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Arnold School of Public Health

Staff Spotlight: Lumi Bakos

March 7, 2022 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

When Lumi Bakos accepted her first job at UofSC in the Office of Sponsored Awards Management more than 15 years ago, she had no prior experience in grant administration and no idea it would become her career. A two-time graduate of Youngstown State University (B.S. in Business Administration, M.A. in Economics), Bakos moved to Columbia in 2006 after her husband accepted a faculty appointment with the computer science department.  

“The longer I worked in the field, the more curious and interested I became,” she says. “I wanted to make the process of applying for grants easier and smoother for all the parties involved.” 

During my time at UofSC I have met faculty when they were new on campus starting their careers applying for their first grant. Seeing them succeed is the best feeling and makes my job worthwhile.

-Lumi Bakos, director for the Arnold School Office of Research

Not long into her career at UofSC, Bakos decided to begin working towards a doctoral degree. This experience offered yet another perspective on the challenges of research funding and administration.

After ten years with the sponsored awards office, Bakos transferred to the Arnold School where she was already a student in the Ph.D. in Health Services Policy and Management program. She joined the Office of Research as a senior development grant specialist and had become the director by the following year.

“By moving to the Arnold School’s Office of Research, I was able to get closer to the action and understand more – including where the faculty were coming from,” says Bakos, whose team ended the last fiscal year with $43.5 million in external funding – setting another new record for the school. “Research administration touches upon many facets of the university, and I have worked with numerous faculty, departmental and college staff, central office grants specialists as well as researchers and staff at other universities or sponsoring organizations.”

“Dr. Bakos has been a true asset for improving our university research,” says Alan Decho, associate dean for research. “She has served in several important capacities and has been instrumental in her knowledgeable and creative improvement of Arnold School’s Office of Research, which achieved a new record for research funding last year.”

In addition to supporting faculty with pre-award (including the 350 proposals they submit each year) and post-award activities at the Arnold School, Bakos is currently serving as the senior advisor to the interim Vice President for Research, Arnold School communication sciences and disorders professor Julius Fridriksson. In this role, Bakos manages and teaches new grant programs, such as the Propel Research Mentorship Program and STAR (Series on Training for Advanced Research), and other faculty workshops. It’s a position that builds on her experiences at UofSC and the Arnold School to help further the research mission of the university.

“Working with faculty and staff in the Arnold School has been a privilege and an honor,” Bakos says. “I love seeing faculty grow professionally. During my time at UofSC I have met faculty when they were new on campus starting their careers applying for their first grant. Seeing them succeed is the best feeling and makes my job worthwhile.”

The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


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