Huyuni Suratt, New Director of Sponsored Research, Advises Professors and Students to Keep Trying, and Applying
Her goal for the coming year is to assist faculty, staff, and students in their efforts to secure external funding.
Huyuni Suratt, the new director of Research and Sponsored Programs, The Graduate Center’s administrative office that oversees applications for and awards of governmental and foundation funding, offers straightforward advice to researchers who are seeking grants.
“Faculty and students often don’t realize that you don’t always get funded on the first try,” she says. “Don’t be disappointed if you get rejected. Just take that as a stepping stone and keep trying.”
Her goal for the coming year is to assist faculty, staff, and students in their efforts to secure external funding, and to expand the external funding base of The Graduate Center's research mission, Suratt says. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs serves as the liaison between The Graduate Center and the Research Foundation, CUNY's fiscal agent for grants and contracts. And it’s her signature that is needed for all externally funded research proposals submitted on behalf of The Graduate Center.
Suratt entered the field by chance, she says. After graduating from Queens College with a B.A. in economics, with a minor in business, she worked for three years in real estate. She was halfway through earning a master’s degree in business management and leadership from the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) when she applied for a grants associate position at The Graduate Center. Now, at age 25, she is one of the youngest directors at CUNY.
Suratt trained under Hillary Fisher, who served as the director of sponsored research for more than four decades. “She was an amazing mentor,” Suratt says. “She imbued me with knowledge that is unbeatable.”
Among the lessons Surratt now imparts: how important it is to keep trying, even when the idea of starting the grant application process is daunting in itself. “Every funded research project starts with a proposal,” she says. “You don’t get funded unless you submit an application.”