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2021 Office of Research and Innovation’s Employee Awards

On Dec. 7, 2021, the Office of Research and Innovation held its annual end-of-year celebration and employee awards ceremony. Seven awards were given, recognizing twenty-two employees.

Outstanding Contributor

Pictured from left to right: Neil Sedlak, James Lane, and Dan Sui.

James Lane
Information Technology Operations

James Lane was recognized for his outstanding achievements to maintain business continuity and to improve information technology systems, services, and processes during an extremely difficult time. His level of commitment and initiative are extraordinary, and is dedicated to meeting his responsibilities and to provide a high level of customer service.

Pictured from left to right: Dan Sui, Quinn Steen, Caley Dugan, LEslie Thornton-O'Brien, Cristen Jandreau, and Lisa Lee.

Outstanding Contributor

Research Conflict of Interest Team

The team was recognized for streamlining the program’s processes to improve researchers’ experience with conflict of interest and disclosure requirements. This included a critical evaluation of disclosure requirements, engagement of stakeholders across campus, a complete overhaul of training and guidance, examination of gaps in coverage, and extensive revisions to the disclosure and management system. 

Customer Service

Karen Young portrait.

Karen Young
Protocol Coordinator
Animal Care and Use Program


Karen was recognized for being a dedicated resource to her stakeholders. Karen maintained a careful balance of compliance with regulations while educating stakeholders and ensuring timely reviews of IACUC submissions and funded awards. Even in the most difficult situations, Karen seeks solutions to assist the stakeholder, while maintaining a positive attitude. 

Colleague’s Choice

Pictured from left to right: Trudy Riley, Rachel Meadows, and Dan Sui.


Rachel Meadows
Team Lead, Contracts Specialist
Office of Sponsored Programs


Rachel was recognized for being an incredible colleague and friend to everyone she works with on a daily basis. Always willing to assist with concerns or questions from her colleagues, and if it is not within her area, Rachel assured that the appropriate resources are provided. Rachel is an amazing individual, extremely positive, and a great leader. 

Outstanding Mentor or Leader

Pictured from left to right: Dan Sui, Barbara Decausey, and Lisa Lee.

Barbara DeCausey
Human Research Protection program

Barbara was recognized for her dedication to growing and empowering her employees. She is accessible to her employees, regularly meeting with them and providing guidance that lead to employee growth, and is always looking for resources to help her employees grow.


LINK team photo.

Senior Vice President’s Special Recognition

LINK | Center for Industry Partnerships

LINK has had an extraordinary year helping industry partners in a variety of ways. As one measure of progress, this calendar year, corporate philanthropy will likely be at least $120M.  This compares to around $20M a year before the establishment of LINK. Boeing’s one-of-a-kind investment of $50 million supports the Innovation Campus priority of inclusion and diversity, while the Northrop Grumman Corporation gift of $12.5 million helps support the quantum research frontier. These investments are critical to helping Virginia Tech reach its bold ambitions for the future.

Sponsored Programs Pre-Award team members.

Senior Vice President’s Special Recognition

Office of Sponsored Programs Pre-Award Team

Over the past fiscal year, this team maintained a high level of service and partnership with faculty across the university despite challenging circumstances which included losing several key team members to other positions on campus and temporary leave. Their ability to maintain high morale and professional service in the face of these challenges has earned them this special recognition this year.


  • T.J. Beckett, Information Security Compliance Officer
  • Christine Cochrane, Federal Contracting Program Coordinato
  • May Cox, Facility and Contractor Program Security Officer
  • Barbara DeCausey, Director, Human Research Protection Program
  • Eric Dinwiddie, Senior Pre-Award Associate
  • Caley Dugan, Research Conflict of Interest Coordinator
  • Chris Dunavant, Senior Software Engineer
  • Kathleen Green, Assistant Director of Corporate Engagement
  • Gwen Harrington, Director of Corporate Engagement
  • Cristen Jandreau, Director, Research Conflict of Interest
  • Mike Kendrick, Export and Secure Research Program Manager
  • Taylor King, Vivarium Supervisor
  • James Lane, Information Technology Operations Manager
  • Demetria Mason, Laboratory Animal Technician
  • Rachel Meadows, Contracts Specialist Team Lead
  • Lacey Mize Doyle, HRPP Protocol Coordinator
  • Megan Moore, Senior Pre-Award Associate
  • Leslie Thornton-O’Brien, Research Conflict of Interest Administrative Specialist
  • Bill Ortega, Finance and Travel Specialist
  • Amy Rizzo, Senior Research Veterinarian
  • Quinn Steen, Research Conflict of Interest Coordinator
  • Ann Thornhill, Administrative and Office Manager
  • Stephanie Trout, Director, Animal Care and Use Program and IACUC Administrator
  • Karen Young, Animal Care and Use Program Protocol Coordinator
  • Post-Award Team