Associate director creates avenues of success for researchers

A graphic shows a portrait of Jessica Black-Magnussen to the right of an image of a skylight in the Dole Center and includes the words, Unsung Hero, Jessica Black-Magnussen, Life Span Institute, on top

Jessica Black-Magnussen | Associate Director of Project Development | Life Span Institute 

University of Kansas Life Span Institute research professor Amy McCart says she wouldn’t be able to do her work without Jessica Black-Magnussen.

“The Life Span Institute and the University of Kansas are better because of Jess,” McCart said. “She is responsible for helping to usher in millions of dollars to support positive outcomes in the field. She is a wonder. A true wonder.”

Black-Magnussen is the associate director of project development for the Life Span Institute, a role in which she develops and submits grants and other funding proposals. She makes research less complicated for investigators.

“Jess creates on-ramps for us to do the work,” McCart said. “She is there no matter the challenge. There isn’t a problem she isn’t willing to tackle.”

John Colombo, director of the Life Span Institute and professor of psychology, said Black-Magnussen kept the institute’s pre-award group working together seamlessly through the pandemic. She helped staff and investigators working remotely stay connected.

“She is remarkably resourceful and exceptionally competent,” Colombo said. “She deftly walks the line of making sure that PIs know the boundaries of what they can and cannot do, along with exploring every avenue of how their problems might be addressed or resolved.”

“Jess’s door is always open,” Colombo added. “She’s always available for help and looking to find a way to get it done — whatever it is.”