Stanford University

Gretchen S.

Senior Grants and Finance Manager

Became an RA: The 2010's

I fell into research administration by luck- an errant resume submission- but have enjoyed it ever since!

Derek B.

Conflict of Interest and Commitment and Export Control Manager

Became an RA: The 2000's

Like most all of us, I did not graduate from Washington State University (WSU) intending to become a research administrator, but everything changed when I joined the team at WSU’s Office of Research Support and Operations (formerly the Office of Grant and Research Development) as an office assistant. While I had no prior knowledge of research administration, I quickly found myself taking on additional tasks and responsibilities and becoming more involved with various professional organizations thanks to my supervisor. As I continued to learn and gain new skills, I became passionate about creating efficiencies and improving processes. As an example, I helped conceptualize and create an online routing and approval system that streamlined the process for approving research projects across WSU’s six campuses, saving both time and resources.

As I continued to grow and develop in the Office of Research Support and Operations, I was promoted to the offices first ever full-time outgoing subaward manager position. In this role, I learned the ins and outs of contracting, negotiation, and other essential skills in the field of research administration. I became adept at navigating the complex regulations and policies that govern our research processes, and I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of efficient and effective project management.

Over time, I have taken on a number of new challenges and expanded my knowledge even further, from manage database inquiries to data reporting and various committees and projects. I have become skilled in managing conflicts of interest, which is an ever-increasingly important area in the field of research administration. I have also learned about the rules and regulations that govern cannabis research, as well as the importance of research security and preventing foreign influence. Most recently, I’ve accepted a position at Stanford University managing conflict of interest and export control with the School of Humanities and Sciences, which began in May 2023.

In all of these endeavors, I have been driven by a desire to learn, grow, and contribute to the success of research projects and initiatives. Although I did not originally set out to become a research administrator, I have found that it is a field that is both challenging and rewarding, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.