UNT Health Science Center

Autumn O.

Senior Research Administrator

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

I had been working as an executive assistant for over 20 years and had been with the University of North Texas Health Science Center (HSC) School of Public Health (SPH) for 3 years. I really wanted a change, but had no idea what I was interested in. I knew I wanted something challenging and something that would allow me to grow into other areas. During my time with HSC, I continued working on my bachelor’s degree through an online college. When COVID hit, that gave me the opportunity to get as many classes done as possible to obtain my degree. With that in hand I still felt like there was no way for me to get out of the Executive Assistant role because I didn’t have experience in anything else. I kept thinking, “If only someone would give me a chance. If someone would have enough faith in me to offer me a position even if I don’t have experience and train me.” In July of 2022, that person walked in my office and asked if I would be interested in a recently open position as the pre-award specialist in SPH Office of Research Services (ORS). I believe the stars aligned because I had applied for a position in another department (still as an executive assistant), but decided not to follow through the process. Then the SPH post-ward specialist took another position on campus. The pre-award specialist was promoted to post-award leaving an open position. The director of the ORS spoke with her team and all agreed that she should see if I would be interested. I am so lucky that she took a chance on me and that my colleagues believed I could do the job. I have been the Senior Research Administrator for pre-award in the SPH for just a little over a year now. It’s been challenging to say the least! This is one career where you can say “Expect the unexpected!” I don’t know everything there is to know about pre-award, I make mistakes, at times I’m overwhelmed, but I’m still here and still happy I took a leap of faith and made the change! When you are given exactly what you asked for, how could you turn it down? I’m glad I didn’t.