Office of Pre-Award Services - Staff Contacts

Office of Pre-Award Services

The Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) supports and advances the university's mission by providing leadership and expertise in the area of pre-award research administration. OPAS reviews and submits all proposals to funding agencies for externally sponsored programs in research, instruction, and other public service programs as authorized in the university’s Trustee Policy T94-034, which states in part:

“The campus sponsored project administrators and Controllers are assigned specific responsibility for pre- and post-award administration of grants, contracts and cooperative agreements. The sponsored project administrator at each campus is the sole authorized institutional official having authority for submitting proposals and applications to funding agencies.”

OPAS supports two primary pre-award functions:

OPAS Staff Contacts

When preparing proposals for submission, please follow the established University procedures. Please contact the appropriate Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) staff member from the list below if questions arise or send a request via the R&E Help Desk. 

Please note: OPAS is currently working fully remotely. Email is the most direct way to contact staff. Our central email is, and phone is 413-545-0699.

Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS)

Marcia Day (MPA, CRA) Director:

  • U.S. Agency for International Development

  • Other Sponsors (individuals, foreign governments, etc.)

Kristy Reese (MA, CRA) Assistant Director:

  • Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA)

  • Other Colleges & Universities under DARPA prime awards/proposals

  • UMass Donahue Institute proposals

Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) - Proposal Development

Sarah Vega-Liros (MA, CRA) Senior Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • Proposal development (administrative and budget support for all sponsors, primarily focused on non-standard and complex proposals) 

Wendy Ardagna (MBA) Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • Proposal development (administrative and budget support for all sponsors, primarily focused on non-standard and complex proposals) 

Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) - Proposal Review and Submission

Koren Berrio (CRA) Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • Other Colleges & Universities

  • Other Colleges & Universities under DOD prime awards/proposals (not DARPA Prime)

  • U.S. Department of Defense (Air
    Force, AFOSR, Army, Navy - not DARPA or Industry with Prime DoD)

  • U.S. Department of Transportation

Ellen Bitzer (CRA) Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • Space Telescope Science Institute (STSCI)

  • U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development

  • U.S. Department of Justice

  • U.S. Department of Labor

  • U.S. Department of State

  • U.S. Department of Treasury

  • Foundations and other non-profits

  • Institutes and Associations

Kimberly Lowney Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) for departments within the the colleges of Engineering; Humanities & Fine Arts; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and the schools of Education, Management; Nursing; and Public Health & Health Sciences

  • U.S. Department of Commerce (Econ. Dev. Admin., Nat'l. Telecomm and Info Admin., NOAA, National Institute of Standards and Technology)

  • Quasi Gov't (GSA, Nat'l Research Council, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Smithsonian Institution, Holocaust Memorial Museum)

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts

  • Other States, Local Governments

Mary Santos (CRA) Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) only for departments in the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Information and Computer Sciences

  • Independent Establishments (EPA, Inter-American Foundation, NASA, NEA, NEH, Office of Research & Dev., Peace Corps, SBA, Nuclear Reg. Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission)

  • Industry Proposals (not DOD prime)

Sara Santos (CRA) Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • DHHS/PHS (Nat'l. Institutes of Health-NIH, Health Resources and Services Admin., Food & Drug Admin., Agency for Health Care Policy, Head Start Program); supporting all schools and colleges except the College of Natural Sciences

  • U.S. Department of Education

  • U.S. Department of Energy

  • U.S. Dept of Homeland Security

  • Health Agencies (such as PCORI)

  • Industry under DOD prime awards/proposals

James Warren (CRA) Pre-Award Research Administrator:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (NIFA, APHIS, MIS, SEA, CREES, CSRS, NRE, U.S. Forest Service)

  • DHHS/PHS (National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources and Services Administration, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Agency for Health Care Policy, Head Start Program); supporting the College of Natural Sciences only

  • U.S. Department of Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs, Geological Survey, National
    Biological Survey, National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)


UMass Innovation Institute - (413) 577-8644

  • Industry Prop & Awards (P&As)

IMPORTANT Changes in Services

Late Proposals: Until further notice, late proposal requests will be accepted only in truly exceptional cases, on a case-by-case basis, and only if OPAS has reviewer availability without redirecting effort from other proposals.

Please note: When a proposal is due in the middle of a specific date, OPAS treats it as though it is due the day before. This is to ensure the early cutoff time does not jeopardize submission. Please take this into account when calculating the five-day internal deadline.  For more information, please review the links above. For pre-award related questions, please contact us at