The Outstanding Staff 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, Technical Support, and Administrative Support.
The winner of the 2022 Outstanding Employee for Technical Support is Michele Cochran.
Michele has worked at VIMS for 21 years and is truly the engine that keeps several laboratories running. She is an expert in all aspects of complex instrumentation, including operation, troubleshooting, and training students on safe and appropriate usage. She is incredibly patient and an effective teacher.
Michele has had responsibility for maintaining, operating, and repairing stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry for multiple users at VIMS in addition to many other pieces of specialized equipment. She has recently become the go-to person to operate new instrumentation in Dr. Rob Hale’s lab to support microplastic research at VIMS.
She has also provided extra effort to support VIMS graduate students, visiting scientists, and students from other universities. Michele’s contributions have been particularly important on an NSF-funded Lower York River Estuary project in which Michele’s Carbon and Nitrogen sample processing provided criticall data for the research team and supported Ph.D. student's dissertation.
Michele is not just a technician, she is also a leader, teacher, and incredible scientist. Because of this, Michele is more than deserving of this award that recognizes outstanding performance.