Alicea Bursey loved her job as a Marine Mammal Observer (MMO). She would spend five consecutive weeks at a time onboard a ship and travel to all parts of the globe. “For me, this was a perfect position, as I have longed believed that the cures to some of humanity’s most devastating diseases lie beneath the surface of the ocean,” Alicea says. “Working offshore allowed me to build upon those skills I learned in college, network with other scientists, and brought me closer to my ultimate goal of working in cancer research.” You might wonder why she would voluntarily leave this job she loved so dearly, and the answer is quite simple. Leddy Group provided her with an opportunity she had been looking for—combining her passion for the ocean with her desire to work in cancer research.
The offshore schedule was such that Alicea worked for five weeks straight and then had five weeks off. That meant no going home at night and no weekends off during her five weeks on duty. Instead of using her time off to relax or catch up with friends and family, she chose to fill her time with administrative assignments provided by Leddy Group. She would answer phones, learn accounting, work with HIPAA information, and continue to expand her skillset. Additionally, she enjoyed learning about opportunities around her, especially those at Dartmouth, a prestigious institution actively conducting cancer research.
It just so happened that, in 2009, she was assigned a temporary position at Dartmouth College as an administrative assistant working with five professors, one of whom was actively involved in cancer research. The position morphed from just a few weeks to a few months, prompting Alicea to take a leave of absence from her MMO role, and later that year, the college opened the position up to outside applicants. Alicia naturally applied; after all, she was already experienced in the role, she was able to apply literature search techniques that she had learned offshore and in college to the job, and she was genuinely interested in the research going on around her and vested in the success of those she could support.
No surprise, then, that Alicea was hired. She worked for the next three years as an administrative assistant, during which time she was promoted and trained to manage grants. In 2013, she was offered a position as a Department Manager at Dartmouth with a different group of researchers, giving her an even closer view of cancer research. In this role, she actively supports cancer researchers who perform actual hands-on research, allowing her the ability to observe the science in real time.
When asked how what she likes most about her current position, Alicea says, “I continue to learn about cancer and research every day. My boss has been incredibly supportive in my drive to learn more about the latest in technologies and treatments, and the environment here inspires intellectual growth. It is the perfect blend of what I saw myself doing years ago. And you know what? My position is still continuing to expand.”
While she sometimes misses her MMO position, Alicea is able to use the valuable skills she learned while there in her current role at Dartmouth College. And as department manager, she sometimes has to source employees with very specific skills, and naturally turns to Leddy Group to help her fill those roles. After all, she wouldn’t be helping advance the fight against cancer without being placed at Dartmouth College by Leddy Group seven years ago.