Colleges and Schools Contacts

Departmental Research Administrators (DRAs) have a wide range of responsibilities and functions while managing research portfolios. DRAs work at the departmental and college levels. DRAs have expertise in both pre- and postaward activities and are intimately involved with all facets of the research administration process.  

Kim Blankenship, Ph.D
Assoc. Dean for Research

Irina Komives
Director of Pre-Award Grants and Contracts 

Julia Murray
Pre-Award Grants & Contracts Coord. 

Cathy Samuels
Director, Contract Admin. 

Antoinette Small
Asst. Dir., Grants & Contracts Admin. 

Ernesto Asuncion
Contract Coordinator 

Michele Mazzocchetti
Contract Coordinator

Parthiban David
Sr. Assoc. Dean for Academic Affairs

Reena Dwire
Academic Affairs Grant Coord. 

Neelum Buttar
Asst. Dir., Financial Operations

Kristi Plahn-Gjersvold
Asst. Dean of Admin. & Strategic Initiatives

Guenet Assefa
Finance Manager

Bridget Mullan
Pre-Award Grant and Contract Coordinator

Sepi Davoudzadeh
Grants and Contracts Manager

David Lindgren
Asst. Director, SIS Grant Dev. 

Sandra Martinez
Sr. Director, Finance and Admin.

Lela Gant
Grants and Contracts Manager

Claudia Lazo
Director, Finance and Administration

Dave Marcotte
Director, WIPAR

Colette Abichaker
Asst. Director, WIPAR 

Edith Laurencin
Dir., Financial Operations

Heather Kirkland
Asst, Dir. Fin. Ops. and Grants Mgmt.

Michele Mikkelsen
Director, Administrative Services 

Laura Neal
Assistant to the University Librarian

LaShana Calloway
Sr. Grant and Contract Manager

Lynn Croneberger
Chief Development Officer 

Colin Eustis
Financial Analyst

Central Research Administrators- OSP Staff

Central Research Administrators serves as a central resource to support all American University research endeavors by providing guidance and stewardship for researchers and administrators. The purpose of central research administration is to provide administrative support to investigators in their pursuit of research and other scholarly activities while ensuring compliance with federal, local, organizational and sponsor regulations, term and conditions.


Matters related to proposals prior to submission to the sponsor. Provides budget development services as needed, reviews proposal budgets for compliance with AU and federal guidelines, coordinates the AU routing process with PI, Dept. Chair, Dean and Vice Provost. Reviews proposal components for responsiveness to RFPs, handles just-in-time requests and other pre-award requests and submits proposals when institutional submission is required.

Alison Kaufman


Unit Assignments:

  • School of Communication
  • School of International Service
  • SPExS
  • School of Public Affairs
  • University Library
  • WAMU

Karissa Dysart


Unit Assignments:

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • Kogod School of Business
  • School of Public Affiars- JPO
  • Washington College of Law

Ashley Alexander


Unit Assignments:

  • Center for Latin American & Latino Studies
  • Center for Teaching, Research & Learning


Negotiates award terms and conditions to ensure compliance and institutional acceptance, submits carry-forward and re-budgeting requests, obtains the signature of authorized institutional official, setup of awards in Cayuse and advise of award special terms, conditions and/or restrictions, reviews and processes non-financial award modifications, supplements and amendments, facilitates close out of awards, submits non-financial award/project reports: technical, progress and final reports when institutional submission is required.