Oregon State University

Susan C.

Proposal Manager

Became an RA: The 1990's

At my masters defense in graduate school in 1991, I decided that I didn’t want to be a professor so left instead of completing my PhD to see what else was out there. I spent several years in industry for very good money as an analytical chemist, but the hours were sometimes quite long.

I was the trailing spouse when I ended up in a college town and found a job as a laboratory manager for a particularly well funded researcher. With three post docs, five graduate students, one full time technician, and various undergraduates moving in and out – he needed multiple grants to make sure everyone got paid.

Not long after I started, it was time to renew one of his NSF ones and I found that the process was easy for me. Then word got around the department and I was “borrowed” by others…became the proposal person officially for the department, then a larger school and finally for the entire college. Then a bigger college at the university came knocking to do TWO $40,000,000 proposals to USDA-NIFA-AFRI for the same call so I left sciences and moved to agriculture for the next decade or so.

During Covid, we realized that our jobs can be done and done well remotely, so another university made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So after more than a quarter of a century at my first university, I moved to my second in early 2021 and started a new career in engineering that I dearly love and may just get me to keep working for another 25 year stint!

I have watched proposal submission go from typewriters filling in NIH cover sheets to manually collating expensive color printed pages into 20 copies of an application before shipping them off via FedEx to the agency, the FastLane came and amazed us all. First Pure Edge viewer but finally an fully online submission system in Grants.gov and now I use an S2S to do many of my proposal submissions. We have come such a long way in this field and I cannot wait to see the next evolution of the process.

I love working with new faculty and explaining to them HOW to do a proposal – something that they do not teach in graduate school or even in a postdoc. The evolution of them writing a technical paper to creating the masterpiece of storytelling and sales job that is a proposal application always makes me smile and keeps me in this field year after year after year.

Brenda B.

Award Set Up Coordinator

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

I was working in the Business Center and we had a training on how to set up a pending index. I thought, I can do this. When a position opened up in the research administration to set up grants into the accounting system, I applied for it, and got the job.