Research/Advisory Service

The Outstanding Classified 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 recipient of the 2008 Outstanding Classified Employee in Research and Advisory Service is Lee Larkin.

Lee Larkin (R) with partner John Olney.This award is a fitting acknowledgement of Lee’s 34 years of exceptional service to VIMS and to students and educators nationwide. Lee helped build the public education program at VIMS from a popular field trip site for Virginia students and teachers to a diverse program with major national impacts. She established the Virginia Governor’s School Marine Science Mentorships, developed the original Blue Crab Bowl partnership with ODU, and in the mid 1990s visualized a day when something called “the Internet” would make ocean science data immediately available to students and teachers. This vision culminated in the “Bridge,” an award-winning online ocean education resource used by millions. Lee’s work has been recognized with more than a dozen state, regional, and national awards for leadership and achievement. Her record of extramural funding, in excess of $5 million, is to be envied by the most successful scientists at VIMS.

A colleague of Lee’s wrote: “Long before Lee became known nationally, her knowledge, instructional expertise, and love of the sea was a model for impressionable young students. In the 1970s I brought my eighth graders from Roanoke, Virginia to VIMS. For many of these students, it was their first trip to the coast, and for all of them, their first time aboard a research vessel. The fantastic experience combined with Lee’s excellent instruction shaped many of my own oceanography lessons, and gave the students a memorable first-hand introduction to marine life.”

Last year when Virginia Sea Grant’s headquarters was moved to VIMS, Lee became VA Sea Grant’s Assistant Director. This was a time of great transition, but Lee was up to the challenge. With tremendous initiative she administered the Virginia Sea Grant research RFP, the VA-MD regional research RFP, three graduate fellowship announcements, and the VA Sea Grant omnibus proposal. Her institutional and historical knowledge of Sea Grant and VIMS has been a valuable resource to our new Sea Grant director.

Lee has spent her career integrating VIMS’ mission of research, education and advisory service into the delivery of marine education. She has been a visionary leader, unfailing contributor and tireless worker. Most importantly, she is a beloved member of the VIMS Advisory Program family, who are so fortunate to have shared so many workdays with Lee.

Congratulations, Lee!