Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, Director
Sibby serves as the Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research (Diversity & Inclusion) and the Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. In her role, she leads the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity and diversity-related initiatives for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. As director of OPA, she serves as the contact for the UNC’s Postdoctoral Policies and Grievance Procedures, Postdoctoral Travel Awards, and Postdoctoral Research Awards for Excellence (PARE). Sibby is available for individual or group consultations with postdoctoral scholars, faculty mentors or department administrators for issues and concerns related to postdoctoral policies or postdoctoral training and mentoring.
Sibby brings 20 years of experience in higher education administration. Her expertise is in serving and supporting the success of underrepresented groups. Previously, Sibby served as an assistant dean in the Office of the Dean of Students and an assistant dean in the Office of Student Academic Counseling (now the Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling) here at Carolina. In addition, she served as an associate dean of student affairs at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and a clinical faculty member in education and dean of advising at Agnes Scott College in Georgia. She has also been an active member of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) serving as the NPA’s Diversity Officer and past member of the Advisory Group for the NPA’s NSF Paid ADVANCE Grant, as well as contributing to a book that resulted from the project, From PhD to Professoriate: The role of institutions in fostering the advancement of postdoc women. Most recently, she served on a committee for the National Academy of Sciences that authored the report, State of the postdoctoral experience for scientists and engineers revisited and a working group for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities that issued the report, Increasing diversity in the biomedical research workforce.
Sibby completed her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University. Additionally, Sibby holds a B.A. and a M.A. in Communication Studies from Carolina and a M.S. in Educational Research (Ethnography and Qualitative Methods) from GSU.
Dara Wilson-Grant, Associate Director
With over ten years experience providing career management education and training, Dara’s mission is to help individuals develop a framework for sound decision-making and career planning while also helping them to develop the skills required for a lifetime of professional success. In her role at OPA, Dara provides individual career counseling and coaching to postdoctoral scholars. She also designs, presents, and coordinates an array of career and professional development programs.
Dara holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Fordham University and a BA in Business Administration from Goucher College. She is also a National Certified Counselor and a Certified Human Resource Recruitment Specialist. Prior to joining OPA in July of 2006, Dara was the Assistant Director at UNC’s career center and an instructor at UNC’s School of Education. Throughout her career, Dara has worked with students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines and career fields. However, her specialty is working with postdoctoral scholars and mid-career professionals in transition.
Jennifer Pruitt, Program Coordinator
Jennifer is the rejoining the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs as the new Program Coordinator. Jennifer is the contact for the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, managing the recruitment, selecting, and onboarding for underrepresented postdoctoral scholars coming to Carolina to prepare for tenure-track faculty positions. In addition, she oversees the logistics for the career and professional development programs, workshops, and specials events for the office. She has more than six years of experience working at the university under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as the assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research.
Jennifer is an alumna of Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.
Alan Farber, Career Counselor
Alan joins Postdoctoral Affairs following 27 years as a university career development specialist. Prior to arriving at UNC, he was the Associate Director of Career Services at the University of San Diego, and the Assistant Director of Career Services at Northern Illinois University (NIU). He has taught graduate career development courses at NIU and the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.
Alan is a freelance career coach and contributing writer and editor for educational publisher Woodburn Press. Alan has helped thousands of students and seasoned professionals to explore their options and realize their professional dreams. He has conducted many professional presentations, and written numerous articles, guides, and book chapters on career-related topics.
Alan completed his Ph.D. in Counseling at Michigan State University. He has a Master’s degree in Counseling from Ball State University in Indiana, and a B.A. in Psychology from Marietta College in Ohio.
Gail Whitfield, Executive Assistant to the Director
Gail is uniquely qualified to support OPA with twenty-one years of service at UNC Chapel Hill working in several offices under the Vice Chancellor for Research. Gail’s expertise covers a broad range of administrative, financial, and personnel management functions. Gail began at UNC as a staff member in the Office of Technology Development (OTD). She transitioned from OTD to become a founding staff member of the Office of Research Development (ORD) where she played an integral role in structuring the office policies, procedures, and standards of operations. Gail also played an integral role in helping develop the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP). At the OPA, Gail will support Director of OPA in an administrative capacity including event planning, scheduling, and with the financial administration of OPA programs. Gail also retains her role as the Program Coordinator for the University Research Council Small Grants Program at ORD and supports the Interim Director of ORD in an administrative capacity.
Gail holds and Associate of Arts in Human Resources Management from Durham Technical Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from HKM Theological Seminary.
Ashley Mattheis, Funding and Research Development Consultant
Ashley has over seven years of experience working in Research Development and funding for academic research. She has supported many successful projects ranging from individual grants and fellowships to large-scale multi, inter, and transdisciplinary research centers. Ashley has a firm belief that the true secret to successful funding is a research-centered approach to identifying funding opportunities and developing short, mid, and long term research funding plans. Her focus then, is supporting researchers in developing, planning, and implementing their research visions through translating funding trends, creatively matching funding opportunities to proposed research, and developing researcher skills in engaging with research funding paradigms.
In the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Ashley will support the development and delivery of funding related programming for postdocs at Carolina. General funding related programs include one-on-one or team-based research project development and funding support as well as classes on finding funding and using funding resources and tools. Ashley is also working on developing discipline area specific programming including: K-Award Resources for Success and Strategies for Postdoc Funding in the Humanities.
Ashley holds a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies and an M.A. in Communication, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ashley is also currently an advanced PhD Student in Communication at Carolina.
Kiara Childs, Communication Specialist
Kiara serves as the Communication Specialist for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Kiara curates digital content for OPA’s social media and website, helps with marketing materials, and preparation for special events. She has three years of experience with content curation and increasing engagement with university organizations, such as the Gender & Women Studies Library and Black Student Union, at her previous institution.
Kiara Childs holds a B.A. in Journalism and Communication Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.A. in Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kiara is currently a PhD Student in the Department of Communication at UNC.
Erinn Crider, Program Assistant
Human Resources for Postdoctoral Scholars:
Postdocs who need HR assistance should start by contacting their school or division’s HR office. For School/Division HR Representatives Contact: Jordan Todd, HR Consultant