Washington University in St Louis


Grant Specialist II

Became an RA: The 2010's

My undergrad degrees are in digital media and graphic design. I worked as a graphic designer for 6 years then suddenly moved to a new town to get married. I took a random warehouse job in my new city (thinking it would be short term) where I was eventually given more responsibilities in the accounting department. That’s where I learned a lot about purchasing and accounting. I took a job as a purchasing assistant at Wash U in 2018 which lasted for a year then I applied as a grant specialist a year later. I have been working in research admin for 4 years now and it’s a perfect fit, wish I would have known about it 20 years ago!

LaDonna U.

Purchasing Coordinator

Became an RA: The 2010's

I started at WashU in November 2019 as an administrative coordinator in the Division of Oncology. I now work as a purchasing coordinator for the Department of Medicine which absorbed the Division of Oncology pre-award several years ago and as of September 1, 2023 now all post-award too.

Tanya S.

Grant Manager

Became an RA: The 2000's

I wanted to get out of my current job at the time and a friend lined up an interview for a Grants Assistant. I started December 2005 and worked my way up to a Grant Analyst, then a Senior Grant Analyst and now a Grants Manager.

What started out to be a job just to do something else became a career. I take pride in the work I do because it contributes to many things in this world.

Freedom J.

Grant Specialist I

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

I started Research Administration just over one year ago. I did not have any RA experience and came from a long list of jobs, varying from blackjack dealer to call center manager and everything in between. A family member is in the field and when she told me about the work she does, I was so interested that I just had to see for myself! At our university, we have a great onboarding system. I received excellent training and support from my institution and from my team and I am thriving! I couldn’t be happier in my new career. The work we do is so important for the future, and I am very proud to be a research administrator!

Colleen C.

Senior Grants Specialist

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

I started in research administration, because I wanted something that was different, and where I could constantly learn. I thrive in an environment where I am constantly learning, and doing something meaningful. And research administration was the perfect fit.

Chelsea D.

Research Administrator

Became an RA: 2020 - Recent

I started in research administration after completing my MA in Rhetoric and Composition and decided not to pursue my PhD due to the bleak teaching prospects in academia. After a stint in Social Services working directly with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I found my way to Washington University in St. Louis due to is illustrious reputation and into research administration. I took to the field like a fish takes to water and went from a beginning grant specialist to a research administrator that runs my own department within two years. Even though it is not the path I saw myself on when I was in grad school, I know this is the best career path for me. I love research administration and am looking forward to many more decades in this field.