February 7, 2022 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Bair’s favorite part about her job is, hands down, the co-workers.
“Exercise science is a great group to work with because everyone’s contributions are valuable,” the department’s grants administrator says. “It’s not just that we’re the number one exercise science program in the nation – which we are! –it’s an exciting work environment because I’m surrounded by people at the top of their game. They’re also truly nice people who are just as happy to celebrate your newborn baby as a new research proposal being funded.”
That baby is Camilla Suzanne (Millie) – now five months old – and the highlight of Bair’s life. When she’s away from Millie, Bair is doing everything she can to support the current and rising public health stars that call the Department of Exercise Science home.
It’s not just that we’re the number one exercise science program in the nation – which we are! –it’s an exciting work environment because I’m surrounded by people at the top of their game.
-Melissa Bair, exercise science grants administrator
Originally from Laurens, South Caroina, Bair studied accounting at Winthrop University and then moved to Charleston where she worked for a church-based foundation. With most of her friends in the Columbia area, Bair began looking for positions at UofSC to apply her skills in research accounting.
In 2004, Bair came to Carolina as a grant accountant in the Grants & Funds Management office. She then spent four years with the Office of the Vice President for Research, working with the Research Development Office to design and implement the GRANT (Gamecock Research Administrators Network Training) program, help interdisciplinary teams develop budgets for collaborative research proposals, develop and manage the University’s Limited Submissions program and coordinate the internal research funding programs.
By the time Bair transitioned to the Arnold School in 2010, she had nearly a decade of experience and a Research Administrators Certification to apply to her new role. Her position began with managing sponsored awards for three highly funded faculty members. Over the past 12 years, Bair’s responsibilities have grown to include all research funds as well as department funds.
“My responsibilities include working with different University offices to ensure that the department has everything it needs to operate in accordance with federal and state regulations within department and project budgets,” Bair says. “To me, this means working with the rest of the exercise science administrative team to make day-to-day business as easy as possible so that faculty can focus on teaching, research, mentoring and service.”
“Perhaps the only things that exceed Melissa’s skills as a grants administrator are her infectious energy and much-appreciated sense of humor,” says Shawn Arent, chair of the exercise science department. “She is someone I trust tremendously, and she makes my job easier. Melissa is a creative problem solver and advocates for this department to a greater extent than most people realize. I appreciate not only the job she does, but also HOW she does that job.”
The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.