Dawn Wolf-Taylor joined the Graduate School in August of 2022 as the program coordinator for both the Cancer Biology and the Therapeutics and Pharmacology programs. Before joining the Graduate School, Wolf-Taylor spent over 10 years crafting her academic advising expertise at the University of Houston and Eastern New Mexico University. She earned her bachelor of science in merchandising and her master of arts in museum science from Texas Tech University.
What is your current title and program, and what will you do on the day-to-day?
My day-to-day is a complete and total whirlwind; such is the life of a program coordinator working in a very dynamic environment! Each day when I arrive at work, I check email to make sure there’s nothing new that’s immediately pressing, then get started on my to-do list that is an ongoing document wherein my sanity resides. The tasks on my list are a combination of current and future event planning needs; requests from my programs of action items to keep their daily round going strong; training both through structured modules and Q&A style meetings with the various mentors who are guiding me as I learn; communication with current and prospective students and with my faculty to address their various needs and questions; budget, procurement, awards processing, and invoice payment duties; and research into areas on which I’m not yet well-versed.
Are there any special projects you know you will be working on?
I’m very excited to be working on the first overnight Retreat that the TAP Program has had since 2017. I recently started a weekly e-newsletter for both of my programs that I hope will help keep us all informed, organized, and apprised of all the opportunities available to learn and engage here at the Graduate School. To be honest, everything I do is special and new. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to be engaged at so many levels in my work.
What most excites you about working at the Graduate School?
My beloved sister was involved in clinical trials at MD Anderson in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. She succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 35 in 1991. She was so proud to be part of the solution, as she saw that involvement, during the most terrible time of her life. She hoped that her misfortune would someday help others in her situation. She had story after story of how wonderful the MD Anderson doctors and staff were to her, and I came to highly respect the institution that was trying to save her life and giving her purpose in her battle with cancer. I never saw my skill set as a match for MD Anderson, but a dear friend shared a link to a job with me that changed that perspective and landed me where I am today. I am thrilled to be working with the newest generation of faculty and students who follow those who were engaged in my sister’s clinical trials, and I do all I can in my daily duties to facilitate the processes that support their research.
Do you have a fun hobby you enjoy doing outside of work?
I very much enjoy the excellent food Houston has to offer and wine to go with that food, as well as urban hiking (I live in the heart of Downtown Houston) so that I can continue to indulge in the former without adverse effects! Those remain my passions, with the addition of this new job which is the center of my world right now as I learn and grow into my position.
What skills in your skillset do you find most valuable in your work?
I have settled in to looking at the big picture and not becoming mired down in little details. That all important to-do list and my ability to stay organized and remember details help me stay focused on the ultimate purpose of my job: to provide support to the future generation of researchers.