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Renee Gonzales, Interim Assistant Vice President, Sponsored Research  |  (312) 503-7955

Renee Gonzales headshot

Renee Gonzales has served in higher education research administration for more than 24 years. Most recently, she was assistant vice president and director of sponsored programs at the University of Texas (Austin) where she supervised a 90-person team that managed all pre- and post-award aspects of research administration. Prior to that, Renee was executive director of sponsored programs at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Earlier in her career, she served as interim director of sponsored programs and a research compliance officer at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.  Renee holds a master's degree in public administration and a bachelor's degree in business administration, both from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Andrea Zakrzewski, Senior Director, Proposals and Award Acceptance  | 312-503-2169

Andrea Zakrzewski headshotAndrea Zakrzewski leads a team of Sponsored Research Officers, designs and implements research administration, preaward, contracting, and postaward non-financial operations, including participating in research enhancement to further Northwestern’s strategic research initiatives. Andrea’s professional experience spans over 20 combined years in federal and private grants and contracts management and university research administration. Her grants and contracting experience includes positions with Loyola University and Rush University. Andrea is an active member in research administration and development associations, including NCURA and the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP).


Clay Arnett, JD, Senior Director, Contracts & Negotiations | 312-503-1461

Clay Arnett Headshot

Clay Arnett is the Senior Director for Research Contracts and Negotiations and oversees the Contracts and Negotiations Team.  Clay has a degree in Organizational Leadership from Purdue University and a Juris Doctor from Roger Williams University.



Adrienne Lundquist, JD, Associate Director, Contracts & Negotiations  |  312-503-3287

Adrienne Lundquist headshot

Adrienne Lundquist is the Associate Director, Research Contracts & Negotiations for Northwestern Sponsored Research. Adrienne leads the team of Contracts Officers in their review and negotiation of funded agreements. She has a law degree from University of Michigan and joined Sponsored Research in 2018.



Michael S. Ferguson, Director, Awards Management | 312-503-7905

Michael Ferguson headshot

Michael S. Ferguson leads the Awards Management team for Northwestern Sponsored Research. The team of eleven supports award set-up, NIH progress report review and submission, and a host of award lifecycle activities requiring central office actions. Michael has more than 25 years’ experience in higher education sponsored research. He joined SR in 2005.


Tyra Darville-Layne, MSC, CRA, Director, Subcontracts Management | 312-503-5987

Tyra Darville-layne headshotTyra Darville-Layne has 24+ years combined experience in research administration at Northwestern University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Tyra is an active member of the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) where she has worked collaboratively on subcontracts working groups on agreement templates, subrecipient risk assessment and monitoring tools, and the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse. Tyra is the newest Co-Chair of the FDP Subrecipient Monitoring Tools working group. Tyra is also a member of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) where she has presented on various topics related to subcontracting, tools, and compliance. Tyra holds a Master of Science in Communication from Northwestern’s School of Communication and is a Certified Research Administrator.

Kimberly Griffin, PMP, Senior Director, Business Systems & Operations | 312-503-5478

Kim Griffin headshotKimberly Griffin leads the Business Systems & Operations team for Northwestern Sponsored Research. The team of 13 supports SR’s research administration systems and data initiatives, business operations, and communications and training for the Northwestern research community. Kim has more than 20 years combined experience in sponsored research, business intelligence and data analytics in higher education. With master’s degrees in Public Service Management from DePaul University and Computer Science from The University of Chicago, Kim is pivotal in major process improvement initiatives and system implementation for managing Northwestern’s sponsored research. She joined SR in 2014.

Sara Krentz, Assistant Director, Systems and Data | 312-503-2807

Sara Krentz is the Assistant Director for Research Systems and Data and leads the Systems and Data group on the Business Systems & Operations team. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern. Sara joined Sponsored Research in 2006.

Melissa Mizwa, Assistant Director, Administration & Strategic Communications | 312-503-7861

Melissa Mizwa headshotMelissa Mizwa leads the Communications, Administration, and Training arm of the Business Systems and Operations Team. Melissa has 20 years combined experience in communications, project management, and employee experience across higher education and for-profit sectors. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Georgetown University. Melissa joined Sponsored Research in 2014 and has been with Northwestern University since 2010.