Who We Are
M. S. (Peg) AtKisson, Ph.D. earned her degree in neuroscience from Tufts University in 2001, after also working in cell biology and cancer biology. After completing her degree, she consulted for Cogniscent, Inc., on nanotechnology applications of short DNA sequences as chemical sensors. She began her research development career as a contract grant writer, with clients including the Association for Computing Machines, Wake Forest University, Hunter College, Tufts University among others. Tufts created a position for her, where she subsequently created and fully staffed one of the earliest formal research development offices. By the time she departed from the position of director of proposal development, she and her team had been involved in bringing in over $140,000,000 in funded grants. Funders ranged from NIH, NSF, and USAID to the W. M. Keck Foundation. Most of these successful high-value proposals supported research centers and infrastructure. She also provided training for faculty and post-doctoral fellows in grant writing.
During her time at Tufts University she met the founders of Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops (GWSW). In 2008, they invited her to join the company, and she split her time between Tufts University and GWSW until 2010 when she joined the company full time. Dr. AtKisson was the first person that the founders hired and trusted to carry out their seminars and workshops. In eight years with GWSW, she presented an average of 30 seminars per year, customized for many different funders, covering bench and social science as well as arts & humanities. She worked directly with over 200 individual researchers on proposals ranging from materials physics to history, coaching investigators through the grant-writing process to leave each faculty member with a new skill set to be applied to every proposal going forward.
She left GWSW in January 2017 to create AtKisson Training Group to expand support for faculty research development beyond grant writing--placing the grant proposal in the context of the individual scholar's larger research enterprise and career trajectory. Dr. AtKisson is a highly acclaimed public speaker with a track record of helping faculty improve their competitiveness for funding. (See what clients say.)
Mary Hensel, MBA, combines decades of fund raising for arts, environmental and health non-profits with university research and funding development. A development professional for 25 years, she has worked at every level of the fund raising ladder and is an expert in funding assessment, cultivation and solicitation. At the American Cancer Society and Trustees of Reservations she formed local networks to raise funds and sponsor educational events. As Director of Annual Giving at the New York Philharmonic, she was responsible for raising 20% of the orchestra’s budget. At the University of Washington, she led capital campaigns for both the newly established College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences and the largest College of Arts and Sciences which included the University’s gallery, performing arts hall and museum of natural history and culture. At University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth she handled federal submissions for faculty members in Arts and Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, Nursing and Law, before establishing the University’s Office of Research Development to coordinate complex submissions and provide infrastructure support to the academic community. Co-owner of a tourism-based business in the Florida Keys for more than ten years, she holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.
With ATG, Ms. Hensel facilitates training for proposal planning and writing for the arts and humanities. She also brings her expertise in large proposal development--planning, writing, and editing--for groups embarking on high-value proposals.
Bob O’Neil is an experienced, professional and successful leadership development coach with more than 25 years of experience. He is a Certified Professional Coach, and certified in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, The Predictive Index, Franklin Covey Time Management and Energy Leadership. He spent many years working for Bayer in executive leadership developmentn to support the growth and advancement of high-potential employees. He has taught leadership in the business school at Boston University. In his private coaching practice, he works with individuals who are inspired by their curiosity and need help in clarifying what matters most--and how to get there.
Mr. O'Neil works with ATG to translate his experience from the business world into tangible skills for academics who need focused leadership development to successfully head large, multi-investigator projects. He is an instrumental partner in research leadership development for faculty members ready to aquire the communication, facilitation, and management skills that promote effective team science for both competitive high-value proposals and successful running of a funded center or project.
ATG also maintains an extensive network of research development professionals, including scientific and academic editors who can be called in for specific projects. In some cases, their home institutions will not allow us to list them here. Graphics and animation are also available. See also our Connections Page.