Directory & Services

A reorganization of staff function is underway. ORA is now divided into four functional units:

  • Funding and Information Services — assistance with identification of funding sources, funding databases (Pivot [formerly COS] and GrantSearch), information dissemination, limited submission coordination, ORA website maintenance, the Reporter, and more 
  • Proposal and Award Management — budget development, proposal submission, award negotiation and acceptance, subawards, project modifications such as time extensions, expense review and approval, cost transfer approvals, effort certification, and more
  • Financial Reporting and Audit — invoice preparation, financial reporting, payment deposits, project closeout, audit management, F&A and salary recovery distributions, and more
  • Systems and Technology — supports all internal systems used by ORA, SOARFIN queries, local ORA desktop support, and more

There is also the central ORA office staff supporting all activities. We are aligning positions within each function, and changes will occur over time as responsibilities are redefined.

— Marcia Landen (, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration


Funding & Information Services 

J. Syd Conner (, Information Specialist


Nikki Hendricks (,
   Graduate Assistant

Carlton Wade (,
   Graduate Assistant

Proposal & Award Management

T. Michelle Shows (, Director

The Proposal & Award Management (PAM) unit's Grants & Contracts Coordinators, Grants & Contracts Administrators (pre-award) and Grants & Contracts Accountants (post-award) are assigned to specific departments, centers, or other units. Effective Monday, April 20, 2015, PAM is employing a new team approach. By visiting ORA's Annual Reports page in USM's Info Center, you can access an organizational diagram of the PAM unit and a chart showing which departments are assigned to particular ORA staff members and teams. The three teams are identified by color coding. You will be asked to log in to the Info Center with your Campus ID and password. Once you're logged in, the Reports page will open automatically. If you have questions, call us at 601.266.4119 or email us at 

For assistance with Proposals & Contracts:

Omaria Gray (
   Grants & Contracts Administrator

Darlene Ramsey (
   Grants & Contracts Coordinator

Tymika Rushing (
   Grants & Contracts Administrator

Jennifer L. Schmidt (
   Grants & Contracts Administrator

Tyson Silas (
   Grants & Contracts Coordinator

David J. Walker (
   Assistant Director

For assistance with Restricted Fund Expenditures and Time & Effort Reporting:

   Grants & Contracts Accountant

Jeannene Garbee (
   Grants & Contracts Accountant

Christy Harvey (
   Grants & Contracts Coordinator

Avonelle Pugh (
   Associate Director

Amy Pullens (
   Grants & Contracts Accountant

Financial Reporting & Audit

Corrie Thompson (, Manager

For information about invoices, financial reports, project closeout, and audits:  

Shannon Davis (
   Contracts Accountant: Fixed Price Projects, State & 
   Business/Industry Agencies

Haley Freeman (
   Contracts Accountant: Fixed Price Projects, State & 
   Business/Industry Agencies

   Accounts Receivable

Neta Hession (
   Contracts Accountant: Federal Agencies, Letters of Credit, 
   Salary Recovery & Distribution, MIDAS

Annie Kaufmann (
   Contracts Accountant: Fixed Price Projects, State & 
   Business/Industry Agencies

Mandy Newman (
   Business Analyst; F&A (Indirect Cost) Recovery & Distribution

Systems & Technology

Jennifer Wilson (, Technology Manager

Central Office Staff

Mary Green (
   Database Coordinator

Shelia Johnson (
   Grants Specialist

Gale Pigott (
   Administrative Assistant

Heather Richey (
   Technology & Budget Specialist


ORA Principles

to provide the Southern Miss community with visible leadership in the area of sponsored project development, administration, and compliance
to offer service that is responsive to the current and projected needs of Southern Miss faculty, staff, and students
to supply differential assistance that reflects individual faculty and staff needs and experience with sponsored projects
to support the pursuit and administration of external funds related to teaching, research, and service university-wide
to promote the pursuit of competitive funding from federal, state, and private agencies

ORA Services

provide faculty and staff with timely information on funding opportunities
contribute to development of proposals to support research, creative, and scholarly activities
support principal investigators (PIs) by providing information, interpretation, and guidance from proposal preparation through close-out of the award
process and submit proposals in an accurate, timely manner
ensure that accounts for funded projects are in place as quickly as possible
serve as the source of information on contracts and subcontracts
verify that research and other sponsored activities are conducted in compliance with state, federal, and university requirements
develop and ensure compliance with university policies related to Cost Accounting Standards
ensure cost-sharing commitments are documented
determine the propriety of costing issues
capture, analyze and report pertinent costing data to the administration
 assist in preparation of the Univerisity's facilities and administrative costs rates  
review service center rate calculations
prepare financial billings and reports
prepare disclosure statements