University News

Jessica Grant named interim director of Odum Institute

Grant will be the first woman to lead the institute in its 100-year history.

Headshot of Jessica Grant against Carolina Blue border.

Jessica Grant has been named interim director of the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, Vice Chancellor for Research Penny Gordon-Larsen announced.

Grant, currently the associate director of research and director of the Certificate in Survey Science, will be the first woman to lead the institute in its 100-year history.

Todd BenDor, who’s served as the Odum Institute director since 2018, is taking a new role as chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning in the College of Arts and Sciences. Both appointments are effective July 1.

As interim director, she’ll be responsible for overseeing research, outreach and grant-development activities for the institute. Grant will continue to build strong, collaborative relationships with departments, schools and other centers and institutes on campus, as well as institutions and organizations outside the University. She will also have primary responsibility for the day-to-day activities of the institute as well as representing Odum at inter-institutional and campus level meetings.

Prior to joining the Odum Institute, Grant worked within RTI International’s Survey Research Division for over 13 years, her most recent role being a research survey scientist and administrative manager in the Public Health and Clinical Research program. She has expertise in quantitative and qualitative modes of data collection and has worked extensively managing survey research projects for federal and state government agencies, universities, private organizations, and foundations.

Grant received a master’s in sociology at Fayetteville State University while working as the survey research center coordinator at Fayetteville State’s Research Center for Health Disparities. She received a bachelor’s in sociology and women’s studies from UNC-Chapel Hill.