Woman named Patty Fox in teal UNCW hoodie

Feb. 5, 2019

After 12 years at UNCW, and seven as a grant specialist, you would think that Patty Fox would have seen it all by now, but her curious nature continues to land her in the thick of exciting new opportunities.

“In my role, I get to see some of the amazing research that faculty and students are doing, and not just sit behind a desk and manage it,” Fox said. “There are so many opportunities on campus for staff to be involved in, but they won’t just come to you. You have to research your interest and pursue it.”

One opportunity that Fox has taken advantage of is the Staff Global Travel Grant. Supported by UNCW’s Office of International Programs and the Staff Senate, the grant supports staff and administrators who want to gain a global perspective on fulfilling their roles at UNCW. Fox has received two of these grants, one in 2012 to Australia, and, more recently, a trip in 2018 to Scotland.

“I love traveling and learning, and when they go together, it’s even more fun. I went to Glasgow for a site visit to Clyde Space with Professor John Morrison to see them build the SeaHawk cubesat,” she said. “Getting to meet one of the key players in this project and working closely with Dr. Morrison brought a whole new perspective of what it takes to launch a satellite. I never would have dreamt I would be part of this type of research.”

The university’s research cubesat took flight in December 2018 with the successful launch of SeaHawk-1, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Learn more about UNCW’s international collaboration here.

Continuing to grow both UNCW’s research capabilities and her own personal arsenal of knowledge are both very important to Fox. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at UNCW (she already holds a bachelor’s in accounting from NC Wesleyan, as well as two associate degrees) and wishes the general public knew a little bit more about the importance of university-led research and its necessary funding.

“It is so important for students to have a research experience,” Fox said. “I mean, who knows, the next Marie Curie may be here at our university. In order to conduct research, we need continued funding. I don’t think people know how competitive it is to get that funding.”

Fox hopes that her involvement and hands-on approach will inspire others to take a chance on trying something new. “My experiences with travel and research have been enriching, and have shown me things that I never knew I would be interested in,” she said. “One of the highest compliments I receive is that I am part of the team.”


-- Christina Schechtman