On September 18, 2022, Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico with dangerous wind gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour and 29 inches of rain. The storm tore through roads and bridges, and damaged buildings, leaving thousands without power. Even as of this writing, months later, the damaged infrastructure poses an ongoing challenge for residents, along with those working to provide food, water, and essential supplies to those affected by the storm.
The statistics are staggering, and they are not just numbers. They are people, including those in our Streamlyne community. As it happens, I was in Puerto Rico myself at the beginning of Hurricane Fiona, as the news was unfolding in real time. I was onsite visiting our customers (and friends) at UPR Medical Sciences Campus. Hour by hour, the news became increasingly scary. Nobody knew exactly what would come next.
Since then, we all know what occurred with the hurricane and the damage it inflicted. The full repercussions are still unknown, but we don’t often hear the stories of the people impacted. This includes the Puerto Rico research administrators. Most of our Streamlyne users were suddenly left with no Internet, power, or even water in some cases.
Above: Cell phone video captured by Randy in Puerto Rico
The Resilience of Puerto Rico Research Administrators
Do you know what Puerto Rico research administrators did under these extraordinary circumstances? They went to their offices and worked. They carried on as best as they could. And they inspired and encouraged one another. Across UPR, Ponce, Mayaguez – every one of our Puerto Rico contingent was challenged in some way by Fiona. And it didn’t stop them.
The joy of launching Streamlyne to the Medical Sciences Campus Community was short lived as we had to prepare for the storm. However, the lessons learned from Hurricanes Irma and Maria taught us to focus on our mission: through our research administration work we contribute to increasing knowledge and improving the health of fellow Puerto Ricans and other people.
– Irma E. Roman-Garcia, Assistant Director – Pre-Award, AOR
University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus (UPR-MSC)
If it’s possible, my admiration for those in our research administration community has grown even more because of this. Even under normal circumstances, the role of a research administrator is difficult enough. Any given week in the job of an RA is tougher than a lot of careers in their entirety. And often, the valuable contributions made by RAs on a daily basis go without recognition or fanfare. You are made of stronger stuff than most, and the fact that a hurricane can’t stop you is just further proof.
“Researchers at UPR are very dedicated to advancing knowledge, science, engineering, and education for the wellbeing of our communities and the nation. Our Research Administrators are fully committed to making this happen, no matter the conditions that are faced.”
– Dr. Ingrid Y. Padilla, Professor of Civil Engineering & Surveying
University of Puerto Rico
Staying Connected to the Puerto Rico Research Administration Community
The news coverage immediately following the hurricane was abundant. We were all well aware of the devastation, and heard other firsthand accounts too. For example, at our recent user conference, we were thrilled to bring one of the UPR research administrators to San Diego, representing the many who had planned to attend. And despite everything else, Irma Roman came through and addressed our conference group as scheduled, albeit virtually. So at the time it was unfolding, everything seemed very real and immediate.
But the news cycle moves quickly, and ongoing coverage is scarcer than when the impact first happened. Now, even though it doesn’t generate as much attention, lives are still disrupted, and people are facing daily challenges. So if you know someone in the research administration community in Puerto Rico, this is the time to lend your support. If each of us keep doing our small part, we can make a difference.
Our Research Administrators are committed to assist the institution in the best possible manner to solve problems even with force-of-nature challenges. The team is resilient, loyal, devoted, high spirited, and dedicated with the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from a difficult life event to continue the administrative services to all who are in need.
– Claris Vega
Director, Officer of Research Development at Ponce Health Sciences University
My heart goes out to all those in Puerto Rico and other areas who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona. I hope for the ongoing safety of you and your families.