Vanderbilt’s Hilda McMackin, director of research administration systems and reporting, has been recognized with the 2023 Mentoring Award from the National Organization of Research Development Professionals.
NORDP, an organization of 1,400 members dedicated to enhancing competitive research, established the Mentoring Award in 2022 to recognize individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the development of their peers. The award honors those who have created a supportive, inclusive and engaging environment for their colleagues and others in the research community.
“Vanderbilt fosters an environment of mentorship and growth,” Vice Provost for Research and Innovation Padma Raghavan said. “Hilda McMackin exemplifies this spirit in her daily work, and her recognition with the NORDP Mentoring Award is a testament to her dedication.”
McMackin, who earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Vanderbilt in 2009, has been a pivotal part of the university’s research community. Her career at Vanderbilt includes roles as lab manager in Peabody College of education and human development, as grants and contracts manager in the School of Engineering, and as inaugural director of research development and support at the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation. Her deep expertise spans the full life cycle of proposals, awards and contracts.
Her journey with NORDP began in 2017, and it was the collaborative and welcoming nature of the people she met at her first NORDP conference that inspired her to get involved with the Mentoring Committee.
“The journey has been fun-filled and rewarding,” McMackin said. “My participation in NORDP has been driven by the same aspects that I love about my work at Vanderbilt—working with amazing people and taking on challenges when new opportunities arise.”
The NORDP Mentoring Award aligns with McMackin’s personal and professional values of connection and growth. “Mentoring is rooted in connecting with others and provides an opportunity for growth in diverse areas of one’s life,” she said. McMackin believes in the importance of mentoring for advancing research within Vanderbilt and in the broader global research community.
McMackin’s experiences with mentorship have influenced her work at NORDP and at Vanderbilt, where she led the transition from Coeus and PEER to the Vanderbilt Electronic Research Administration system. In her leadership role, she has worked to streamline research administration on campus to maximize timeliness, transparency and quality to facilitate research and institutional strategic goals.
When asked about her approach to mentorship, McMackin emphasized the importance of creating a safe space for connection and the value of multiple mentors. She encouraged Vanderbilt community members to sign up as mentors, mentees or both in the Vanderbilt Staff Mentorship Program. “I believe everyone has something to offer as a mentor and something to gain as a mentee,” she said.