie Musser
ellie.musser@northwestern.edu
Associate Dept. Administrator 2
Office: Morton 5-654
Phone: 312-503-4637

Where is your home town?

Chicago, Illinois

What is your educational background?

Master’s in Public Health Policy & Administration and Minor in Epidemiology from University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

Tell us about your professional background.

Before coming to BSA, I worked at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering. Prior to that, I lived in Indianapolis and was a Manager at Indiana University (IU) Health systems overseeing customer service operations for three hospitals and several medical centers. My favorite part of this job was developing programs to improve the non-clinical component of patient satisfaction. I was also a financial analyst at IU Health specifically supporting Riley Hospital for Children. I’ve also worked at the United Way as a capital funds coordinator.

Fun fact: In my first job out of college, I was an adjunct lecturer in an introductory health policy class at UIUC and had some current NBA players as my students!

When did you join BSA?

2013

What is your role in the Basic Science Administration?

I am an Associate Department Administrator. Our groups' focus encompasses HR, Payroll, Faculty Recruiting, Graduate Students, Visa, Recharge Centers, etc.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I enjoy problem solving, working with faculty/staff in a collaborative fashion, and opportunities to learn/grow.

What are your hobbies/extra-curricular interests?

Portrait and Landscape Photography

Den Gnzalez

I enjoy the problem solving opportunities aspect of the job because each experience is a stepping stone in my development of being a better research administrator. ”

Den Gonzalez
den.gonzales@northwestern.edu
Manager of Research Administration
Office: Ward 8-074
Phone: 312-503-4951
Where is your hometown?

Chicago, IL

What is your educational background?

I studied Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I am enrolling in Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies this Spring Quarter to pursue  a degree in Information Systems.

Tell us about your professional background.

Back in 1996, while I was still in college, I worked at American National Bank and First Chicago Bank (now Chase Bank) in various financial/accounting jobs. In the spring of 2003, I worked at Wrigley Field when the Cubs ALMOST made the World Series. By that summer, I had my first temp job at Northwestern University working for the Parking Office counting cars in the lot across the street from the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion/Norris Aquatic Center on the Evanston Campus. I worked two more temp jobs until January 2004 when I was hired full-time as a Program Assistant at the Center for Public Safety. I left the position in 2006 to become the assistant for the Executive Associate Director for Research at the Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) on the Chicago Campus. I had several jobs at FSM before I returned to Evanston in 2009 to work in the Office for Sponsored Research to pursue a career in Research Administration. I left OSR in 2010 and spent a year in the Department of Chemistry as a Research Coordinator. Then in 2011, I was hired as a Research Administrator in the Department of Physiology. When Physiology was incorporated into the Basic Science Administration (BSA), I was promoted to Senior Research Administrator. After a few years, I left BSA in 2014 as I had an opportunity to work as a Financial Administrator at the Institute of Marine Biology in Kane'ohe, Hawaii. After a year, I returned to the mainland and worked at the University of Chicago in the Section of Cardiology as an Administrative Coordinator and Assistant to the Section Chief. Finally, the opportunity to return to Northwestern came in October 2016, when I was hired back as a Research Administrator in BSA.

When did you join BSA?

I initially joined BSA in November 2011. I had left in June 2014 and spent the next few years at the University of Hawaii and University of Chicago until my return to BSA in October 2016.

What is your role in the Basic Science Administration?

I am a Research Administrator and my role is to support researchers and ensure successful research efforts by providing all pre- and post-award administrative needs.

What is your favorite part of the job?

As a Research Administrator, new challenges arrive to my desk almost every day. I enjoy the problem solving opportunities aspect of the job because each experience is a stepping stone in my development of being a better research administrator. I am also appreciative that I am in an environment that encourages professional development and provides opportunities for growth.

What are your hobbies/what do you do in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids any chance I get. My oldest son is already in college and working while my other children are in high school with their own activities so it’s becoming difficult for us to hang out together as we used to. Nevertheless, my wife and I try to get all the kids rounded up for lunch and/or dinner at least once a month.

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