Skip to main content

Staff Q&A: Crista Brawley, PhD, Office for Research

Crista Brawley, PhD

Crista Brawley, PhD, associate vice president of the Office for Research, is leading the charge on staffing up a busy university office to keep up with the growth in overall awards.

Read a Q&A with Brawley below. 

Where is your hometown?

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is my hometown. A funny thing here is that when this is an ice breaker question at an event, I always say no one will know where this is, and it is a small town in Pennsylvania. Every time I reveal my hometown someone knows Bethlehem, and I have connected with so many people around my hometown. It is a little wild!

What led you to Northwestern?  

I decided to apply to my current role from a LinkedIn posting after a particularly rough day. As soon as I started researching the role and the office, I got excited! I got that excited feeling like an elementary school student gets anticipating going on summer break. It starts kind of slowly and builds to something almost uncontainable by June.

What are you currently working on? 

Currently, I am working with my teams in the IRB and IACUC offices to address an understaffing situation. We are re-imagining the roles and creating job families in the regulatory operations buckets to better align the units for the Office for Research. We are also working hard to bring in new talent to the teams to provide relief to our current staff who have been cranking for the past two years to keep the operations moving forward. We need to add additional staff to keep up with the tremendous growth we have experienced in research submissions in both units. But we also need to allow our leadership in the units the ability and space to think strategically, and process improve for their unit. Becoming more efficient and effective is a goal we are striving for together. We use the hashtag (#BestPlaceto Work). We are actively creating a diverse and inclusive environment where all voices are represented to make us a better team. 

How does your work support the research enterprise at Feinberg?  

Our work is imperative to the research enterprise at Feinberg. We work hand in hand with Feinberg leadership, researchers and staff to uphold the regulations first and foremost, but also promote the scientific discovery that is pivotal to all of NU.

Why do you enjoy working at Northwestern?

Working at Northwestern University for the Office for Research has been a breath of fresh air for me. I am surrounded by smart, thoughtful individuals that want to be part of the solution to greatness. I feel very lucky to have secured a role where I am valued and I have a safe space to function within. I see so much potential at Northwestern, and I hope I can harness that potential to turn it into amazing opportunities for research and the University as a whole. Respectful collaboration is one of the keys to success. And I am lucky enough to live in that every working day now!