Armstrong leads Sponsored Programs to ‘limitless possibilities’

By Michael Linnell
University Communications Director

MINOT, N.D. – When Minot State University hired Amy Armstrong to lead its Office of Sponsored Programs, the University knew exactly what kind of person it was hiring.

Armstrong, who earned a Master of Education, with a concentration in Special Education from MSU, has been with the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD), a Center of Excellence housed at Minot State, since 2001. She currently is the project director for Minot State’s North Dakota Advancing Students Towards Education and Employment Program (ASTEP), an inclusive college program for students with intellectual disabilities.

“Over the years, I’ve been writing grants and implementing them,” she said. “Not just the writing part but working on whatever we set out to do when we wrote it. At NDCPD, our work is focused on supporting people with disabilities.”

Not only does Armstrong come in with multiple years of writing and working on grants, her full-time status at the University evolved due to a grant.

“I was very part time when I first started with NDCPD but in 2003, I applied to work on a grant full time,” Armstrong said. “Since then, I’ve worked on a number of different grants. At NDCPD, its all about filling the needs of the community. We find ways to fund great ideas.”

“For a number of years, Minot State has been without someone whose focus is to help faculty and staff find and secure grants,” said Laurie Geller, Minot State vice president for academic affairs. “We are excited Amy jumped at the chance to take on the challenge of this new role. Her grant experiences and familiarity with Minot State have made the transition easy. She will be a great asset to the campus community.”

Her passion for writing and seeing grants through to the end stems from being a part of the process in the very beginning. While it wasn’t necessarily her vocation of choice after college, seeing the benefits firsthand has made for an exciting career.

“I think, through my existence here, I have been able to see the impact grants have,” she said. “That’s been exciting for me. I want to be able to share that.”

In July, the University decided to centralize grant writing and decided on a 50-50 position with Armstrong retaining aspects of her current role at NDCPD with duties to expand and enhance the Office of Sponsored Programs.

“I’m implementing a grant now as the director of ASTEP,” Armstrong said. “With all of us as NDCPD, we are all responsible for writing grants, we have regular meetings to discuss future opportunities, what we should be writing for, and who should be part of the writing team. Each of us has an expertise and we utilize that.

“Now, with Sponsored Programs, it will be about reaching out to faculty and staff to help them feel confident in writing grants and to help them find funding opportunities. I will be helping them figure out what is required, what steps need to take place to write the grant, and I will help them implement the grant once it’s funded because there can be a lot of rules and reporting requirements.”

Over the first semester in Sponsored Programs, she has been able to move the office forward right from the start.

“It’s been busy,” Armstrong said. “I had faculty reach out in the first few days. I hope to keep that going from here. I held some training sessions of what this office can do and how I can help with the grant writing process. I plan on doing more training in the future. I really want to help faculty and staff navigate the process and alleviate the unknowns and fears they might have.”

While Armstrong understands there is plenty of work ahead, she also believes the Office of Sponsored Programs can have a lasting effect on Minot State and the community.

“My job will be to reach out and find out what the faculty and staff want or need, what type of grants they could be looking for, and what new and innovative ideas fit the work they are doing at the University,” she said. “There are limitless possibilities.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 12/19/19   

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