Sociology professor contributes leadership, expertise to National Science Foundation

East Carolina University sociology professor, Dr. Mamadi Corra recently was selected as a rotator in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, D.C., applying and expanding upon his expertise in the field.

Sociology department chair Dr. Kristen Myers, right, congratulated Dr. Mamadi Corra earlier this year as he received the ECU Five-Year Achievement Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. (Contributed photo)

Rotators make recommendations about which proposals to fund; influence new directions in the fields of science, engineering and education; support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research; and mentor junior research members.

“As a researcher, I think being at the NSF is a unique, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It will help me learn about the nuts and bolts of grant writing and funding and knowledge I can bring back with me to ECU,” Corra said. “The opportunity also importantly puts me in a prime position to survey the breadth of sociological research and scholarship that could only increase my visibility. So, I am very excited for the opportunity. I think it will be a challenging but rewarding endeavor.”

According to the NSF website, while serving in the role of program director, Corra will oversee the foundation’s “gold standard” merit review process, and he may help define new funding opportunities. Key responsibilities will include interacting with potential principal investigators, forming and facilitating merit review panels and recommending funding decisions. Corra also may work with a broad spectrum of national scientific programs and initiatives that will “ultimately increase intellectual awareness and enhance professional growth.”

Corra said the assignment will last at least one year, and participants usually stay for two, but no longer than four years.

“There are numerous benefits of this position, not only to Mamadi Corra himself, but also to the department and the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Kristen Myers, chair of the Department of Sociology. “As the NSF promises, we expect Dr. Corra to return to ECU ‘with new insights and experiences.’”