Juli Brush Receives 2020 UMCES Staff Excellence Award

October 26, 2020


It is no surprise to us at Horn Point that Juli received this honor. As any faculty, FRA or student can attest, if you are working on submitting a proposal - Juli helps get it done with a smile, great attitude and extreme competence. She is respected by her fellow administrative staff not only at Horn Point but also at the other UMCES labs and Center Administration for her collaboration and professionalism.   We are very lucky to have Juli as part of the HPL community and she is most deserving of this award," said Mike Roman, Director, Horn Point Laboratory

The UMCES Staff Excellence Award is presented annually to an individual staff member who consistently demonstrates a high level of commitment and dedication to UMCES, has a positive impact on their work environment, is flexible and demonstrates cooperation and collaboration among their peers and with supervisor while carrying out their job duties.  As this year’s awardee, Juli received a $500 stipend and a plaque in recognition of the award being received.

Horn Point Laboratory Staff Shared Their Praises of Juli and her work:

"Juli has assumed most of the administrative burden of proposal writing, leaving faculty free to focus on the research issue and plan. She does all of this with good humor and patience, gently reminding us of deadlines and the time required for UMCES to submit the proposal to the funding agency." - Professor Tom Fisher

"Juli's knowledge, insight, and understanding of the Horn Point Laboratory's (HPL) research programs and sponsored award proposal submission processes make her make her a key and valued resource for the faculty at HPL. "I have spent 25 years working within the USM.  Juli is a shining example of those gifted colleagues who understand the balance between effective and efficient operations and campus priorities." - Lynn Rehn, UMCES, VP Administration

“I cannot thank Julianna enough for her positive attitude, flexibility, and support. How fun and rewarding it is to work with her!” - Assistant Professor Elizabeth North

“Juli’s background in science, and having done aquatic science in the Chesapeake Bay region in particular, has been part of what puts her over the top as a contracts and grants specialist." - Associate Professor, Jamie Pierson 

Get to Know Juli

Can you give us a little background about yourself?  Did you have an “ah ha” moment for knowing you love science?

I was born in Cleveland, OH, but the best part of my childhood was spent in Peoria, IL where my father was a policeman for the park district there.  We lived in a 377-acre park that had ponds, trails, a barn with horses, and even a summer day camp, and I had free range of the entire place!  I spent a lot of time outdoors exploring.  I think that started my interest in environmental science, but what cinched it was a marine science trip I took in high school where I spent one week on the tall ship, Harvey Gamage, one week at the College of the Atlantic, and one week at DePauw University studying marine science.  I was hooked!

Tell us about your job at HPL.

I assist faculty members, and sometimes students, with developing research proposals.  I check the guidelines for each solicitation to make sure each proposal meets the requirements and that each budget is correct.  If the Principal Investigator (PI), has any questions, I do my best to track down the answers so that they can build a proposal and budget that best fits the project they have in mind.  I interact a lot with Office of Research Administration and Advancement, (ORAA), regarding the requirements of the sponsor and solicitation.  I also interact with my officemates to make sure that the budget is developed at the proposal stage in a way that ensures a smooth experience for the PI while the project is underway.  I also am a grant manager so I understand how things work after the project begins, which helps me guide PIs with future proposal development.

What do you like most about your job?

I love talking to the PIs about their work and reading proposals because I get to learn about great science from people who are passionate about what they study.  When a project is awarded, I am thrilled for the PI regardless of the amount of the award because I have seen how much effort has gone into the proposal and know the end product is going to benefit the scientific community.

How does your background in marine science help you in your position?

I think my background in marine science helps me because I understand how much thought and effort our PIs put into each proposal and research project to follow their passion for science.  I appreciate PIs "geeking out" about their research questions and how determined they are to answer questions or better understand processes, so I try to help them put together great proposals to make this happen for them.

What does it mean to you to be recognized by UMCES colleagues for your work?

UMCES is a great place to work, where I am surrounded by people who are team players and who are motivated to do their best for the sake of good science and UMCES, so it's especially meaningful to be recognized by my colleagues.  

What do you think you do that creates such a good working relationship with your colleagues that others can take from this interview? 

I really try to listen to people's questions, ideas, and concerns and address them with the respect and care they deserve.  I try to see things from their point of view to try and understand how we can work together to overcome problems or make processes better/easier to achieve our goals.