Introducing the 2011 AER Blog Squad: Dawnett Watkins

Welcome to a special installment of our featured member interview series in which we introduce you to our 2011 AER Conference Blog Squad members. Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and why they’re excited about blogging for PRIM&R!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawnett Watkins, IRB coordinator at the University of Tulsa, OK.

When and why did you join the field?

I was hired to work as an accountant in the research department at the University of Tulsa in September 2001. I noticed that my boss was trying to wear several different hats, and heard her complain that the university IRB was not in the shape it should be in, and that it did not have a good system for tracking protocols. The work of the IRB sounded much more interesting than what I was doing, so I took it upon myself to develop a database for tracking research protocols. While developing the database, I learned a lot about the IRB, and my institution recognized the need for a full-time IRB coordinator. Fortunately, I was the natural choice for this newly created position; I guess you could say I worked my way in!

What is your favorite part of your job?

There is always a new and exciting challenge. And I love the interaction with students and faculty.

What are you reading?

I’ve always got a stack of books by my bed. The last book I read was Night by Elie Wiesel. I’m also currently in year two of my quest to read the Bible from front to back.

Why did you join PRIM&R?

I joined originally to get the discount on the conferences. My favorite membership benefit is the monthly Newsletter, which helps to keep me current on the issues.

If you were planning our next conference, who would you select as a keynote speaker?

Dr. Elana Newman. Her trauma research is quite interesting, as is her work with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

What advice do you have for young professionals interested in pursuing a career in ethical research?

The pay may not be great, but feeling like you are doing something to help mankind is very rewarding.

What are you most excited to blog about at the 2011 AER Conference?

I hope to blog about social, behavioral and educational research (SBER), and to bring a fresh outlook to this area.