March 3, 2022
Welcome to the twenty-second in our continuing series: GSO Profiles! Each post features a brief interview with a member of the GSO community. These profiles are one way we highlight the hard work of our community members.
Brenda is the Scientific Research Grant Assistant (SRGA) working for the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI). Brenda is a relatively new member of the Bay Campus community, having started here in 2020 just weeks before COVID precautions required most of us to work from home. But she is not new to URI: Brenda had been working in the Chemical Engineering Department since 2007. Brenda enjoys the new challenges of her OECI work.
Here’s Brenda in her own words:
GSOP:: Tell us about the usual work you do at GSO.
BM: I manage the grant for the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI). This is a grant from NOAA that funds the cooperative partnership between the University of Rhode Island (URI), the University of New Hampshire, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Ocean Exploration Trust and the University of Southern Mississippi. In my role, I track the overall spending not only by partner institutions but by partner/project metrics and provide monthly status reports to the OECI Executive Director Adam Soule and others, as well as budget breakdowns by respective projects.
I assist the OECI Executive Office with budget proposal preparation and ensure that the proposals contain all the documentations and forms required by both NOAA and URI prior to creating, uploading and submitting the proposals in the submission portal called InfoEd. Requesting funding is essential to the continuation of support for researchers making advancements in exploring, sampling and mapping the ocean floor.
On any given day, I might track and process payment of invoices from subawardees, initiate travel authorization requests and expense reports, manage purchase orders for subawardees, initiate purchase orders as needed, and reconcile PCard transactions. Another important part of my role at the OECI is to establish working relationships and communicate with other departments at URI as well as with partner institutions.
GSOP: Tell us in general how your work at GSO changed due to the COVID situation, and also changes during the time when most people worked remotely.
BM: The timing of my leaving the main campus and starting at the GSO was 6 weeks before COVID hit and offices went remote. It was an interesting time as I transitioned to a new job and suddenly found myself working from home. I was fortunate to have met so many people in such a short time at GSO before we went remote. If I had a question, there was always someone that I could reach out to. Thank you!
GSOP: What is your favorite thing about your work?
BM: I enjoy working with such a great group of people both at URI and at the partner institutions who bring such innovation and vision in their desire to explore the undersea. The mathematician in me loves tracking the various metrics between the overall budget, partner institutions and projects.
GSOP: What brought you to GSO?
BM: I had periodically been looking at new job postings at URI and was intrigued to see that GSO and OECI were looking for a part-time SRGA. I have a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of New Hampshire’s College of Engineering & Physical Science, and this seemed like it would be a great fit with my background. I was interviewed, offered the position, and accepted!
GSOP: What do you do for fun outside of work?
BM: For fun, I enjoy recreational sailing as well as competitively racing one-design and United States Sailing Association Performance Handicap Racing Fleet sailboats. I like to bike, golf, alpine and cross-country ski and hike/backpack. I am looking forward to being able to resume traveling with my husband outside of the U.S. again once COVID restrictions ease.
GSOP: What is your favorite spot or view at GSO?
BM: It always makes me smile in the morning when I cross Route 1 at the Tower and can see the water in the distance. Then I walk into the foyer of the OSEC building and see Narragansett Bay. It’s a great way to start the day!