Kathryn Fiscelli, Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2016 Phyllis Smith Staff Award for Excellence at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Fiscelli is the assistant director of research administration here at the School. She works to manage nearly 150 grants and contracts and the 20 to 30 grant applications active at any one time that are handled by the School’s Office of Research Administration. As assistant director, she oversees the activities of five grants managers and reports to Raj Kshatriya, M.B.A., director of business operations and research administration. Her job is defined by the need to multitask and juggle many competing deadlines as the School’s research enterprise continues to expand.
“I’ve worked with Kathryn for about nine years now, she consistently finds ways to encourage teamwork and finds creative ways to be collaborative,” Kshatriya said. “She’s universally loved by faculty and staff who consistently commended her for her work ethic and willingness to go above and beyond.”
The $500 staff excellence award honors the career of Phyllis Smith, the School’s former director of facilities, who retired in 2014 after more than 30 years of service. The award recognizes a staff member who is committed to the School’s pursuit of excellence through its business practices. The winner must demonstrate leadership, be an effective team member, have a positive attitude and be enthusiastic.
“We have an excellent team in our office, and although we all work hard, we also try to have a good time while here,” Fiscelli said. “My aim is and has been to maintain a strong knowledgeable research support office and to look for ways for our members to develop further.”
Fiscelli has been with the School since starting as a temporary employee in the Division of Drug Delivery and Disposition — which was the forerunner of the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics — in June of 2004. She became permanent in 2006 as the value of the work she was doing as the chair’s assistant became obvious. Her experience and expertise with grants and contracts gained as the administrative officer in the division allowed her to make the move to her current position in January of 2011. She said she didn’t originally plan for that temp job to turn into a career, but she liked the people in the division, her responsibilities rapidly grew and the importance of the work she was doing was readily apparent.
Fiscelli is thoroughly Carolina educated, having received her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in classical studies here at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She taught at UNC as a graduate student and then for two years as a visiting professor at Duke University while starting her career here at the School.
The Smith award is not the first time Fiscelli’s contributions to the School and University have been recognized. She is also the recipient of a 2008 Pride in Excellence Award and a 2011 Employee Forum Peer Recognition Award winner in the Call of Duty category from the University.