Scott Niles, PhD | Georgia Institute of Technology
Region III Chair
Scott Niles is a Contracting Officer at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He previously served as the Director of Research Integrity & Compliance at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. Scott has also worked in proposal development and as a grants and contracts administrator. He recently earned his PhD in Education Sciences with a focus in Research Administration. He is also Region III’s resident troubadour and can be found entertaining the hospitality suite with research administration themed cover songs.
Laura Letbetter | Georgia State University
Region III Immediate Past Chair
Laura Letbetter began her research administration career in 2004 at Kennesaw State University, where she first worked as a proposal development specialist and later served as Director of Proposal Development and Programmatic Research. From 2013 to 2017, she was a contracting officer for the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is now Associate Director for Sponsored Research Development for the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Her background includes teaching, editing, and program administration. She is a 2012 graduate of NCURA’s Executive Leadership Program, served as Region III Secretary from 2012-2013, and served as Region III’s regionally elected board member from 2017-2018.
Natasha Williams | Emory University
Region III Chair-Elect
Natasha Williams is a Pre-Award Administrator III in Emory University’s School of Public Health RAS Unit, and has had a long and extensive nearly 30-year career in research administration. She likes to say that she has grown up in the field, having begun her career in 1993 as the administrative assistant on the Ronald E. McNair grant at Morehouse College when grants were still being typed on typewriters, and then put in boxes to be flown to DC. Since that beginning, Natasha has held a variety of both pre- and post-award positions at the department, college, and central office levels, and in a variety of different institutions and agencies to include the State of Georgia, Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University. A dedicated community activist and volunteer, Natasha is a former parent representative on the Hapeville Charter School Board, and was a charter member of the Hapeville Charter Career Academy PTA. She currently serves as a member of the City of South Fulton’s Parks and Recreation Citizen’s Steering Committee and is a grant reviewer for the Fulton County Department of Community Development. Natasha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/TV Broadcast Journalism, a Master of Public Administration degree in Public Management from Georgia State University, and a graduate certificate in Leadership, Ethics, & Character from Kennesaw State University. She is currently a doctoral student in Public Administration at Valdosta State University where she focuses her own research on organizational development and innovation in the public sector.
Laney McLean | Florida State University
Region III Secretary
Laney has nearly ten years of experience in research administration, most of those at Florida State University in the central preaward office and then for six years as Assistant Director of the Center for Advanced Power Systems, a sponsor-funded research center. Laney has been active in NCURA and Region III for many years and was the 2021 Sandy Barber Volunteer Award winner.
David Smelser | University of Tennessee
Regionally-Elected National Board Member
David Smelser, MSM, CRA is the Assistant Director of Sponsored Programs at the University of Tennessee. He joined the University in 2004 and worked at the school/college levels before moving to central administration in 2008. Since joining NCURA, David has volunteered in numerous ways at regional and national levels. Some of his notable activities include: Region III Secretary, Region III Chair Appointed member of the Executive Committee, co-Editor of NCURA Magazine, Executive Leadership Program, Chair of Education Scholarship Fund, member of the Professional Development Committee, Presidential Appointee to the Board of Directors, member of the NCURA Research Program committee, and serving as a R3RAMP mentor. Additionally, David received Region III’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018.
Marc Haon | Duke University
Marc Haon brings 13 years of experience to his role as a Research Administrator in the Office of Research Administration in the School of Medicine at Duke University and works remotely for Duke from Columbia, SC. His responsibilities include comprehensive pre award proposal review and submission for multiple departments as well as RPPR and JIT review and submissions. He joined NCURA in 2009 and has volunteered and presented at many regional and national conferences over the years. As the Region III Sponsorship Chair, he successfully raised $28,500 over 2 years. He served on the 2019 NCURA National Conference Pre-Award Track Planning Committee and currently serves as the NCURA Region III Treasurer.
When not in the office, Marc serves as a public address announcer for the University of South Carolina Athletics Department, announcing various sports across campus. His 24 years of NCAA Division I experience at both Auburn University and The University of South Carolina include regular season sporting events, Southeastern Conference Championships, NCAA Regionals and NCAA National Championship events.
Jaime Petrasek | University of Virginia
Jaime Petrasek has close to 17 years of experience in research administration, all in the beautiful state of Virginia. Jaime began her career in the Office of Sponsored Programs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), then spent a few years working on clinical trials in the VCU Children’s Hospital, and most recently served as the Director of Research Administration for the VCU School of Social Work. After serving VCU for 16 and a half years, Jaime traded her city view for a (virtual) view of the mountains and joined the University of Virginia Office of Sponsored Programs as a fully remote Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator. Jaime has served NCURA for many years as a presenter and attendee, a member of both the Region 3 and National Diversity and Inclusion committees, and as a coordinator for R3RAMP. When not in the office, Jaime loves nothing more than a perfect beach day, and looks forward to traveling more in the future.