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Anne Gustafson honored with President’s Award for Outstanding Research Support

May 28, 2021

Senior Faculty Research Assistant Anne Gustafson has been given the President’s Award for Outstanding Research Support to recognize her long-term commitment to excellence, professional achievements and unfailing support of environmental research at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory. She has provided exceptional contributions to research and outstanding service, played impressive roles in leading innovative research projects, and mentored members of the UMCES community.

Gustafson began as a faculty research assistant in Professor Tom Fisher’s lab in 1991, her job duties ranging from meeting ships to picking up water samples from Chesapeake and Delaware Bays to sampling streams and groundwater wells. She has become the general manager for lab projects, the corporate memory of the Fisher lab, and a mentor to other lab members, supervising and training other faculty research assistants.

“Her dedicated longtime service and contributions to UMCES exemplify excellence in supporting scientific research,” said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Peter Goodwin. “She has played impressive roles in leading innovative research projects and mentoring other members of the UMCES community.”

Gustafson began by coordinating the collection, lab processing, and data analyses of water samples associated with projects funded by organizations such as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and non-profit organizations. Her job duties ranged from meeting ships to pick up water samples and sampling streams and groundwater wells and working with farmers in the experimental watersheds to planning and executing lab or field work with students and other FRAs. She became the general manager for all of the projects in the Fisher lab, supervising other employees and students, analyzing and storing data, and preparing reports, proposals, and budgets.

“Anne works quickly and efficiently get research proposals prepared correctly and submitted on time. She also provides realism to grand proposal ideas, and a compromise between the two results in manageable but high-reaching projects that get funded,” said Professor Emeritus Tom Fisher. “She also makes certain that we have budgets and projects that are realistic while still being worthwhile. She understands the time and the steps that go into the field and lab portion, and makes sure that responsible grant proposals are submitted.

“Anne is a supportive and reliable colleague and friend whom I have enjoyed working with        for the past 16 years. She takes on responsibilities beyond what her job requires because she  takes ownership in our research projects. If Anne is working on a project, the budget is well managed, the work is going to get done well, and everyone is going to know what is going on. I   trust Anne’s ability and judgement in terms of research, scholarship, and lab dynamics. My time  at Horn Point would not have gone so smoothly and pleasantly without Anne!” said Washington College Associate   Professor Rebecca Fox ’11, who worked with Gustafson as a graduate student and post-doctoral colleague.

She also mentors other lab members, supervising and training other FRAs. “She possesses a wealth of knowledge about the UMCES institution, scientific procedures, and internal workflows that are unmatched by any other senior FRA that I know,” said Faculty Research Assistant Erika Koontz, who was trained by Gustafson.

UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory, located on more than 800 acres on the banks of the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, has advanced society’s understanding of the world’s estuarine and ocean ecosystems. Horn Point scientists are widely respected for their interdisciplinary programs in oceanography, water quality, restoration of sea grasses, marshes and shellfish and for expertise in ecosystem modeling. With ongoing research programs spanning from the estuarine waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the open waters of the world's oceans, Horn Point is a national leader in applying environmental research and discovery to solve society’s most pressing environmental problems.