The Laboratory Employee Professional Development Network announces that four individuals have been awarded the 2010 Virginia Tech Staff Award for Outstanding Performance in Laboratories.

The award recognized contributions to the university's research mission by Barbara Dryman of Blacksburg, laboratory specialist in the Molecular Virology Research Laboratory in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine; Morgan Hubble of Christiansburg, laboratory and research specialist in the Cognition, Affect and Psychophysiology Laboratory in the College of Science's Department of Psychology; Carolyn Sink of Blacksburg, supervisor of diagnostic services in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital; and Hubert Walker Jr. of Blacksburg, an analytical chemist in crop and soil environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The award is co-sponsored by Virginia Tech Human Resources, University Organizational and Professional Development, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The objective of this award is to recognize individuals or teams for performance supporting research and teaching labs in a non-administrative position.

Dryman has been coordinating the activities of Molecular Virology Professor X.J. Meng’s research laboratory for more than three years. She was recommended for this award on the basis of her exceptional ability to orchestrate and organize, her outstanding laboratory skills and teaching abilities, and for the way she applies her interpersonal skills to benefit all who work with her. 

Dryman carries out molecular virology laboratory procedures and is instrumental in the development of new protocols and assays. Her expertise in lab animal handling and sample collection procedures is highly utilized and valued, especially in the training of graduate students and post-graduates according to animal care standards. She has contributed significantly to a number of research publications and has been a leader in helping the Integrated Life Sciences Building become a thriving multidisciplinary research center.

Hubble has been coordinating the activities of the Cognition, Affect and Psychophysiology Laboratory since March of 2009. She was selected for this award on the basis of her excellent problem-solving and organizational skills, her flexibility and adaptability, her knowledge and talent for data collection in the area of developmental psychology, and her exceptional ability to work well with colleagues, students, and young research subjects and their families. 

She is said to “run a tight ship,” and is the “go-to” person in the lab for graduate students and undergraduate research assistants. She successfully balances her grant-related responsibilities with the administrative duties required to manage a lab that has more than a dozen researchers. Hubble organizes the lab calendar for four simultaneous research projects focused on children and parents; handles data coding, storage, and dataset creation; and has served as lead experimenter and co-experimenter on several federally funded studies. In March 2010, she presented a poster at a professional conference on data she collected and analyzed. She has enhanced the scientific productivity of her laboratory.

Sink has been supervisor of diagnostic services in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital since 2007. She coordinates both the technical and administrative functions nine clinical laboratories: clinical pathology, histopathology, necropsy, immunology, microbiology, parasitology, blood bank, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory central receiving. She is an organized, upbeat, and caring supervisor who is calm under fire and leads by example. Her duties include laboratory quality control and quality assurance, new test development and implementation, and coordinating with researchers who use diagnostic services. Sink insures that professionalism is maintained among all laboratory staff. She sets high expectations and helps all to achieve them.

Sink’s duties also include supervising and training all student employees who provide round-the-clock coverage for the clinical pathology laboratory. She obtained a Master of Science degree in veterinary medical science in 2002 while working full time, teaches community college students as an adjunct faculty member, and co-authored a professional text in the field of veterinary laboratory diagnostics. She approaches her responsibilities with enthusiasm, patience, skill, and finesse.

Walker, who has been employed in the crop and soil environmental sciences department since 1985, was selected on the basis of his exceptional technical and teaching skills, and his multifaceted support of faculty members' efforts to offer courses of the highest quality. He oversees many of the analytical instruments and manages teaching laboratories for three graduate courses. Walker has demonstrated excellent oversight and leadership of health and safety issues, and coordinates with other laboratories as the departmental Chemical Hygiene and Safety Officer. He is a highly valued team player, particularly his technical and instructional expertise helped fill a void left by the death of a department faculty member in 2009. 

Walker has co-authored journal publications, abstracts, and the Soil Fertility Laboratory Manual. He assists graduate students with advanced analytical techniques, laboratory exercises, and safety awareness. He has been staff representative in departmental faculty meetings, the college faculty association, and in the university staff association. Walker is a dedicated professional, acknowledged by all as an invaluable part of the soils teaching program.

More than 600 laboratory employee's at Virginia Tech perform experiments and collect data for research projects in different kinds of laboratories as well as greenhouses, farm areas, and clinical areas, developing methods, instructing students, and writing reports for scientific publications.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.


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