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The Secret Life of a Research Administrator | Lyset Castillo

By SRAI News posted 11-10-2022 10:02 AM


The Secret Life of a Research Administrator | Lyset Castillo

“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. 

Imagine having to complete a thousand-piece puzzle in two days. Research administrators could describe their day-to-day and week-to-week work rhythm as having to complete complex puzzles frequently. There really is never a dull moment. So, what does one do to escape the demands of research administration? Let me tell you a little about my life outside this puzzle. 

Aside from traveling to new places, scoping out estate sales to find random treasures, and exploring different restaurants, my favorite escape is singing. I sing in normal places like the shower where our voices echo (and even sound nice). Or while doing chores around my home enjoying different rhythms, tunes, and beats. I also sing in public! I once sang at my company’s holiday party as part of a talent show. I belted Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” and let me tell you – the real survivors there were my co-workers who sat through four minutes of my singing. The performance was great, though; I put on a good show for my audience, complete with confetti at the end. The life in the spotlight suits me sometimes. And guess what? The audience clapped so loudly for me that I won the talent show and a Best Buy gift card. 

I also sing loudly at concerts because everyone else’s voices drown out my howling anyway. My first concert was Depeche Mode – an English band formed in the 80’s. I’ve seen Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas – both Latina female artists I admired in my teens. Maná a Mexican rock band sees fanatics from all over the world attend their concerts and rock out to their jams. I also enjoy Salsa dancing so a Marc Anthony concert had to be on my list. But my all-time favorite – tropical music and Bachata King – Romeo Santos tops the list. He was part of a group called Aventura – between his group and solo performances I have attended about 10 of their concerts – traveling as far as New York City for a reunion performance in 2016. 

Bob Marley has said it best, “The one good thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Research administration can sometimes be painful – but if you play some nice music in the background the week-to-week rhythm of it all may ease that pain a bit.

Authored by Lyset Castillo, Post-Award Fund Manager
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine