Meet the Team

We welcome faculty to reach out to us directly. If you are interested in corporate research opportunities – either as faculty or a potential partner – feel free to reach out to Kim or Brian.


Kim J. Patten, MS

Associate Vice President, Research Development

Kim Patten is Assistant Vice President for Research Development, at the University of Arizona. She leads a team of research development professionals that excel in supporting faculty in their pursuit of extramural funding from federal, corporate, and foundation sponsors resulting in more than $600 million in awards to campus since 2014. Part of this success is based on a holistic view of research development and the research lifecycle with an emphasis on the societal impacts of research such as the incorporation and promotion of undergraduate research experiences, core community partnerships, and inclusive practices. Prior to joining UA, Patten managed projects and programs in conservation, renewable energy, and distributed data systems both nationally and internationally. As Associate Director at the Arizona Geological Survey she managed and conducted research on a more than $30m portfolio, including Co-PI on a $3.6m National Science Foundation (NSF) project and project manager of a $22m U.S. Department of Energy project. Prior to her work at AZGS, she was Programs Director at a science-based non-profit organization where she helped develop the organization's research portfolio resulting in the organization's first NSF funding. 

Paul Sandoval

Director of Research Advancement

Paul Sandoval is the Director of Research Advancement providing overarching support for the administrative management of research programs and functions flowing through the Office of Global Projects, Defense Offsets and Research, Innovation and Impact.  Paul has Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Arizona and brings over 30 years of post-award experience from the Sponsored Projects Services office.

Connie Gardner

Manager, Research Development Administration

Connie Gardner is the Manager, Research Development Administration, leading and coordinating the administrative support efforts for the Research Development team.  She also provides executive support for the Assistant Vice President for Research Development. She brings over 22 years experience at the University of Arizona in the areas of accounting, program coordination, and administrative support and continues to assist with the University's Research mission daily.

Danielle Barefoot, ABD

Program Administrator, Internal Grants

Danielle Barefoot is the Program Administrator of Internal Grants where she administers internal competitions for the university in collaboration with other campus units. She has extensive experience with grants and major awards from applicant, reviewer, and administrator perspectives. Most recently, Danielle served as Assistant Director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships, where she administered and advised for more than 22 competitive scholarship processes, introduced students to opportunities available, and mentored them as they applied. She has received numerous fellowships to support her undergraduate and graduate studies and research. In 2017, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Chile where she conducted her dissertation research on Cold War university student activism. She is an active member of the Fulbright Alumni Association, both the national organization and the Arizona chapter. Danielle is completing her Ph.D. in History with an emphasis on Latin America. She holds an M.A. in History from the University of Arizona and a B.A. in History and Modern Languages (Spanish) with Honors from Georgia Southern University.

Leslie Hawthorne Klingler, MA

Content Developer and Writer

Leslie Hawthorne Klingler is the Content Developer and Writer for Research Development Services. She uses her writing, editing, and design skills to translate technical material into pieces that persuade broader audiences to support cutting-edge research and innovation at the University of Arizona. In addition, she is a portrait photographer and specialist in communication for causes that improve human health and well-being, particularly among the disadvantaged. Her experience includes a master’s degree, years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and six years living and working in Latin America. Fluent in Spanish, she is enjoying Tucson’s proximity to Mexico.

Lidia Macias, MS, MA

Coordinator, Research Development Operations

Lidia Macias is the Coordinator of Research Development Operations. She provides support in the limited submissions process, contributes to external RDS communications and funding identification, office operations responsibilities, manages communities of practice, and conducts communications with internal and external stakeholders. Ms. Macias has more than 7 years of experience in higher education administration at the institutional level; has collaborated in several large-scale, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional and international research initiatives. She is highly experienced in federal & state agencies, private foundations, and corporative funding programs in both pre and post-award stage. Other areas of her expertise include proposal development and the creation of impact strategies for research development. Ms. Macias has successfully coordinated the institutional and limited submissions for an R01 institution during the last four years and has contributed on policy review related to research misconduct and unwanted foreign influence. Ms. Macias holds a B.S. in Psychology, B.A. in Philosophy, an M.S. in Experimental Psychology, and an M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Literature. Her areas of research include national identity, otherness, soft & intellectual power, critical theory and intellectual history with a focus on contemporary Spanish literature.

Stephanie Austin

Administrative Associate

Stephanie Austin is the Administrative Associate in Research Development. Stephanie provides overarching administrative support to the Operations Team, Proposals Team and Honors and Awards. She also serves as the Building Manager and also the building emergency coordinator. Stephanie’s background brings many years of bank management as well as experience in K-12 administration and is a certified substitute teacher. She has spent over 20 years heavily involved with volunteer work within the Flowing Wells School District. She was instrumental in the Fine Arts Department and supported the Band and Pom Lines tirelessly, as the Band Parent Organization President. When not propelling the UArizona toward success, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her two grown children, nieces and nephews and playing her stand-up bass in small gigs in and around Tucson.


Cynthia Ramirez

Executive Associate

Cindy Ramirez is an Executive Associate in Research Development.  In this role she provides overarching executive support to the National Security Program, Industry Engagement, and Development, Research, Innovation & Impact.  She brings over 11 years’ experience at the University of Arizona supporting the Office of the President and Government and Community Relations. Cindy’s career has included over 20 years at Hughes Aircraft/Raytheon Missile Systems as executive support to vice presidents and directors in the Air-to-Air Missile programs and as an Environmental Health Safety Manager and Building Manager. Cindy is a Certified Six Sigma Specialist and holds a B.A. in Business, Economics, and Industry from the University of Arizona.

Industry Engagement

Brian Adair, PhD

Executive Director, Industry Engagement

Brian joined the University of Arizona in 2018 to support industry collaboration. Before that, he worked at three manufacturing start-ups, a contract research institution, and an environmental engineering firm to address clean air, water, and energy challenges, in roles that included laboratory research, product development, project management, and business development. He served as adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, on the Mecklenburg County Air Quality Commission, and board member of Envision Charlotte, a nonprofit public-private partnership focused on the built environment. Brian holds a BS in chemical engineering from Caltech and a PhD in chemical engineering from UC Santa Barbara.

Lindsay Ridpath

Program Manager, Industry Engagement

Serving the University of Arizona since 2019, Lindsay began in Business Development with the Alumni Association. She joined Research Development Services in late 2022 and brings her program and project management, business development, proposal support, and relationship building skills to help the University grow industry engagement. She supports efforts to identify, develop, and ultimately secure industry research sponsorship, collaborate with industry on federal proposal opportunities, identify and pursue student fellowships and internships, and more. In addition, Lindsay has experience with content creation for social media and web platforms and assists in the promotion of UA faculty, facilities, and other resources with industry. Lindsay has an MFA, is an RD mentee with the National Organization for Research Development Professionals (NORDP) for the 22/23 year, and holds a Certified Associate for Project Management (CAPM) certification. 

National Security Program

Nate Gahr

Senior Director, National Security Programs

Nate Gahr is Senior Director, National Security Programs at the University of Arizona. In this role, he provides support for faculty in pursuit of external funding for fundamental research programs supporting National Security topics, issues, and challenges.  Prior to joining the university in 2022, Nate spent more than 25 years in various leadership roles in the US Army, the Department of Justice, and the US Intelligence Community.  Most recently, Nate established the FBI Phoenix Field Office’s Counterintelligence Joint Taskforce, leading efforts of a diverse team from numerous federal, state, and local agencies along with community partners, to protect National Security interests throughout Arizona.  Nate has led numerous National Security efforts with a focus on advance conventional weapons and WMD counterproliferation.

Cody Nicholls, PhD

Associate Director

National Security Programs

Cody Nicholls is a Research Development Associate for National Security Programs at the University of Arizona. In this role he provides support for faculty in pursuit of external funding (federal, foundation, industry) for fundamental research programs supporting national security topics, issues and challenges, Defense, Intelligence and Homeland Security-related discovery and innovation. Previously he served for just under 10 years as the Assistant Dean of Students for Military and Veteran Engagement at the University of Arizona. Cody is a nine and a half year veteran of the Army Reserves and Wyoming National Guard. During his tenure in the Reserves he completed two deployments to the Middle East, Iraq (2004-2005) & Kuwait (2008-2009) and one state side mobilization, in the National Guard, immediately following 9/11 (2001-2002).

Cody served as the National Co-Chair for the NASPA Veterans Knowledge Community with his term of service March 2018 – March 2020. Cody received the “Super Et Ultra” Award from the Veterans Knowledge Community for going “above and beyond” in his service to his fellow veterans in February of 2019 at the NASPA Annual Symposium on Military-Connected Students. He currently serves as a member of the steering committee for the Southern Arizona Military/Veteran Community Network. He serves as an executive board member of the Association of the United States Army Tucson Chapter and serves as the Secretary for the Board of Directors of the Tucson Committee on Foreign Relations. Cody previously served as a member of retired US Senator Jeff Flake’s (AZ) military and veteran advisory council. Cody currently serves on US Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick’s veteran advisory council. Cody earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education with a major concentration in Organization & Administration from the College of Education and a minor concentration in Entrepreneurship from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.

Terrence Higgins

SkillBridge and Workforce Development Administrator

Terrence Higgins is the SkillBridge and Workforce Development administrator for the National Security Program at the University of Arizona. As the university’s single point of contact for the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, he works with military service members transitioning to the civilian sector and university personnel seeking SkillBridge participants. In addition to facilitating matches that meet both service members’ interests and university needs, Terrence engages in outreach to introduce and promote the SkillBridge program on campus. Additionally, he provides guidance and opportunities for students and faculty to secure positions and research collaboration opportunities at National Research Laboratories. Terry is a United States Army veteran with more than 20 years of experience in organizational leadership and training. His most recent position was Command Inspector General at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Team Science & Proposal Development

Meg Bennett, PhD

Associate, Research Development, Life Sciences

Meg Bennett is a Research Development Associate specializing in bioscience proposal support. She has a Ph.D. in Zoology from North Dakota State University and spent 5 years as an independent postdoctoral scientist. Collectively, she has 15 years of experience in research as a behavioral physiologist studying both native and agriculturally managed bee species. Over the course of Meg’s career, she obtained 10 grants to fund her research sourced from academic, government, and non-profit institutions. Meg also draws from her unique skill set as an artist to help faculty develop creative and compelling proposal narratives. 

Courtney Coffey, PhD

Associate, Research Development, Education, Diversity & Inclusion

Education, Diversity & Inclusion

Courtney Coffey is a Research Development Associate specializing in education, training and diversity-focused proposals. Her background is in cultural anthropology, with a focus on China and gender politics. Courtney enjoys fostering new connections between faculty and staff with similar research and service aims, and all aspects of grant proposal development. Helping individuals (or teams) create compelling and clear narratives through intensive developmental editing is a particular highlight of her work. She is a member of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Supporting proposals that create engaging, culturally-affirming learning environments for underserved communities and underrepresented students is both gratifying and humbling for Courtney. 

Julia Glennon

Associate, Research Development, Environmental Sciences

Julia Glennon joined the RDS team in 2023 as an Associate specializing in environmental sciences. Julia has a background in sustainability, food systems, and community development, and received her master’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to joining RDS, Julia worked in the nonprofit sector and has experience using public policy for institutional food procurement reform. She came to the University of Arizona in 2015 and was the first Program Manager for the UA Center for Regional Food Studies. Julia has field-based research experience in Maasailand, Kenya and is passionate about interdisciplinary and inclusive research. 

Brian Heinze, PhD

Associate, Research Development, Physical Sciences & Engineering

Brian Heinze, Research Development Associate, specializes in engineering and physical sciences proposals. He received his Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Arizona in 2010, where he developed biosensors for detection of agricultural diseases. He spent more than 10 years leading R&D projects for startup companies as research scientist, R&D director and head of product development. In these roles, Brian coordinated collaborative proposals to grant agencies and corporate-sponsored research partners to advance sensor technologies for the biotech, energy, environmental and food production industries. Brian has worked on R&D proposals and projects for DOD, DOE, NIH, NSF and several Fortune 500 companies as well as acting as PI for Phase I and Phase II NSF SBIR projects.

Greg Hitt

Associate, Economic Development & Community Engaged Research

Greg Hitt is a Research Development Associate specializing in economic development and community engagement.  In this role he supports faculty in search of external funding opportunities and assisting in the development and review of proposals.  Additionally, Greg supports University wide efforts relating to local and regional economic development initiatives by enhancing local and statewide government relationships and their economic development agencies.  Prior to joining the UArizona, Greg spent nearly 20 years working for Pima County where he supported the County in a variety of roles, including planning and infrastructure development, utility coordination, and economic development activities.  Greg is an alumnus of Arizona State University and the UArizona, an Arizona native, and has served on local planning and development committees in the Tucson area.

Emily Kotay

Assistant Director, International Research

Emily has a breadth of experience developing programs in higher education and public management. Prior to joining the Research Development Services (RDS) team in RII, Emily focused on partnership development to enhance international collaborations, and has assisted UArizona faculty and students in applying for the Fulbright program. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine, where she taught English and conducted youth development and community engagement projects for more than two years. Within RDS, Emily focuses on international research opportunities and scholar exchange. Emily holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas, and a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College in cultural anthropology.

Jen McCormack, PhD

Associate, Research Development, Biomedical & Social Sciences

Jen McCormack is a research development associate specializing in health sciences and health disparities proposals. Prior to her appointment in RDS, Jen served as the Sr. Director of Development and Research for a nonprofit in the GuVo District of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Combining western academic and Indigenous research paradigms, Jen secured and managed federal, state, foundation, and private grants, and worked with multiple federal and state agencies. Through her career, she has consulted in research development and governance.

As a professor of geography and American Indian Studies, Jen taught with an emphasis for first generation university students and Native American/Tribal colleges. She gained field-based experience in Indigenous health, governance, education, and public policy with the Native Nations Institute at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Jen received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and her PhD in Geography and American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. Her dissertation research was supported by the National Science Foundation and collaborative research with the Gwich’in Nation in the Arctic borderlands.

Robin E. Richards, PhD

Senior Associate, Research Development, Physical Sciences & Engineering

Robin Richards is a Senior Associate, Research Development specializing in engineering and physical sciences proposals. He has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Imperial College London and is a co-inventor on 19 issued U.S. patents. In 2006, Robin joined UArizona after spending 20 years in industry where he managed interdisciplinary basic science and advanced technology collaborations involving government, universities, national laboratories, and industry. Prior to joining Research Development Services, he was the Assistant Director for a UArizona-led Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Marie Teemant, MA

Associate, Research Development, Honors & Awards

Marie Teemant is the Associate, Research Development for Honors & Awards. She assumed this position after a successful graduate fellowship with Research Development Services, utilizing her background in visual communications to support the communications efforts of RDS, including The Current and Limited Submissions newsletters. Marie has been part of the University of Arizona community since starting her M.A. in Art History (completed 2016). While Marie's main area of support is in nominations for Honors & Awards, she has also supported proposals in the arts and humanities. 

Subscribe to the UArizona Impact in Action newsletter to receive featured stories and event info to connect you with UArizona's research, innovation, entrepreneurial ventures, and societal impacts.

Subscribe now