|Julie C. Kong, Director of Research Services in the Dean’s Office|
at the School of Public Health, and APAC member.
By Katherine Vega
JULIE C. KONG, the Director of Research Services in the Dean’s Office at the School of Public Health, has spent more than half her life at UIC. “UIC is one of those places that many people such as myself keep coming back to!” said Kong.
AFTER RECEIVING her degree in in nutrition and dietetics from the College of Applied Health Sciences and working as a dietitian, she came back as a teaching assistant in the Department of Nutrition and Medical Dietetics in 1984 and became an instructor and the Coordinator of the Undergraduate Dietetics Program the following year.
KONG SERVED in other roles outside of UIC but came back again to become the Administrative Director of the first UIC Cancer Center in 1996. “In 1999, I came to the School of Public Health to start the pre-awards research office,” she said. Kong has been there ever since.
THE SCHOOL of Public Health’s Office of Research Services, an office with a staff of three pre-awards sponsored project specialists, helps pre-award researchers get their proposals organized and submitted to federal and non-profit organizations. This may sound like a broad set of tasks—and it is.
KONG’S OFFICE provides “full-service proposal development for faculty and students,” she said. In addition to hosting grant workshops and searching for funding opportunities, the Office of Research Services also organizes the Annual SPH Research Day. “We have a diverse set of other responsibilities…such as writing and organizing the content for the research section of the College’s website, managing the scientific peer review process, running the College’s Seed Funding Competition and poster office, and analyzing the research activities of the college,” said Kong.
“MY GOAL is to continue to advance research in the college and support the development of my staff, who are the foundation of the office,” Kong said. “It is critical for pre-awards research offices to be visionary and develop new strategies to expand their enterprise to further support faculty.”
OFFICES SUCH as Research Services are crucial to providing investigators the means to grow their research portfolio. A strong administrative backing of that process is essential to innovation and exploration, according to Kong. “The field of research administration has really progressed over the past few years,” she said. “In particular, having a pre-awards research office provides endless possibilities in creating something ‘new.’”
“THERE ARE new relationships that are being fostered for collaborations, the training of new investigators on how to prepare their first grant proposal, and the developing of new initiatives for the college,” she continued.
FOR KONG, joining APAC was an easy decision. “APAC is valuable because they are the advocate for the interests of all Academic Professionals,” she said. She also appreciates what APAC represents to her. A fan of both acronyms and advancement, she believes that “Activism is Positive and Affects Change.”
KONG KNOWS that staff members are some of the most important members of the UIC community, and this translates to her work with APAC. “I am currently part of the Professional Development Committee because I enjoy supporting the personal and professional growth of one of our campus’ most valuable resources—our staff,” she said.
KONG’S STAFF of pre-awards sponsored projects specialists are Academic Professionals. “As research administrators, it is essential that they have the resources to grow in their careers so that their talents can be further enhanced for their jobs,” said Kong.
“UIC HAS many wonderful and hard-working Academic Professionals and APAC works extremely hard to recognize and retain these professionals,” she concluded.
TO CONTACT Kong, email firstname.lastname@example.org.