Cassandra Myers

Cassandra Myers is the director of the Office of Human Research Ethics within the UNC Research division. She oversees the protection of human subjects in research and helps researchers achieve study goals by ensuring they meet compliance and regulatory needs.

Cassandra Myersphoto by Megan May
November 5th, 2019

Q: When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A: It depended on the day of the week, but sometimes I wanted to be a doctor, other days a teacher, and sometimes even an artist.

Q: Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose your field of study.

A: I originally wanted to be involved in direct patient care, either pediatrics or cardiology, and went to Mayo Clinic for both education and employment. But life had a different plan for me. I found the Institutional Review Board (IRB) — or the IRB found me at Mayo and I enjoyed the work and the way it challenged me on a daily basis. If there are no challenges then I grow bored, and that’s what keeps calling me back to this work. Like many of us in this profession, we may leave or need a break, but as I have seen over and over, if this work was meant for you it will pull you back every time.

Cassandra Myers with her husband and three children

The Myers family enjoys their first time at the North Carolina State Fair in October 2018.

Q: Tell us about a time you encountered a tricky problem. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?

A: One of the trickiest problems I ever had was working through a merger of two organizations because it was the first time I was in a management position that required a high level of not only adaptive change but strategic thinking. It required me to be outside my comfort zone and control for many months. Although it was a very frustrating time, it taught me how to facilitate change management and made me a better leader because it helped me realize how to survive in that environment and how to be an advocate for my staff.

Q: Describe your research in 5 words.

A: “Protecting human participants in research.”

Q: What are your passions outside of research?

A: My family. I have three kids and a husband who supported this wonderful crazy move across the country. I have learned more from them than they have learned from me. I joke that my other skill is hostage negotiation — like any other parent who has kids greater than the age of 5. I also love home improvement projects such as painting and decorating, where I can take a step back and see my results. Sometimes that can be difficult in an administrator role.

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