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.
JORJA KIMBALL, PhD
Focus: Proposal & Professional Development
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 its Author Fellowship program subcommittee. Kimball was selected to participate on a special national committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and serves in an advisory capacity to a Texas A&M-affiliated Greek organization. She earned her PhD with a specialization 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 at minority-serving institutions of higher education. She holds an MBA and BBA from Texas A&I University, now Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
CANDICE JONGSMA, PhD
Director for Multidisciplinary Project Development
Focus: Multidisciplinary Proposals
Candice Jongsma is the director of multidisciplinary project development within the Division of Research at Texas A&M. Jongsma supports the collective research enterprise at Texas A&M by guiding the proposal development process for multidisciplinary research proposals.
Jongsma has extensive experience serving as a reviewer of subject matter experts on thousands of proposal and product submissions to federal agencies. Throughout her civil service career with four federal agencies (NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (both in the US Department of Commerce), and the Food and Drug Administration (US Department of Health and Human Services), Jongsma awarded more than $1 billion in federal financial assistance awards, including managing and growing the largest grants program in the Department of Commerce.
As program director, Jongsma managed a $260 million-per-year research portfolio involving forty-three universities and research institutions in twenty-three states and territories. Prior, she held roles as chemistry branch chief, supervising multiple teams of PhD scientists and engineers in their research to ensure the protection of public health, and as research chemist at multiple federal agencies and within the pharmaceutical and oil/gas sectors.
Jongsma has held fellowships with the National Academy of Medicine and the National Research Council. She received her PhD in Chemistry from Texas A&M and BS in chemistry and BS in biology from Grand Valley State University. She has conducted research in a wide range of areas including agricultural products (foods/botanicals/dietary supplements/tobacco), biologicals, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels.
LAURIE GARTON, PhD
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.
GABRIEL RIVERA, MBA
Senior Research Development Officer
Focus: Multidisciplinary Proposals
Gabriel Rivera is a senior research development officer with the Multidisciplinary Proposal Development Team. 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.
MONICA BRUNO HOLDER, MS
Research Development Officer
Focus: International Programs
Monica Bruno Holder is a research development officer for RDS. Ms. Holder began working at Texas A&M in 1997 and joined the Division of Research in 2001. She received her MS from Texas A&M University in 2014. She facilitates research teams and supports proposal development for large and strategic interdisciplinary research proposals, including assisting faculty from pre-submission through proposal preparation, submission, and post-submission review. She also identifies funding sources and solicitations, and has worked with federal agencies including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to proposal development, she manages International Programs for the vice president for research including internal/seed grants and the coordination of international collaborative research efforts. During her tenure, she has facilitated collaborative research partnerships for Texas A&M with research agencies in Brazil, China, Israel, and Mexico. She has extensive experience coordinating and facilitating international conferences for Texas A&M in correlation with these efforts.
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, data collection, and the RDS program for Early Career faculty.
Eyre also supports the Postdoctoral Association (PDA), the Bioscience Business Accelerator space, and administrative functions for the Council of Principal Investigators (CPI) and Research Development Fund (RDF).