Student Spotlight

Edward Mathenge - Research Associate, IWK Health


What is your current position/title?

I currently working part-time as a Research Administration, Research Associate with the Research Service Office at IWK Health in Halifax Nova Scotia.


Why did you initially join CARA?

I first joined CARA in order to be eligible for the Certificate in Research Administration offered at Mohawk College. However, the benefits of membership quickly became very clear, with access to career development seminars as well as books and blogs written by industry leaders and professionals all with a clear sense of the information that is most relevant for others interested in broadening their knowledge in the field. The generous professional rate offered to CARA members on Automobile and Home insurance, was also a pleasant and welcome surprise.


Why did you pursue the Research Administration Certificate?

Having spent the better part of 3 decades working and studying as a Research Scientist in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America, I decided that I would like to explore life away from the bench in a way that allowed me to continue to contribute to the important and often life changing work being pursued through research. The CARA-sanctioned Certificate in Research Administration offered me the opportunity to pivot into a new role where I could leverage my previous experience in a meaningful way and hopefully offer a perspective tempered by personal experience (at least that was the plan going in).


How did you set yourself up to succeed in achieving the Research Administration Certificate?

Personally, I have found with the Research Administration Certificate that in order to successfully derive maximum value from the program it was important not to bite off more than I could chew. By that I mean, only sign up for the number of courses that you can give your full attention, I found 1 or 2 adequately challenging especially if you have to juggle competing work commitments (which always seemed to surge just when a big assignment was due). It is also important to be willing to follow the course material wherever it leads, researching the assigned coursework and associated content as thoroughly as possible. Then, returning to the class discussion chat groups to compare notes or discuss what your particular journey had uncovered.  I found that these chat interactions between fellow students in each course module provided access to a rich kaleidoscope of different viewpoints and professional experiences each forged in different research administration environments. Requiring that all students participate allowed the class groups to gain a measure of understanding of the variety that exists in the field of Research Administration that would not be possible through coursework alone. I sincerely believe that the intra-class discussion requirement is one of the programs most valuable pillars.


How do you stay connected to fellow CARA members?

I hope to continue to interact with fellow CARA members through LinkedIn, Twitter and the newly introduced SLACK Channels. Also, hopefully one day soon at the Annual CARA conference (perhaps once "Covid-19" is finally done with us, OR when an effective vaccine is developed).


Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?

In the coming 5 years and onward I hope to keep learning how to better support the excellent research being done in Canada and further afield.