Please tell us about your background (professional/volunteer/education):
In 2008, I received my BSc from the University of Alberta, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. I spent some time with a temp agency, trying different things to see what clicked, until I found a permanent position as an Admin Assistant for clinician researchers at the UofA Hospital. The clinical work was rewarding, but it was the research administrative work that made me excited to come to work in the morning. Some years and personal changes later, I ended up at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. I started as a Research Admin Assistant, and transitioned to the role of Administrative Coordinator for the hospital's Research Ethics Office.
A few more life events, and I'm now back at the University of Alberta, as the Research Administrator for the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Why do you think ongoing professional development is important?
Professional development is, on the surface, an effective way for a person to learn about their chosen field and profession. This knowledge is valuable, but the worth of PD goes even further. It is an exercise in forward thinking that helps a person focus on where they want to be some years in the future, and what they can do to get there.
It also often puts people into contact with others who have an interest in their field of work, both instructors and other learners.
Why do you think CARA's webinar program is important?
After graduating University with a science degree, there were few options presented to those of us who were uninterested in graduate studies or bench work. Eventually, through trial and error, I figured out what I wanted to do, but there was nowhere to learn about it except on the job. CARA's webinars offer the knowledge required to be an effective Research Administrator, in a format that allows learners to access this knowledge at their own pace.
Even for those who are unsure if they are interested in the field of Research Administration, dedicating an hour or two to some of these webinars can help them decide if it might be right for them.