A day in the life of a Harvard Project Manager.
Helena has been working for some 17 years in the closely knit Longwood Medical Area of Boston, originally at one of the other famous medical institutions that shares the neighborhood with the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Harvard Medical School. But a few years after starting her career, a research project she was affiliated with moved to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) – and she with it. It is a move she has not regretted.
One of the aspects of working at Harvard that Helena enjoys is the close association between principal investigators and the rest of the staff. “It always amazes me to see that people still frequently sit down and have lunch together – the top researchers are very accessible, and everyone is on a first-name basis,” she says.
Several years ago, capitalizing on her laboratory experience, Helena herself moved into a management position at HSPH. “I no longer wanted to be at a bench all day but, of course, I still have my finger in a lot of pots,” she says. In particular, she is now a key player in research associated with a second cohort of the famous Nurses Study, a longitudinal examination of more than 100,000 women that relates health to a range of lifestyle risk factors.
Although researchers like Helena often move from one organization to another within the collegial Longwood community, she says leaving Harvard would be very difficult because of Harvard’s outstanding benefits. Over the years Helena says she has enjoyed the generous holiday and vacation time offered by the University, and when her children were younger, the Office for Work/Life Resources and Harvard’s emergency childcare services were invaluable. Moreoever, she adds, “When it comes to long-term things like retirement benefits, one is much better off with the programs offered by Harvard.”