Smithsonian Institute

Susan A.

Research Compliance Officer

Became an RA: The 1990's

I had left bench science when I decided I’d rather work with people than test tubes. My first admin job supported undergraduate students through peer tutoring. Because of the database software we used, I was a good fit for my first job in research administration, as an administrative assistant/grant manager for a large physics laboratory. The PI was DOD-funded, about $3M/year budget, and I learned all about proposal preparation, pre-award audit (part of award negotiation), and departmental grant administration. I went back to night MBA school, then moved to the pre-award office as assistant director. Later I became the director, and administered the non-medical IRB on the side. After taking time off to raise my children, I came back to the field 12 years ago, and have served as research compliance officer for a non-profit research organization, supporting the IRB, IACUC, FCOI, RECR and misconduct functions as a one-woman band. The science education (though decades out of date by now) is still valuable, and I’m proud to say I have supported the research enterprise my entire career.