For those of us in the ATE community sustainability is a topic woven into our projects and centers from the start. Anyone who writes an ATE proposal has to include a section about how they hope to sustain at least some portion of their activities and resources. As work progresses, the PI and team considers how best to sustain project or center deliverables—a summer institute, industry tours, a faculty professional development series—beyond NSF funding. Particularly for those new to ATE, the concept of sustainability can be a bit confusing and feel like a daunting task. Thankfully there are ATE peers and outside experts who can help all of us think through strategies and lean on practices that have been successful for others.
Nancy Maron, founder of BlueSky to BluePrint, has been working with ATE Central and the ATE community for almost a decade, providing guidance and support in this critical area. Nancy always has great advice and thoughtful examples of sustainability from those in, and beyond, ATE. Recently Nancy was kind enough to answer a few questions about her own background and provide some thoughts on sustainability.
ATE Central: Can you tell us a bit about your own background and work and how you came to launch your business BlueSky to BluePrint?
Maron: The idea for my company evolved over time, as my professional interests drew me into fields that to an outsider might not seem related! I started off in trade publishing, as a marketing and salesperson back when the national chains were just taking hold, so I got to learn the nuts and bolts of how sales and distribution channels work. I continued studying “cultural diffusion” in graduate school, by exploring the early years of mass media culture in France. When I returned to publishing, I wanted to be somewhere where I could see and understand the big picture of the digital transformations taking hold, and the not-for-profit think-tank Ithaka S+R (parent organization of JSTOR) was the perfect place to pursue those interests. While there, I led several research projects focused specifically on understanding how innovative digital initiatives in the academic and cultural sectors have found creative ways develop and grow beyond their initial grant funding.