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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Franklin Retires from CSR

Sandi Franklin

Sandi Franklin

When Sandi Franklin first joined the Center for Scientific Review (then Division of Research Grants) as a messenger in 1988, paper-based communication ruled. The amount of paper-based mail, including grant applications and intra-NIH correspondence, was voluminous.

By the time she retired in May, paper-based delivery made up a smaller part of her responsibilities, but communications remained as important as ever. In different ways, she still facilitated communication between people—such as emailing the management company of Rockledge II to report maintenance issues and ensuring colleagues received their mail and packages correctly, sometimes trouble-shooting during office moves and renovations.

Filing grant applications also used to occupy a large part of her time. “It was drudgery filing all the grants,” Franklin recalled at a CSR party in her honor. “They used to say that—one day—the applications would all come in online. I really thought it would not be in my working career.” In fact, CSR started receiving applications online in 2004 and accepted its last paper application in 2014.

Throughout her career, Franklin listened to audiobooks when she delivered mail—389 in total, both fiction and nonfiction. Among the most memorable, she said, were essays by physician Oliver Sacks and Rabbi Harold Kushner and novels by Stephen King.

Franklin was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Silver Spring. She worked for a year at NOAA and for 5 years in the private sector before coming to NIH. “Every day, I would hear about sicknesses, and I felt so proud to be part of an organization that is working to heal people,” she said.

Marilyn Cuzzolina, acting deputy chief of CSR’s Division of Management Services, worked with Franklin for the past three decades and they often rode the shuttle to the NIH campus together. “Sandi was congenial, and was always asking great questions that no one else thought of,” Cuzzolina said, remembering some of her on-point concerns during office renovations.

Franklin also delivers her own messages to the larger world. In addition to reading and listening to books, she enjoys sharing her own expertise and opinions. She wrote a publication with advice on losing weight, based on her own experience losing (and keeping off) a significant amount of weight. A self-described penny-pincher, she also shares tips about saving money. She submits letters to the editor and other pieces to many publications and has had the satisfaction of seeing her name in print numerous times.

Franklin and her husband live in Rockville, with his retirement scheduled for later in 2018. They hope to travel, especially on short trips to s maller towns in the region. She admitted to still getting adjusted to retirement as a new way of life. But just as she adapted in her role as an NIH messenger as technology changed, she expects to embrace this new chapter in life.

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