Research involves far more than just data collection and analysis. Complex research projects require intensive logistics planning and fiscal management behind the scenes. Tamara Lopez knows this firsthand.
Ms. Lopez serves as the fiscal coordinator for the research projects associated with the Center for Research & Development in Dual Language & Literacy Acquisition (CRDLLA). She started as a coordinator with Project English Language & Literacy Acquisition—Validation (ELLA-V) in 2013 after working in Texas A&M University’s Sponsored Research Services office.
In addition to other responsibilities, Ms. Lopez works closely with the project principal investigators and lead coordinators as well as research personnel in the College of Education & Human Development and the university on budgeting, hiring, purchasing, bill payment, compliance issues, and reporting. She handles the center’s grant funding—more than $48.9 million in federal and state monies, and $12.3 million in private sector funds—totaling more than $61.2 million.
How does she keep it all straight? “Lots of organization and attention to detail!” she said. Calendar reminders, task lists, and spreadsheets are essential.
“The research team has been trusted by the federal and state government, as well as private companies, to properly manage over $61 million, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to assist in this effort,” Ms. Lopez said. “It is a large undertaking that requires great responsibility and due diligence. Daily, I balance meeting the needs of the grant work along with institutional, sponsor, and government rules and regulations.”
“Although it is challenging at times, the impact the research is making in the state of Texas and the nation is inspiring. The current grant portfolio is directly impacting 20,800 students, 5,005 teachers, 2,320 principals and school leaders, and has an innumerable indirect impact on many more students, teachers, principals, school leaders, parents, and communities.”