Funding Perspectives from NIH, NSF, and IES: Considerations for Marginalized Identities, Under-Resourced Schools, and Emerging Scholars

Velma McBride Murry, PhD, Moderator

Vanderbilt University 
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About: Dr. Velma McBride Murry holds the Lois Autrey Betts Endowed Chair, serves as Co-Director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Program for Health Equity Research,  and is a University Distinguished Professor in Departments of Health Policy [Vanderbilt School of Medicine] and Human and Organizational Development [Peabody College]. She is Past President of the Society for Research on Adolescence and current President of The International Consortium of Developmental Science Societies. McBride Murry is one of the 100 elected members to the 2020 Class of the National Academic of Medicine.  She was recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Mental Health Research Council. Her research examines the significance of context to everyday life experiences of African American families and youth, focusing on processes through which racism, and other social structural stressors, cascade through families to influence parenting and family functioning, developmental outcomes, and adjustment among youth, during critical developmental periods from middle childhood through young adulthood.

Anna Fisher 
National Science Foundation
[email protected]


About: Anna Fisher currently serves as a Program Director for the Developmental Sciences Program, within the Directorate for Behavioral, Social and Economic Sciences, Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences. She received Ph.D. in Psychology from the Ohio State University in 2005 and has been a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University since 2006. Fisher’s research explores the development of attention regulation in young children, and the role of attention in learning in formal and informal settings.

Maggie Sweeney, PhD

National Institute of Mental Health
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About: Dr. Maggie Sweeney is a Program Officer in the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She has a dual role with the Office of Research Training and Career Development and the Small Business Innovation Research program at NIMH. She manages a broad portfolio of mental health intervention and services research grants to academic institutions and small businesses. Before joining NIMH, Dr. Sweeney was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She obtained her doctoral degree in Experimental and Applied Psychological Sciences from Utah State University.

Brett Spear, PhD

NIH Support for Research Excellence (SuRE) Program (R16)
University of Kentucky School of Medicine
[email protected]

About: Dr. Spear joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1989, where he is Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics in the College of Medicine. His research focuses on the genetics of liver disease, including hepatocellular carcinoma.  His research has been funded by the NIH since 1990 and he has served on numerous NIH study sections. He is actively involved in graduate education; he has trained 12 postdoctoral fellows, 28 graduate students and 50 undergraduates in his lab and has served on over 100 graduate student committees. Since 2018, he has co-directed two NIH-funded programs to provide grant-writing training for faculty across the United States. These include iMERS (Interactive Mentoring to Enhance Research Skills), which is focused on minority-serving institutions, and SuRE (Support for Research Excellence; R16 grants), which is for faculty, students and administrators at institutions that have limited NIH funding.

Laura Namy, PhD

Institute of Education Sciences
[email protected]

About: Dr. Laura L. Namy has been Associate Commissioner for Teaching and Learning at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education since 2021. Dr. Namy served as a faculty member in Psychology and Linguistics for 19 years, and also served as the Director of the interdisciplinary Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture. She has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cognition and Development, Treasurer of the Cognitive Development Society, program officer within the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and most recently as Executive Director of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Dr. Namy received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy from Indiana University, and her doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from Northwestern University.

Jim Griffin, PhD
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
[email protected]