Weill Cornell Medicine

Adriel V.

Assistant Director, Research Administrator

Became an RA: The 2000's

After completing my PhD, I realized that I didn’t want to be in the laboratory, work in a pharmaceutical company, or work as a science advisor for a law firm. These three options seemed to be the only ones available to me in 2008. Back then there wasn’t much career advice provided to science PhDs for careers outside of science. I packed up my things, moved back to New York City, where I had spent many years, and did the rounds of temp agencies trying to find something where I could fit in and belong. In the summer of 2008, I worked as an assistant in a professional liability insurance company. The weekend that assignment ended, the grants office at Weill Cornell had an opening pop up. That following Monday my agency invited me to interview for the temporary position of Grants & Contracts Assistant which had the possibility of becoming a permanent job. While I had some knowledge of grants and grant offices, I didn’t really know much about the day-to-day work they did. I remember my interview being held by three women who would become not only colleagues but mentors not only professionally but personally. I also remember thinking, “Wow, this is a really cool job.” Up to that point, my only exposure had been helping my mentors with their own proposals. My first month was an epiphany into how complex this field was, the breadth of tasks, the value the grants office played, and the importance of research administrators as a career. After a month of being a temporary employee, I was offered a permanent position and I’ve never looked back. I’ve worked at Weill Cornell ever since and have shared with many how wonderful, rewarding, and satisfying this career has been.