Meet the Team

RDS Personnel assist the PI and research team in checking that all items in the Funding Opportunity Announcement are strategically addressed and create a competitive proposal.

Research Development Services provides expertise from both the agency and the institution perspectives, which lends to assisting the principal investigator (PI) or research teams to develop competitive proposals that address all the criteria required by an agency that a proposal should contain.


Executive Director

Focus: HSI and Inclusivity

Jorja Kimball serves as the executive director of Research Development Services (RDS), under the vice president for research at Texas A&M. Kimball leads RDS to support the Texas A&M research community in developing competitive proposals to federal funding agencies.

Kimball is a Regent’s Fellow, a permanent designation and the highest award for staff made by The Texas A&M University System. It reflects her service of more than thirty years in higher education, and twenty years contributing to proposal development. Kimball has assisted with securing more than $165 million in federal research funding for Texas institutions of higher education. She has served as principal investigator (PI) on National Science Foundation (NSF)- and NASA-funded grant awards, and as an NSF reviewer. She serves on the editorial review board for the Journal of Research Administration and on the Vice President for Diversity’s HSI Committee and in a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) advisory capacity to a Texas A&M affiliated Greek organization. She earned her PhD in higher education administration from Texas A&M. Her dissertation focused on the retention and progression-to-degree of engineering students. Kimball’s research interests are underrepresented students and faculty in STEM and increasing research funding at minority-serving institutions of higher education. She holds an MBA and BBA from Texas A&I University, now Texas A&M University-Kingsville.


Associate Director

Focus: Early Career Faculty

Laurie Garton is an associate director, focusing on junior faculty professional and proposal development in federal young investigator programs such as National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER, US Department of Energy (DoE) Early Career, and US Department of Defense (DoD) YIPs. In this position, she also serves as co-lead of the Junior Faculty Proposal Writing Academy.

Garton started her academic career at Youngstown State University in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department as a tenure-track faculty member, following her BS, ME, and PhD degrees in civil engineering (environmental) from Texas A&M. She joined the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) in 1999 and began work on technical research project grants related to interdisciplinary environmental themes. For more than fifteen years in that position, she focused on assisting junior faculty, especially targeting federal young investigator program grants and conducting workshops and guiding engineering faculty through the proposal development process. As part of TEES Research Development, she also assisted research teams working on multi-PI, multi-institutional level proposal efforts. Garton has reviewed for NSF and has expertise with the NSF Graduate Fellows program.


Associate Director

Focus: Large Proposals

Gabriel Rivera is an associate director who leads the large proposal development office. Rivera supports the proposal development process from inception through submission, for large and strategic multidisciplinary research proposals, including positioning and capture planning, proposal process coordination, grantsmanship, proposal writing and editing, and proposal review.

Prior to joining Texas A&M in 2017, Rivera worked at New Mexico State University (NMSU) for fifteen years, where he facilitated the proposal development process for large ($100 million or more) federal contracts at NMSU’s Physical Science Laboratory. He later became a founding member of NMSU’s Research Development Office, whose purpose was to assist faculty-led research groups in pursuing large, multidisciplinary funding opportunities. Rivera holds MBA and a BS in Biology from New Mexico State University.

Megan A. Bergeron, PhD, CRA

Senior Research Development Officer

Focus: Large Proposals

Megan Bergeron a senior research development officer with the large proposal development team. Bergeron supports the proposal development process for large and strategic research proposals from inception through submission, including proposal process coordination, proposal writing and editing, and proposal review.

Bergeron’s professional background is comprised of a unique blend of specialties in central and departmental research development, administration, and compliance. Prior to joining Texas A&M, she worked at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) for the last 12 years, first serving as a Senior Pre-Award Administrator in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs under the Vice President for Research, and then in a comprehensive administrative and development role at an active multidisciplinary research center, the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development & Lifelong Learning. Dr. Bergeron holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Louisiana State University and Clemson University, respectively, and a doctorate in Applied Language and Speech Sciences from UL Lafayette.

K. Lance Kelly, PhD

Senior Research Development Officer

Focus: Large Proposals

Lance Kelly, PhD, is a senior research development officer with the large proposal development team with emphasis on National Science Foundation (NSF), US Department of Energy (DoE) and US Department of Defense (DoD) efforts. He supports the proposal development life cycle for large and strategic research proposals.

Kelly is Texas A&M Class of '96, with a degree in Chemistry. Prior to returning to campus in 2023, he worked for small businesses as a primary investigator, primarily supported by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR/STTR) Program. He has experience as proposal team leader, and he has direct knowledge of the technical needs of sponsors within US Army, US Marine Corps, and US Air Force. Further, he has experience preparing compliant proposals to DoE, NASA, NIH, DOT, and US Coast Guard. Kelly received his PhD and Masters in Chemistry from Northwestern University, and he has held postdoctoral positions at Yale and the University of Tokyo.


Senior Administrative Coordinator

Focus: Administrative Support

Shannon Eyre is the senior administration coordinator for RDS. With more than twenty years of service at Texas A&M, she has been with the Division of Research for more than ten years. She provides support for professional development seminars and data collection for RDS programs.

Eyre also supports the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) and the Office of Hispanic Serving Institution and Inclusivity Research Services.