by Susan McCurry, PhD
Jannette “Cathy” Blackburn is a Fiscal Specialist in the Department of Psychosocial & Community Health at the University of Washington. She has worked at the UW off and on since 1983, and has been in her current position at the Northwest Research Group on Aging (NWRGA) since May 2000.
Cathy has a BA degree in anthropology with a focus on archaeology. After graduation, she was working in a position at temporary services at the UW and discovered her true love - fiscal management. She says, “I had always loved math but didn’t realize jobs like mine existed. I thought people who liked math had to either teach or become accountants!”
One of the things Cathy likes best about her job is that every day is interesting and different. Her work responsibilities include “everything from ordering paper clips and staplers to ensuring that the NWRGA staff are paid on time and the correct amount.” Cathy handles all budget activities for the ADRC Education Core. She also is responsible for NWRGA travel reimbursements, oversees financial transactions between the UW and outside vendors and subcontracts, and is responsible for tracking grant budgets and ensuring investigators are in compliance with state and federal fiscal regulations.
She says her favorite part of the job is when new grants are submitted. Despite the fact that grant submissions are often a very busy and pressured time, Cathy says, “I like everything about new grants – figuring out the budgeting, getting it on the correct forms, and sending it out the door.” Cathy loves learning new things and is not afraid of a challenge; “I’m probably the only person at the UW who’s really excited about the new on-line federal grant submission process.” This positive approach to her work is one of the reasons Cathy has made herself invaluable to the NWRGA research team, earning a Distinguished Staff Award from the Department of Psychosocial and Community Health in 2003.
When not working, Cathy most enjoys being a mom to daughters Nicole, age 19, and Erika, age 4. Cathy is also an avid gardener. She loves being outside in the sun tending her flowers and many varieties of berries from spring through autumn. If you ever come to visit during the growing season, chances are you’ll see a beautiful bouquet on her desk. Cathy is also an avid reader of Dimensions; “I read every issue and usually pass it on to someone I know.” We are fortunate to have Cathy as a member of our ADRC team!