The Secret Life of a Research Administrator | Paper Pusher by Day…Glass Artist by Night
“The Secret Life of a Research Administrator” column is meant to facilitate more personal connections between SRAI members through the Catalyst newsletter. If you would like to share with the community or know of someone who will, please submit your article here.
Greetings to all my colleagues and I hope you are all surviving in this age of COVID and working remotely. Personally, I am LOVIN’ working from home—it allows me to more freely alternate between my “RA Self” and my “Artist Self” and to devote the necessary and desired attention to both parts of what makes me “me!”
I began my career in Research Administration in 1993 as a “one-woman show” at a small PUI and worked at a major research institution and a university-affiliated children’s hospital before arriving at my present and final career position as Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at Miami University in Oxford, OH where I plan to remain until I retire. I absolutely LOVE what I do—I don’t think there is another job in the world that is as varied and exciting as being a research administrator.
As we all know, few if any of us grow up with the goal of wanting to become a research administrator. In college, I was constantly torn between my right brain—which is very detail-oriented and loved math—and my left brain—which is very artistic and loves color and design and working with my hands. I began as a math major, but into my 2nd semester when numbers disappeared and were replaced by letters (i.e. theoretical math)…I realized math was not for me so I switched to biochemistry. Although I had been involved in various art media since middle school and absolutely loved art, I was conditioned to believe that one cannot really have a career and make a living in art, so I had to pick something more practical. However, in order to keep my sanity as I trudged my way through science and laboratory classes, I kept taking art classes…and by the time I was a junior realized I had amassed enough hours to graduate with a double major…thus satisfying both my right and left-brain selves.
Fast forward to adult life as a research administrator—still with the need to be involved in creative pursuits—I started taking various art classes, one of which was stained glass…and thus began my journey into glass art. After working in stained glass for many years, I took a class in lampworking (the art of making glass beads using a torch combining oxygen and propane) and was instantly hooked. Shortly thereafter I took another class in fused glass and loved that as well since it offered a different platform for playing with color and creating patterns in functional glass pieces. But what was I to do with all the pieces I was creating? I was very rapidly running out of storage space. The answer of course was to distribute my work to others, and so I launched Anne’s Dreams in Glass and started to sell my creations at local art shows. My very talented husband Alan—who many of you may know as our SRAI meeting photographer and being a man of many talents—developed a website for my business (www.AnnesDreamsinGlass.com) where I can also sell my work.
As many of you probably know, I began donating my glass pieces to the Silent Auction at our annual Section Meeting and something amazing resulted—the merging of my “RA Self” and my “Artist Self.” Over the years, my SRAI family has become the greatest supporter of my art. Many of you have reached out for gifts for the special people in your life at holiday time or for special occasions. I recently was invited to participate in my first Facebook art sale, and most of my sales came from my fellow research administrators. This has become the greatest joy for me—the opportunity to share my artistic side with my RA colleagues, and especially for all the love and support you have shown.
Authored by Anne P. Schauer, M.A., CRA, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs