From left to right, Somphos "Sam" Chin, Phil Zerofski, and Kathleen
"Caz" Margenau join UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox (center) and
Scripps Director Tony Haymet (right) at the UCSD Exemplary Staff
Employee of the Year Awards ceremony in May 2012.
Scripps Employees Honored
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, like all of UC San Diego, is committed to recruiting the best and brightest staff. Their energy and dedication is the lifeblood of the institution’s global research. Our planet's future depends on the work of visionary Scripps scientists and students, and by supporting them our dedicated staff continually invest in the future of the institution.
This year, three of the 10 UCSD Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award recipients came from Scripps Oceanography. The campus salutes the extraordinary talents of each of these individuals:
Somphos “Sam” Chin, Marine Biology Research Division
Sam Chin wears a lot of hats at Scripps as she juggles facilities and inventory, safety, finances, and human resources for the Marine Biology Research Division and for the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, two distinct research divisions with constant activity by many scientists in the laboratory and in the field around the globe. These two research departments maintain strong international ties, and Chin was awarded a UCSD “Partners in International Education” honor for her excellence in handling visa applications for more than 50 foreign scientists and guests over the past two years. Chin stands out with her uncanny ability to get things done. With Chin at the helm, Scripps department facilities are better maintained and fewer dollars are spent. With so many foreign newcomers to Scripps, Chin shines as a human “welcome wagon.”
Kathleen “Caz” Margenau, Marine Sciences: Climate, Atmospheric Science and Physical Oceanography
Caz Margenau is a special hero to the budget leaders at Scripps Oceanography. She refuses to lower personal and professional standards just because funding has become tight. Her efforts over the past year to modernize the business office for the Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography (CASPO) research division at Scripps have saved time and money and helped better manage an increasing workload, all while maintaining the highest professional standards. She’s moved CASPO, a vibrant division with world-leading scientists, into a 21st century paperless society, and created a department Wiki website that has become a dynamic tool that has streamlined office practices and efficiency. Nothing is better appreciated in today’s economic world than saving time and money, and her boundless energy was rewarded with a UCSD exemplary employee award.
Phil Zerofski, Marine Biology Research Division
Phil Zerofski takes his work out of the oceanview office and into the ocean itself. He is manager of the Scripps’ Experimental Aquarium facilities and the live collections that provide critical services that help Scripps researchers accomplish their often complicated and unique goals. His job requires a vast array of skills, including engineering, diving, small boat and shipboard operations, constant interaction with faculty and students, and a deep knowledge of local marine ecosystems. Zerofski is a true jack-of-all-trades — with an ocean twist. The most difficult part of Zerofski’s aquarium role is collecting marine animals for research, teaching, and for display at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. This is an extremely difficult task that depends on two different key talents: knowledge of taxonomy and very specialized diving techniques. He can sight identify at least 300 species of animals, some very cryptic and small, and he knows exactly where to search for each species. He knows the varied underwater techniques for capturing specimens and bringing them back alive. These collections, and his expertise, are made freely available to interested children and teachers. And that is truly at the core of what Scripps Oceanography is all about. UCSD has honored Zerofski for his tireless efforts — in and out of the ocean.
There is an expression that says: If you're lucky enough to be at the beach... then you're lucky enough! To that Scripps salutes its exemplary employees of 2012 by stating: If you are lucky enough to have employees like the three from Scripps Oceanography who have been honored this year, then Scripps is very lucky indeed.
-- Cindy Clark
May 17, 2012