ORSP Administration & Staff

ORSP Mailing Address:

MTSU Box 124
2269 Middle Tennessee Boulevard
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Email: research@mtsu.edu

David L. Butler, Ph.D. David Butler, Vice Provost
Vice Provost for Research
and Dean of Graduate Studies 
(615) 898-2182 

Tara Hayes, Administrative AssistantTara Hayes
Administrative Assistant to VPR & Dean  
Phone: (615) 898-5897    Fax: (615) 904-8020 

rachel Rachel McGinnis
ORSP Director
Phone (615) 898-5010

Oversees operations including Pre-award, Post-award, and IRB/IACUC.

MedranoKatieKatie Medrano
(615) 904-8040

Provides internal operational support for all areas of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, including faculty start-ups, internal research funding, procurement and personnel (hiring, termination, extra comp, summer salary), events, and website design. 

Dr. Jamie BurrissJamie Burriss, Ph.D.
Program Manager
(615) 494-7669 

Oversees the Undergraduate Research Center (URC) including serving as the advisor for the Student Organization for the Advancement of Research (SOAR), oversight of URC communications, SOAR Ambassadors, and graduation distinction, facilitates the Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activity (URECA) grant cycles, coordinates events such as the Fall Open House, Scholars Week, and Posters at the Capitol, and organizes workshops offered by the URC.  Facilitates the MT-Internal Grants Opportunities (MT-IGO) program, Grant Writing Enhancement Program (GEP), ORSP communications, and the ORSP training program.  Serves as Fulbright Scholar Liaison for faculty.  Oversees Export Control Compliance Verification forms for international travel.

Compliance Officer

(615) 898-2400

Responsible for specific components of research compliance including the Institutional Review Board, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and Research Integrity; including, developing and implementing policies, procedures, programs, and educational activities which satisfy Federal, State, Local and institutional rules and regulations which govern proper conduct of research.


Lisa Lee
(615) 904-8398

Provides support for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs by overseeing contracts, faculty start-ups, budgeting, and more.

Awards Management Staff

Our Awards Management staff is responsible for increasing faculty and staff research and sponsored programs by the development and delivery of training, partnership development, pre-proposal planning, and proposal development. 

The duties of the Award Management Specialist are to manage grantee contract requirements and performance; maintain grant records; monitor and report on grant strategy budgets; and ensure compliance with organizational and federal rules and regulations.

The staff provide dual control and administrative support to Principal Investigators/Project Directors to ensure timely and proper administration of externally-funded activity.  Their roles include initiating the set-up of new awards in Banner for finance and human resources functions, reviewing for approval of all financial personnel transactions requested on each assigned award, and conducting periodic comprehensive desk review/audit of each award. 

Janie BeckerJanie Becker
Award Management Specialist
(615) 494-8751 

Post-Award Assignments:

College of Basic & Applied Science: Agriculture, Biology (O-Z) & Geosciences
Mary E. Miller Chair of Excellence in Equine Health Data Science Institute
Center for Health and Human Services Tennessee STEM Education Center


Kelsey BentonKelsey Benton
Award Management Specialist
Post-Award Assignments:
College of Education  MTeach
University College Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans & Military Family Center
Academic Affairs Student Recreation Center
Student Affairs Womack Educational Leadership
College of Basic & Applied Science: Concrete & Construction Management & Aerospace

Keith Palmer, Award Management SpecialistKeith Palmer
Award Management Specialist
(615) 494-7600

Post-Award Assignments:

College of Basic & Applied Science:  
Biology – Faculty last names (A-N), Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Tech & Mathematical Sciences 
Center for Popular Music  


John SousaJohn Sousa, M.F.A.
Award Management Specialist
(615) 898-5894

Post-Award Assignments:

College of Liberal Arts Center for Historic Preservation
Office of International Affairs      Center for East & South Asian Studies
Dept. of Recording Industry Governor's School for the Arts
ACE Learning Center Albert Gore Research Center
Political Economy Research Institute
College of Behavioral & Health Sciences: Criminal Justice 
College of Basic & Applied Science: Physics & Astronomy


Michelle Willard, Award Management Specialist

Michelle Willard
Award Management Specialist
(615) 494-7848 

Post-Award Assignments:

College of Behavioral & Health Sciences     Tennessee Small Business Development Center
School of Journalism & Strategic Media Business Education Research Center
Jennings A. Jones College of Business Forensic Institute for Research & Education
Public Safety James E. Walker Library
June Anderson Center for Women & Nontraditional Students
College of Liberal Arts: Sociology & Anthropology



Julie Darbonne
External Grant Coordinator
(615) 898-2400

Supports faculty and staff with hiring, procurement and travel related to external grant activities, as well as provides support for our ORSP team.