Pre-RAS AdministratorRA: The 2010's
I started in research administration in 2016 when it started at Emory University. Since I had already been the person that submitted the grants for my department, it was only natural that I become the Research Administrator for our departments. I have a dual role not only as a Research Administrator but also as the Departmental Coordinator and find the work very rewarding.
Research Admin, Post-Award ManagerRA: The 2000's
I was searching for an accounting position when I was contacted by a staffing agency who found my resume on a popular (at the time) job website. They informed me they had an accounting position (later learned the term was post-award administrator) with a local university. The position was a temp-to-hire. After 3 months, I was hired permanently and also learned pre-award. That was in 2007. Sixteen years later, I am still in the field, have held many positions, at a couple institutions. I would have never thought I would be in this field so long, but I enjoy what I do!
Post Award Administrator IIIRA: The 1990's
I became a research administrator in 1990 after being in the law enforcement environment for four years. It was certainly a different path than that I was accustomed to, but I was ready for the change and challenge. I actually started this path working for a program that was funded by a grant and eventually moving to a position of managing the grant and others from the central office. I’ve learned so much in this ever-evolving industry and it continues to evolve. Now, some thirty-three years later, I’m still here in research administration. Although things have changed over the course of time, what I can say what has kept me here all these years is my fondness of working with people and numbers. I’ve had the pleasure of establishing relationships across universities and being an integral part of the successes of the financial management side of research administration.
Associate Director, Research TrainingRA: 2020 - Recent
When I was 15 years old, my parents set me on the college track. They instilled in me that going to college would help me find a meaningful job that would set me on a career path.
Fast forward to my late twenties. I was in graduate school, struggling to balance school, marriage, and two young daughters. I kept telling myself that the end was in sight. I only needed to power through my Ph.D., and then I would land that promised job! In reality, I would need to spend several more years working as a postdoctoral fellow before I was job market ready. I was tired, disillusioned, broke, and piling on student loan debt. I needed a job.
I accepted a terminal master’s degree (instead of my Ph.D.) and began working as a tutor and part-time instructor while continuing to search for a full-time job. That’s when I found a job description for a Proposal Development Officer at the University of Louisville. The duties included assisting investigators with finding funding opportunities, proposal development, and applying for funding. As a graduate student, I did all those things for my graduate advisor, so I applied.
During the interview, they asked me about my experience. I talked about my experience using a funding opportunity database and how searching for funding opportunities differed significantly from searching for research publications. I think throwing out words like “funding opportunity database” is what landed me the job.
I was 30 years old and finally gainfully employed with adult benefits like vacation and retirement! I loved it. I also loved working with investigators in a support role. I loved being connected to research while earning more than a graduate assistant salary. I loved discovering a community that would teach me more about my work and connect me with a network of individuals I could learn from and lean on.
After attending my first National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) conference, I realized that I had a profession! I was finally on a career path, and what a wonderful career and journey it has been. Another wonderful thing is that my daughters have shared in my research administration journey. They have attended many NCURA meetings (the Hilton Hotel is like a second home to them), and both have careers in research administration: one working in clinical trials management and the other working for Streamlyne!
It has been a fantastic journey. I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store for me, my daughters, my colleagues, and my profession.
A. Joy F.
Lead Sponsored Research Analyst, OSPRA: 2020 - Recent
I became a Research Administrator in 2008. Previously I worked as a Program Manager on a grant at another institution and then later became a grant writing consultant. I loved working with grants but no necessarily the writing and happened upon a job description at Emory. It seemed like a perfect mesh of my experience and what I wanted to learn how to do. With careful training from another experienced analyst, I began to realize that I had made the right choice! Been here at Emory in different capacities and titles ever since. 🙂