David Woody, a member of the professional staff and assistant director of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), has been awarded the 2011 Thomas W. Schmitt Annual Staff Prize. The prize recognizes a staff member of the Caltech community whose contributions embody the values and spirit that enable the Institute to achieve excellence in research and education.
In the spring of 1966, Mary Webster took a job as a clerk-stenographer at JPL. She didn't plan to work there very long, however. "I was basically uncertain about my career path and needed a job that would pay the bills while I decided what I 'really' wanted to do," she says. "Here I am, 45 years later, still working at Caltech and loving it!"
When Dana Roth took a summer job in 1952, bagging corn tassels for Ernest G. Anderson—a professor of genetics at Caltech who studied cytogenetics in corn—he never imagined that Caltech would be the place where he would build his career. But thirteen years and three degrees later, including a master's in chemistry from Caltech, he was hired as a chemistry librarian at the institute. That was in 1965.
The summer of 1965 was one of dramatic firsts—Medicaid and Medicare were established, the Beatles played the first stadium concert in rock history, and U.S. astronaut Edward Higgins White made his maiden space walk. It was also the summer that Richard "Booth" Hartley began his Caltech career at the Jet Propulsion Lab. Seems fitting for a man described by his colleagues as a "legend."
For Bill Lease, stockroom supervisor in the Division of Biology, the road to Caltech was a long one. Born in Indonesia, he came to the United States at the age of 20. With $350 in his pocket, Lease traveled from New York to California, seeking out the palm trees of his youth. Five years after setting up a new life in Pasadena, he began working here. In June, Lease—along with three other members of the Caltech community—will be honored for 45 years of service at the Staff Service Awards.
Kristi Newton has joined Caltech as the Institute's new assistant vice president of development, effective January 18. Newton will manage all aspects of current gift fundraising, acting as "a development manager, strategist, and innovator," says Peter Hero, vice president for development and institute relations, to whom Newton will report.
Caltech's commuter- and environmentally friendly programs haven't gone without notice. Indeed, the university recently was singled out for a corporate Blue Diamond Award by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
At this year's Staff Service Award Ceremony, Caltech honored over 200 staff members with service ranging from 10 to 40 years. The Thomas W. Schmitt Annual Staff Prize was awarded to three staff members this year—Nils Asplund , Dlorah Gonzales, and Mike Walsh. The award recognizes staff members "whose contributions embody the values and spirit that enable the Institute to achieve excellence in research and education."
Caltech is internationally renowned for its achievements in science and engineering. But its scientists and engineers will be the first to tell you they could not accomplish what they do without the support of Caltech's savvy, resourceful, multitalented staff. As the Institute prepares to recognize its employees in its June 3 Service Awards ceremony, five of this year's honorees offer their unique perspectives on the Caltech experience.