Before the grants and contracts that support research projects in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute can be submitted, many have to cross Brad King's desk.
Now, as part of a six-month administrative fellowship, King, associate coordinator of grants and contracts, is learning about what happens once faculty and researchers are awarded funding from federal, state and industry sponsors.
"In my job, I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I deal with everything until we get the award or grant," said King, whose position is with the Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research Office in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. "What made me want to do this administrative fellowship was to see what they're doing with the grant once they got it."
Through the EMS fellowship program, staff interested in expanding their expertise by working with mentors in other offices and units can apply to become fellows. King is working with Deb Detwiler, the administrative assistant in EESI who coordinates research proposals and administers grant awards; and Tracy Bernier, administrative assistant to EESI Director Sue Brantley.
"I wanted to broaden my administrative knowledge, and I think learning the post-award side of things will help me help the researchers on the pre-award side too," King said.
On average for the past three years, EESI faculty and researchers have submitted 66 proposals a year. That funding supports research across a range of subjects from the behavior of ice sheets in the Antarctic to ancient leaves buried in forests and streams. Current EESI projects include a $12 million National Science Foundation award for the Sustainable Climate Risk Management initiative, and $5 million from the NSF for the Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory.
King started his job in EMS in November 2010 after graduating from Penn State with a bachelor's in labor studies and employment relations. He had at one point majored in professional golf management — but found that wasn't his calling.
"After I switched majors, I didn't golf for two years."
He is back to golfing now - just not as a career.
"EMS is a great college," he said. "I love working for EMS, and I can't think of a better place to do my fellowship than EESI."