In normal times, we’re helping approximately 20 labs manage their funding – and often there’s many sources of funding per lab with unique compliance requirements. It’s our team’s job to be good stewards of the funding. I also work closely with our Director of Finance and Operations to help manage the Bioengineering departmental budget to sufficiently plan for both current and future work.
The pandemic, of course, was a whole new challenge for our team.
On the one hand, many departments were forced to slow their research efforts because they didn’t have access to their labs. In Bioengineering, however, many faculty members ramped up to conduct COVID-19 research. This meant that lots of funding was coming in from both the university and various sponsors. As a result, there was an urgent need to establish vendors in our systems, run compliance reports, etc., in order to enable our faculty to get to work. We worked closely with our faculty and administrative team to ensure the success of this important work.
My team and I had to step up immediately to set it all up remotely. It could have been chaotic, but I wasn’t worried because I’ve invested a lot of training in our team. Each individual is a confident owner of their respective portfolio and we never let each other swim alone in the deep end. Our team mentality is making sure we can help cover each other and that we have a supportive environment. That didn’t change during the challenges of the pandemic. My team has been an incredible resource and foundation to the success of our faculty and department; I am blessed to work with such amazing colleagues.
We did our best to preserve continuity for faculty and lab workers, ensuring they felt supported in the important work they were doing while still following Stanford regulations and protocols. It was challenging – there were constant changes to financial policies, Stanford and sponsored COVID-19 policies, etc. We had to work hard to stay on top of those updates.
It was incredibly fulfilling to get to be a small part of enabling some of the impactful research that was done to address new challenges brought on by the pandemic.