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 2010 Outstanding Employee for Technical Support is Ms. Rita Crockett.
'There is no one more central to VIMS research and advisory efforts in molluscan disease than Rita Crockett. For nearly 15 years, Rita has shepherded tens of thousands of diagnostic samples through the Shellfish Pathology Laboratory, being personally involved in the processing of nearly every one of them. The exquisite quality of the slides and resulting images produced by the lab are routinely recognized at national and international meetings, and these are entirely a reflection of the attention to detail and quality that Rita herself has, and expects of those working with her.
Rita is also a disease diagnostician extraordinaire, with expertise placing her in a peer group that otherwise is restricted to senior PhD-levels scientists in the field. She has an eye for the unusual, and her discoveries have transformed the way we view and manage disease in shellfish populations. Her observations regularly reveal promising new avenues for research, underscoring her role as an essential partner in the scientific process. All of this makes her an exemplary model for the critical roles played by support staff at VIMS. She is most deserving of this recognition.