What's your official job title and function at LIDS?
I am the Assistant Director for Administration. This means that I have primary responsibility for all financial, personnel, grants management, space planning and other administrative matters. To be more specific, some of my duties include preparation and submission of government, industrial, foundation and other organization proposals; I also advise principal investigators on all aspects of sponsored research administration, which includes preparing financial analyses and forecasting for individual research groups. Additionally, I manage personnel functions for all staff categories including the creation of job descriptions, hiring, salary reviews, visa application process, etc; and managing space, security, and facilities related issues. So as you can see, my responsibilities are wide-ranging.
What were you doing before you came here?
Before coming to LIDS, I had the opportunity to have worked at MIT's biggest academic department as well as one of its biggest labs. I was working in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS) and prior to that in the research lab, Computer Science and Artificial Laboratory (CSAIL).
How long have you been at LIDS?
I started in August of 2008, so it will be three years this summer. However, I've actually been at MIT since December 1999 when I relocated from New York City to Boston.
Do you ever get worn out? What do you like about working at LIDS?
It's actually quite exciting because there is a mixture of everything. In fact it is the unexpected that adds to the excitement. I really enjoy everything here because LIDS has such warm ambience. But first and foremost I would say the most interesting and enjoyable aspect is the people. I have the best director who creates an environment of trust and excellence that enables me to grow, an excellent staff that makes my job so much easier, and a group of extraordinary faculty and students to work with. What more can I ask for? Not too many people actually enjoy doing their jobs. So perhaps I am one of the fortunate ones -- I am doing what I like and it gives me satisfaction.
Do you have any interesting stories from your time at LIDS?
About a year after I stared working in LIDS, I came into work one morning, and the director came into my office. With a very serious tone he told me that I was no longer the administrative officer of LIDS. I thought to myself, "Did I just get fired?" I thought that I must have done something wrong, as I was still fairly new on my job. Well, unexpectedly, he told me that I had just been promoted to Assistant Director for Administration. I was really surprised by the news.
What do you do when you're not working?
I am involved in public service as a volunteer in Bible educational work. As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I devote several hours per week to assisting and teaching both older and younger individuals. It is very fulfilling to be able to help people. Yet, there is time for travel, something I also enjoy – and I've been able to visit several places: Asia, the Middle East, Europe, South America, Central America and Africa. Even locally, I like to just walk around the different areas and simply explore.