Testimonials for the 2017 Infinite Mile Award Winners
William Adams, Research Laboratory of Electronics
In his eight years in the Research Laboratory of Electronics, Bill Adams has provided RLE with information technology service second to none. He is a greatly sought out asset within the lab, keeping the IT infrastructure running, handling emergency situations, and providing excellent service to everyone from students to principal investigators.
As Systems Infrastructure Administrator, he has handled thousands of service requests. RLE’s constituents love to work with Bill, who is known for his expertise, proficiency, and broad skill set. He listens carefully, tackles complex jobs eagerly, and resolves problems thoroughly and often with ingenuity. In the face of a panicked student who thinks a project is lost, Bill’s friendly, calm and competent approach is particularly appreciated. He regularly inspires notes of appreciation to RLE headquarters. Students, researchers, and faculty describe all the ways he has gone above and beyond to assist them. The circumstances vary, but the phenomenal service Bill provides never does - he makes community members’ lives and jobs easier.
Bill has taken on additional responsibilities during times of transition, ensuring that clients remain well served. He has also provided mentorship to newcomers on his own time. As one nominator wrote, Bill “adds texture to the RLE family fabric, and we’d be lost without him. Thank you Bill… you are valued and appreciated.”
Stacy DeBartolo, Office of the Arts
We are delighted to recognize Stacy DeBartolo for her many contributions to the Arts at MIT, where she has a hand in every program and project. In the Arts Office and the Center for Art, Science & Technology, Stacy has several roles, principally as Financial Coordinator, Manager of the Student Art Association, and HR officer. Despite the demands of completing the required work for these very different roles, Stacy willingly takes on new responsibilities and challenges. No matter the request, Stacy’s approach is the same: she’s enthusiastic and she consistently displays a willing spirit in the best tradition of MIT’s “can do” ethos.
Stacy’s colleagues really enjoy working with her. She fosters a productive and enjoyable environment regardless of the task at hand: completing budgets, welcoming new hires, determining and meeting students’ and instructors’ needs, addressing unusual artistic requests, or organizing office parties. She rolls up her sleeves to help people, motivates them, and cultivates a sense of community. She is known for her positive attitude, unwavering work ethic and “abundant patience and humility.” For her many achievements and countless ways that she enriches the workplace, Stacy is greatly appreciated.
Kim Haberlin, Office of the Chancellor
The Chancellor’s Office is responsible for “all things students,” and Kim Haberlin takes this mantra to heart. Tirelessly committed to the Chancellor’s priorities, Kim works closely with staff under the Chancellor’s units and partners across the Institute to consider students’ needs and how to best meet them. Her role as Senior Communications Officer is often done quietly and behind the scenes, but her nominators brought her critical contributions into the spotlight.
Kim inspires people with her dedication and calm confidence. She is known as a collaborative problem solver and, moreover, a “solution finder.” She invests time and energy to work with stakeholders, understand challenges, propose potential solutions, and build consensus. Although Kim’s prior work was in former Massachusetts Governor Patrick’s office, Kim quickly recognized how to most effectively engage with a completely different population when she joined MIT in 2015. Through direct work with student leaders and expertly crafted communications, Kim has helped senior leadership build and reinforce a vital two-way bridge of openness and trust between the administration and students. In addition, Kim has played a critical role in the successful MIT MindHandHeart program. Kim is valued as a reliable, mindful partner for communicating news in a caring manner, whether in small circles or community-wide. Lauded as a gift to the Institute, Kim is richly deserving of this award.
Josephina C. Lee, Research Laboratory of Electronics
Josephina Lee’s nomination is full of praise from faculty members she has worked with during her 25-year career at MIT. Currently Administrative Assistant II to five faculty members in three different buildings, Josephina is a prime example of a person who helps keep the Institute running in critical and often unheralded ways. For a decade, Josephina served as administrative assistant to former Research Laboratory of Electronics director Professor Jeffrey Shapiro. There she coped with a myriad of RLE matters, including serving as staff to the many committees that he chaired. Still, she was willing and able to find time to step up and help in areas ordinarily outside her normal job responsibilities. Since 2011, she has once again been supporting a variety of faculty members. And there is uniform agreement that she is exceeding their hopes and expectations.
In addition to deftly managing multiple responsibilities and personalities, Josephina consistently takes initiative and goes the extra mile. For four years, she assumed the principal administrative support role for meetings held at MIT with students and faculty from both MIT and Tohoku University in Japan. She has also ably taken on responsibilities for the reception that follows the annual memorial Hermann Anton Haus Lecture. Throughout her career at MIT, Josephina has shown herself to be a dedicated professional who, without hesitation, volunteers to meet unmet needs.
Frank Lind, Haystack Observatory
Dr. Frank Lind is an extraordinarily talented and internationally recognized Research Engineer who leads and contributes to a broad range of advanced, highly innovative projects that involve radio science techniques. Frank has worked tirelessly for years to maintain and strategically upgrade many millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure forming a large ionospheric radar facility at the Haystack Observatory. Frank’s technical knowledge, management, and leadership skills have enabled this aging facility to continue to reliably and cost-effectively serve the international space science community as a valuable observation platform for upper atmospheric research.
Frank has also been the driving force behind the successful technical implementation of several groundbreaking new instruments and approaches for geospace research. His professionalism, deep knowledge, and consummate technical mastery are complemented by an infectious and exuberant enthusiasm for his work and the scientific capabilities it unleashes. His excitement and optimism are tangible across Haystack staff, visitors, and international visitors alike, and have helped propagate innovations far and wide at Haystack, often in unexpected ways.
For several years, Haystack has had an intensive growth-oriented strategy to diversify research and funding. Frank has been a central, indispensable figure in these efforts, working at a seemingly super human pace, shouldering a heavy burden, and making personal sacrifices. Haystack has been working to rebalance the load, adding engineers to support their rapid expansion of projects and programs, and meanwhile wishes to recognize and appreciate Frank’s absolute dedication, professionalism, initiative, leadership, and service.
Mariane Melo, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
In the Irvine Lab at the Koch Institute, Dr. Mariane Melo is a Research Scientist conducting research on key projects on vaccines and vaccine models. In addition, Mariane manages the assignments among all the technicians, postdocs, and graduate students in the lab and provides oversight on the lab’s organization. Between these two critical research and lab administration roles, Mariane is an invaluable, irreplaceable asset to the entire lab.
She is the quintessential lab manager, keeping on top of the many moving parts of the lab with professionalism and poise. Her skill, thoughtfulness, fairness and willingness to hold the bar as high for herself as she does for the folks in her lab, is a winning combination that benefits the lab and the greater Koch Institute.
Mariane is a people person who always takes the time to know everyone in the lab and provide answers to all their questions about research, the lab, or MIT. Her personality is also a great asset – she remains positive and cheerful even when those around her may be stressed. And she embraces the challenges and responsibilities of being an experienced scientist. Caring, resourceful, strict, and sweet all at the same time – Mariane represents the best of MIT on a daily basis.
Mark Whary, Division of Comparative Medicine
As the Associate Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine, Dr. Mark Whary serves as the Attending Veterinarian on the Animal Care Committee, supports the research activities of DCM, and coordinates the management of MIT’s animal care and husbandry effort, which involves 210,000 gross square feet of facility space and 180 employees. He is a model of efficiency, making himself available for consultation from investigators, colleagues, and students. Mark is always ready to give a talk on short notice, consider a difficult issue, or march through some wall, figurative or otherwise.
MIT and DCM are fortunate to have Mark as a colleague, and they are constantly reminded of this by his quiet, collegial manner. His effectiveness is demonstrated through numerous activities at the Division, including hosting site visitors from both local and federal agencies regarding regulatory issues. Mark is also engaged in DCM’s active National Institute of Health-supported research program, including the NIH training program for graduate veterinarians. DCM also has a summer veterinary student program supported by NIH and Mark is equally involved in tutoring and advising these students. There are also PhD and UROP students that require mentorship. Mark excels in all of these areas, including taking on campus-wide responsibilities such as membership on the MIT Disaster Task Force.
Mark continues to maintain high standards while performing so many roles. And he approaches all of them with an impressive level of equanimity and cheer.
Carol Wood, Office of Sponsored Programs
Carol Wood comes highly recommended for this award, including by her own team. Last year, the Kuali Coeus Team won an Infinite Mile Award for their efforts to migrate MIT to the KC system, an enterprise-wide software system used to manage research administration processes. With great enthusiasm, we now recognize Carol for her dedication to her work and to MIT.
Carol is the Assistant Director in the Office of Sponsored Programs, managing and mentoring all the members of the KC team. She is quick to give credit to others for their ideas for improvements to the KC system and is always looking to move forward and improve. Carol continuously brings her amazing skills to each new project, supporting new, creative, and innovative ways to improve processes, address pain points, and prioritize fixes.
Carol’s noteworthy achievements over the past year include:
Through all this, Carol continues to be the ultimate problem solver, as well as an excellent manager, leader, and mentor whose efforts benefit not only her team members but the entire research administration community at MIT.
Koch Institute Communications Team
Vasilena ‘Leny’ Gocheva, Collaborative Programs Manager
These four outstanding individuals are being recognized today for their extraordinary work for the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, or the KI. A National Cancer Institute-designated cancer research center, the KI has a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to advancing the fight against cancer. Together, this Communications Team strategically furthers the KI’s mission and communicates the impact of its research to diverse audiences; their successes include motivating and validating faculty, trainees, and staff; creating a tight-knit community; engaging with collaborators, startups, pharma, and clinicians; expressing gratitude to donors; and inspiring children to take an interest in STEM.
Each member brings a unique skill set, with a commonality of outstanding writing skills, impressive insight into the research, deep creativity, and intense dedication. This team’s nomination included words of praise from a former MIT president, postdocs, and faculty members, including both the Koch Institute’s director and a Nobel laureate. Here are just a few examples:
“This team makes a huge impact on the culture of the Koch Institute and the quality of life for trainees as they inform the community about the achievements of trainees and faculty inside and outside the lab. Through newsletters and social media, they tirelessly promote new manuscripts and highlight successful stories of how these discoveries make an impact outside the KI.”
“Public outreach is fundamental to our mission as cancer biologists, and this would simply not occur without [this team]. However, this work is, at times, a thankless job, as they work to promote cancer research, not themselves.”
“Our communications team has done a tremendous job capturing the excitement of the research taking place in the Koch Institute and disseminating this to audiences at MIT and well beyond. They successfully translate complex science and technology in interesting, informative, and stimulating ways that resonate with non-experts and experts alike.”
We are honored to commend Leny Gocheva, Sara Hellmold, Kelsey Montgomery, and Erika Reinfeld.
The Office of Digital Learning Finance Team
Marine Brown, Director of Finance
The Office of Digital Learning Finance Team supports both MITx, which are MIT’s free online courses, and Digital Learning Solutions, which are the courses that people pay to access. MITx and DLS each have unique structures and needs, with the Office of Digital Learning constantly evolving and incorporating new ideas that further MIT’s global outreach.
Marine Brown, Corinne Hamilton, Andrea Sullivan, and Marisol Tabares have all gone far above and beyond expectations. As the level and variety of digital courses offered by MIT has greatly increased, so has the complexity involved in tracking and managing the financial information for these courses. When senior leadership asked that ODL be able to perform detailed expense and revenue tracking for all course types on both a course-by-course and offering-by-offering basis, ODL’s financial team rose to the challenge with open minds and a strong commitment to the hard work necessary to develop such an innovative and detailed financial model.
An easily overlooked activity the finance team performs is supporting ODL team members in explaining (often several times) the complicated workings of ODL finances. They are always patient and helpful, often going the extra step to make sure everyone understands what they need to understand.
Marine Brown and Corinne Hamilton worked with IS&T and the Controller’s Office to creatively adapt SAP functionality to track course revenue. Andrea Sullivan joined the team to help develop processes and enact the system. And Marisol Tabares worked with Marine to build analytics reports that allows ODL to track costs and revenue for both MITx and DLS.
The team admirably addressed the many issues inherent in accepting payment from thousands of people across the globe, including systems, reconciling payments, and customer support issues. This team has exceeded everyone’s expectations and has consistently gone above and beyond their job descriptions to deliver the best work possible to MIT. Their professionalism, drive for results, and inclusive working style has set a high bar of performance within ODL and across the Institute. Here’s to acknowledging the Fantastic Four!
Alcator C-Mod Team of RDTEU Technicians, Plasma Science and Fusion Center
Susan Agabian, Senior Technician Electro - Mechanical
The dedication of this cadre of technicians goes way above and beyond the “normal” call of duty. Each member of the team is a professional that worked collectively to make the Alcator C-Mod research project a highly successful operational campaign.
As you no doubt know, in March of 2012 it was announced that the Alcator C-Mod Experiment would be shut down. Since that time the technical staff has been reduced from 20 to 12 – meaning many on the team have had to assume more responsibility and learn new tasks. As researchers raced to complete as much work as possible before completely shutting down, the technicians rose to the challenges. In some ways, the final year of research, which concluded on September 30, 2016, was the Experiment’s most productive.
That the facility performed nearly flawlessly throughout that final year is an incredibly strong testament to the skill and devotion of the technical team, who were responsible for operation and maintenance of all of the complex tokamak facility systems, including power supplies, energy storage facilities, magnets, vacuum systems, liquid nitrogren and liquid helium cryogenics, safety systems, gas handling and boronization facilities, electrical utilities, cooling systems, and the complex measurement tools used to control and understand the dynamic fusion plasma which can reach temperatures of 100 million degrees kelvin.
This team stepped up their game enormously, never straining under the increased pressures, exhibiting a universally positive attitude during great uncertainty. C-Mod set many world-wide tokamak performance records, and broke new ground in nearly all the important topical areas which are on the path to developing fusion as a practical energy source. None of this could have been achieved without the remarkable dedication, loyalty, ingenuity, and perseverance of this superb team of technicians.