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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Supporting the Research Mission

profile - carla boudreau - fall/winter 2008


Writer and folklore researcher Zora Neale Hurston refers to research as "formalized curiosity, poking and prying with a purpose." A sense of curiosity may be at the heart of the research process, but when applying for the grant funding to make it possible, expertise in federal regulations, institutional process, and financial management are also required.

Enter Carla Boudreau.

Boudreau is the eagerly awaited new grants manager at the Connell School, a role established with the goal of supporting the research infrastructure and providing assistance to faculty members seeking funding for projects.

"I’m so excited about the fact that it’s a brand new position," Boudreau says. "Together we can grow in every way necessary. Because of the newness of the job, I can make it into what it needs to be, so having the freedom to figure out what will and won’t work is one of the most exciting parts for me."

Although new to this position, Boudreau has been at Boston College for eight years, starting out in the Initiatives on Aging Project before moving to the Office for Sponsored Programs, which oversees all research at BC. She holds an MBA from Northeastern, where she also received her undergraduate degree.

Barbara Wolfe, director of the Center for Nursing Research, enthuses that Boudreau is a welcome addition to the school: “We are so fortunate to have Carla working with us. Having someone with her level of experience with both Boston College and grant management will facilitate the grant-seeking process and help research to flourish at the Connell School. Carla’s contribution is part of a plan to take our research productivity to the next level.”

Boudreau agrees that close interaction with faculty is integral to her role. “In working at the department level, I think it’s important to connect with people, and I like making sure that we’re working together as a team to get things done,” she says. “Essentially, I see myself in sort of an advisory role: I’m here to support faculty members however I can in submitting grant proposals so that they get funded.”

Optimistic about the increasing importance placed on research at the Connell School, Boudreau cites the creation of the Colleagues Enhancing Research (CERes) group, a peer review panel for faculty grant applications. “That is an incredible thing, unique in itself. As proposals go through the CERes committee, the funding rate continues to go up.

“The university is taking research very seriously, so staffing the departments to support that goal is really a smart thing,” says Boudreau. “I think it’s important to have somebody who knows the business, who knows the ins and outs, to be able to make things happen.”
Most of all, Boudreau is eager to be part of the process of evolution at the Connell School. “With the new dean, with Barbara Wolfe’s appointment as director of the Center for Nursing Research, and with this new grants manager position, there is a lot going on to support the research mission,” she says. “We have a lot of planning to do as well as guidelines to set in order to reach our goals.

“My hope is that the grants will grow to such an extent that we will need to expand the department and add more support, more people. Ultimately, if we develop the way we intend to, we’ll be able to have a structure in which the research supports itself and all the people who are contributing to it. I hope we can make it happen.

“I think we can.”