If anyone personifies the title of director of special projects, it’s Lorrie Minkel. On the Research and Graduate Studiesmanagement team, “Lorrie is our utility player, doing short-term projects of all kinds,” says RGS assistant vice chancellor Mark Warner.
A social ecology alumna, Minkel began working at UCI in 1984, eventually establishing the University Laboratory Animal Resources unit. Then, as the fertility clinic issues unfolded in the mid-1990s, she staffed the campuswide task force to revamp the way human subjects research is conducted at UCI.
When pharmacology professor Frances Leslie received a $9.3 million grant for the largest-ever study of tobacco addiction, “Lorrie stepped up to the plate again, setting up the administration of our research center,” says Leslie. “We’re lucky to have a staff member who’s so comfortable with challenges and willing to develop something new.”
Minkel proved that again serving a year as interim RGS assistant vice chancellor, and now financial manager of Cal-(IT)2, which involves staffing and coordinating start-up of the UCI division office.
“We’ll continue to find projects for Lorrie,” says Warner. “She has creative ideas and learns fast. And she’s willing to go into unknown areas to get the work done,” as she’s doing with another of her short-term projects—transferring the major research program of world-class geneticist Doug Wallace from Emory University to UCI.
“It’s rewarding to know you’re doing something that has an impact on the campus,” says Minkel, referring to more than her job duties. For several years she’s been active in Staff Assemblyas treasurer, chair of the workplace issues committee and as incoming chair.
“At UCI there’s always an opportunity to create a win/win situation. I can look for the opportunities for myself while helping a campus unit,” adds Minkel. “What really keeps me here are so many good people, with good hearts.”