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Cayuse Champion Spotlight: Ella Christiansen, CRA

By Simon Helton posted 11-01-2021 09:35


The Cayuse community is thrilled to shine its Champion Spotlight on @Ella Christiansen, CRA and Director, Office of Research at the College of Health Sciences at Boise State University. Keep reading below to get to know Ella better.

Ella Christiansen

How do you interact with Cayuse products on a daily basis?

I am the Director for the Office of Research within the College of Health Sciences at Boise State University. We are currently using two Cayuse apps: Grants and Fund Manager. We use Grants as our "database" to keep track of our sponsored projects portfolio throughout the life cycle of each project. We use Grants to keep track of salary allocations, (unofficially) track of effort, maintain pertinent documents, and to have quick access to basic project information, including project budget and balances. Our faculty take advantage of the "Balance" tab to get a quick look at the budget to actuals of their projects. On the post-award side, my team and I use Fund Manager to review and reconcile transactions to each project.  

What do you like to do outside of work?
I have two boys (a 7 and almost 3 year old) so life outside of work is usually very busy and energetic! As a family, we enjoy spending time outside enjoying all that Idaho has to offer -- boating and wakesurfing at the lake, riding in the dirt, and snowboarding (and sledding) in the snow. In my "spare" time, I enjoy reading, cooking, and watching football (Go Pack Go!).

What do you see as the hottest trends in research today?
Well, the hottest trend today is definitely anything related to COVID. However, what I have seen over the past few years has really been an emphasis on collaboration and interdisciplinary research. I foresee this trend continuing into the future. It has been interesting (to say the least) to see how our faculty have been able to accomplish this or work through this challenge during the pandemic.

What do you consider most promising in the era of big data?
I think big data is definitely a blessing and a curse. The availability of so much data is great -- data can be used to tell just about any story you want it to tell. But in that, I think we have to be very mindful of how it is used and disseminated. Accessibility and transparency are essential. 

How can an organization stay relevant five years from now?
In a world that is so reliant on technology, I think it is imperative for an organization to continually monitor use of technology to ensure it is "modernized" enough to keep up with the needs and demands of the organization. Accessibility, connectivity, and security are essential in a world in which we are relying more and more on the cloud and working in remote environments.

What app would be hard for you to live without?
A previous Champion Spotlight mentioned avoiding becoming dependent on apps. I think that is such great advice, especially in a world in which work and (increasingly) family require so much connection via a smartphone. Having said that, I am reliant on my gmail app to stay connected to work and Apple Messages to stay connected with family and friends who are scattered all across the country.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
This was a tough question. There are so many that I would choose it was hard to narrow it down. At this moment, I think Abraham Lincoln sits at the top of the list for me because of his exemplary leadership during his presidency and the era of the Civil War. There are so many leadership lessons that one can learn from him -- it would take a novel to write them all down. (Add to the reading list: Leadership in Turbulent Times and Team of Rivals, both by Doris Kearns Goodwin). 

Thank you Ella for being a Cayuse Champion and sharing your thoughts!​​​​​​​