The Outstanding Employee awards are chosen by nominations received by the Awards Committee from all faculty, staff, and students at VIMS. They are awarded in the categories of Facilities/Safety/Trades, Research and Advisory Service, Technical Support, and Administrative Support.
The winner of the 2013 Outstanding Employee for Technical Support is Melissa Southworth.
Missy Southworth came to VIMS as a Master’s candidate in 1994, completed her degree in 1998, and has been a full-time employee ever since.
During her 20-year tenure at VIMS, Missy has matured into a professional with myriad skills. Her primary passion is field biology. She supervises a complex suite of shellfish-monitoring programs, including the annual oyster stock-assessment survey that visits approximately 1,600 sites in 174 distinct reef systems covering 8,900 acres in Virginia’s portion of Chesapeake Bay. Missy is responsible for recruiting crewmembers, coordinating among agencies, collecting and managing data, and developing summaries for web display. Data are routinely used by VMRC and are central to the effort that has increased oyster production in the Commonwealth by 12 fold in the past decade.
Missy has published 12 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 3 as lead author, and has more in preparation. She has run successful programs in collaboration with other VIMS labs, commercial oyster hatcheries, oyster growers—from one-man operations to the largest shellfish enterprises in Virginia—offshore fishing vessels, state agencies, researchers in Maryland, and more. Missy is respected among her peers, an excellent ambassador for VIMS, and a worthy recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Employee Award for Technical Support.