Staff Spotlight: Jennifer Daniel

Jennifer Daniel joined the Department of Allied Health Sciences as Grants and Contracts Manager in late May.

Staff Spotlight: Jennifer Daniel click to enlarge Jennifer Daniel in her new office, Bondurant 3110

Recently, Jennifer Daniel’s professional life has been an interesting blend of the familiar and the new. July marked her 15th year with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but just her second month with the Department of Allied Health Sciences (DAHS).  Daniel came on board with the DAHS as Grants and Contracts Manager in late May, just before previous manager Wes Winkelman departed for graduate school.  She brought years of grants and contracts experience from her prior appointments with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD), but has been hustling to familiarize herself with the wide array of divisions, programs, and projects encompassed within the DAHS.  While the diversity makes the department more complex, Daniel said it also makes the work more appealing.

“I like that there are so many different projects,” she said. “Hearing people talk about the different research they’re doing is very interesting.  I like that I get to play a small role in advancing those projects, helping the PIs manage their budgets so they can focus more on their research.”

Daniel earned her undergraduate degree from Elon University, where she majored in broadcast communications and minored in business.  After a few years working in communications, Daniel wanted to return to the Durham area where she had grown up and used her business background to get a job with UNC Physician and Associates.  She joined the CIDD in 2001 as a Clinical Scheduler, and then became the Contracts and Grants Assistant in 2003. From 2006-2013, she was the CIDD Business Officer.  

Working at the CIDD, Daniel often heard good things about the DAHS, especially from Dr. Jack Roush, Speech and Hearing Sciences Division Director, and Dr. Stephen Hooper, who had several appointments with the CIDD and became the DAHS Chair in October 2013. 

“Steve and Jack were always talking about Allied Health Sciences, saying that the people here were great, that the staff and faculty were so nice,” Daniel said.  When the DAHS grants and contracts position became available, Daniel remembered those ringing endorsements and decided to apply.

In addition to getting a glimpse into research, Daniel said she enjoys managing grants and contracts because she loves working with numbers and bringing various components together into an organized whole.

“It’s like solving a puzzle,” she said. “I like to see all the pieces match up and coordinate nicely.”

Like her professional life, Daniel’s personal life also contains some elements of the familiar and the new.  Her 5-year-old son is about to embark on the exciting new adventure of kindergarten.  Daniel and her husband, Lance, have been married for nine years, and have known each other for over 22 years.

“We actually met through a former friend of mine that he dated for several years,” Daniel said.  “During those years, I and my boyfriend at the time would go out on double dates with them and we all had a lot of fun together. It’s funny how things work out and where fate leads you.” 

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