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The Secret Life of a Research Administrator

By SRAI News posted 08-14-2019 04:08 PM

Paul Brouillette
Authored by Paul A. Brouillette 
Grant Administrator
McLean Hospital

This month, we are launching a new column called “The Secret Life of a Research Administrator” to facilitate more personal connections between SRAI members through the Catalyst newsletter.  Since I was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea on our last committee call, I gladly agreed to go first!

In my professional life, I am a Grant Administrator at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, where I’ve worked since November 2014. Prior to McLean Hospital, I worked for a small non-profit agency that provided workforce development training for homeless mothers, so I was very familiar with government and foundation grants administration. I really enjoy my job at McLean since the work that I do supports incredibly important research in the behavioral health field, and I also feel like I learn something new on a regular basis.

When I’m not at McLean, I am a single dad with a 17-year-old son who will be a senior in high school in the fall. I was 42 years old when I adopted my son in Vietnam, and although it has been challenging at times, I always say that I love being a parent because it teaches me lessons that I needed to learn!

Being a single parent meant that I gave up a lot of “me” time over the years, but I don’t regret it for a minute because I know I will never get the time back with my son. One thing I did maintain over the years was singing in choirs both at church and in the community where I live.  As I gained confidence in singing, I was entrusted with soloist parts which afforded me the opportunity to continue to challenge myself while enjoying the camaraderie of other adults who appreciate music and singing. 

A few years ago, my church started a non-competitive storytelling event, and last year I was chosen as one of the featured storytellers. The feedback I got was overwhelmingly positive, so I set my sights on competing in a Moth Story Slam. (If you are unfamiliar with The Moth, you can learn more about it on their website.)  Last fall, I went to two Moth Story Slams to get a sense of what happens, and I told a story at another non-competitive storytelling event to get more experience.

Shortly before my last concert in April of this year, I looked at the Moth Story Slam schedule in the Boston area, and there was one scheduled for May 6 with a theme that perfectly fit the story I wanted to tell. I practiced in the car, and recorded myself at home numerous times, and I was thrilled to be picked at random on the night of the event to tell my story along with nine other storytellers. After I finished, I was in the lead by .1 above one other storyteller. I anxiously sat through the next four storytellers, but no one scored higher than I, so I won!

As a Moth Story Slam winner, my story might be included in a future Moth Podcast, and I will get to compete at a Moth Grand Slam Live Event in Boston along with nine other Story Slam winners. That probably won’t happen until early 2020, so in the meantime, I decided to do as much storytelling as I can so that when the big day arrives, I will be ready!