How long have you been at LIDS, and what do you do here?
I've been at LIDS for a little over half a year (since 2014). I'm mainly an administrative assistant to Professor Munther Dahleh. I arrange his travel, manage his calendar, and deal with expense reports and the various committees in which he participates. I also handle travel and expense reimbursements for his research students.
Previously, I was a high-stakes testing coordinator in Toronto. I was in charge of all things exam delivery such as finding testing locations across Canada, creating exam forms, preparing proctor guides, proctor training, and quality assurance for the exams — for different organizations like the Financial Planning Standards Council or the National Dental Hygienist Board. I also proctored in test centers. I lived in Canada for three years before moving to Boston last year.
And before that, I worked as a front desk agent in Romania, where I'm from originally.
Wow, it sounds like you've lived and traveled all over the world.
My first time living in the US was in 2007. I took a year off from university to be in an au pair program in Virginia. The family I lived with was amazing. They made me feel very comfortable and helped me adjust to all sorts of things — the time difference, the language, the food — everything was different. That's when I fell in love with North America and knew that I wanted to live here eventually. I was their first au pair so it was an adjustment for them, too! I'm still in touch with them today.
I studied tourism geography at university, and I love to travel. My mom jokes that I have a gypsy heart and have to move around; I can't stay in one place.
How do you like working at LIDS?
It's different from what I used to do, but I enjoy it. I think it's the people — it's a good environment and they make me feel at home. I've never worked in higher education before, so there were a lot of things for me to learn. For instance, MIT has specific rules around travel and reimbursements. And different accounts have different rules.
Outside of LIDS, what do you do for fun?
I've traveled within Europe, in Canada, and now we're traveling around the US. Last year we went to the Bahamas on a belated honeymoon, and this weekend, we're visiting friends in Wisconsin and driving down to Chicago. Someday I'd love to go to India to visit the Taj Mahal; I'd also like to visit Finland and Norway, and maybe take a cruise to Alaska.
I'm also an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction — there's just something about letting your imagination run wild.
What are your future plans or dreams?
My dream would be to travel for the rest of my life! But for now, I'm focused on getting to know the city and the surrounding area, getting to know MIT and all that it has to offer. That's my main goal for now. Eventually, I'd like to go back to school and study project management, but that will be in the next two to three years.