Director’s Unusual Career Path Led to Higher Ed

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After majoring in English in college, Monique Tavares tried on several careers before she found the one that fit just right.   

“I’ve worked in advertising sales for People magazine, taught English at an all-girls school, worked for an online newspaper in Jamaica, and done marketing and sales for an Internet startup,” said the director of research administration. “Then 10 years ago, I came to Tech, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Tavares started her tenure at Tech working in the College of Engineering writing grant proposals and eventually became the director of human resources for the college. About two years ago, she arrived in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, in a position that Tavares describes as a “catch- all.”

Recently, The Whistle sat down with Tavares to learn more about her and her time at Tech. Here’s what we learned: 

What does your job entail, and what’s an average day like? What doesn’t it entail?
Seriously, some of the tasks I am responsible for are taking care of research faculty members’ human resource needs, identifying research synergies on campus and handling budget issues. As for an average day, I might start out with a great plan, but typically something will occur that requires me to shift focus — this job keeps me on my toes.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you enjoy least, and how do you make this bearable?    
I really enjoy the relationship building side of things, but I hate having to say “no” to requests for funding. All I can do is try to explain why we’re unable to fund the project, which is generally because of our limited resources.  

What is the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without?
My laptop. It goes everywhere with me.         

What are three things that everyone should do while working at Tech? 
Find a way to interact with students by doing things like teaching GT1000, attending poster sessions or a student-run event. Appreciate the beautiful campus. Take advantage of the lectures and seminars we host. These are a great opportunity to hear about innovative research at Tech, but they are also an excellent opportunity to meet your colleagues.  

Where is the best place to grab lunch (on or off campus), and what do you order?
I love St. Charles Deli — and can’t wait for it to reopen — and I always order the chicken salad club.

What are a few nonwork-related accomplishments that you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of being able to work full time and still have a strong relationship with my husband and three children. It can be challenging when, for example, I had to make an egg and cheese soufflé and banana pudding for the kids’ teacher appreciation week gatherings the other evening, but I love it. I’m also proud of earning a master’s in professional counseling while working full time. It took four years, but I still feel like it was a major accomplishment.

Tell us something unusual about yourself.
I’ve lived in four different countries: I was born in Guyana and have also lived in Canada, Jamaica and the United States.  

If you weren’t in your current line of work, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be an elementary school teacher.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 05/13/2011
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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