Jerry Frank honored with President’s Award for Outstanding Research Support

May 22, 2023

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory Senior Faculty Research Assistant Jerry Frank has been given the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's President’s Award for Outstanding Research Support to recognize rising above the norms of research responsibilities to include unique leadership, mentorship, and service roles. He has played an essential role in building and leading the Nutrient Analytical Services Laboratory, now a nationally certified research laboratory sought out by federal, state and local organizations to conduct their water quality analyses.

“Jerry Frank has demonstrated a long-term commitment to excellence during his career. His outstanding contributions epitomize everything we want in our cadre of professional researchers at UMCES. He is highly skilled, entrepreneurial and committed to excellence in the laboratory and beyond,” said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Peter Goodwin.

Frank leads the Nutrient Analytical Services Laboratory (NASL) at UMCES’ Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, where he oversees the processing of more than 20,000 water quality samples annually by a team of six other faculty research assistants. His successful leadership led to the NASL being accredited by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program in 2017 and recertified in 2019 and 2022. The Chesapeake Bay Program and the State of Maryland (MDE and DNR) are NASL’s principal clients, and the NASL is sought out by federal, state and local organizations to conduct their water quality analyses. Academic institutions throughout the Atlantic seaboard use NASL, as well as local watershed associations and River Keeper groups throughout the Bay watershed.

“Jerry has showed outstanding leadership in this area because he wanted to ensure that NASL was providing the very most reliable and accurate data because of the importance of this information in determine whether, or by how much, we miss the 2025 Chesapeake Bay restoration goals,” said Chesapeake Biological Laboratory Director Thomas Miller.

Frank started working at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory more than 30 years ago cleaning glassware while he was in high school and continued work in Solomons while earning his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Saint Mary’s College. During this period, he worked for several faculty groups including Walter Boynton and Chris D’Elia. Eventually his work focused in the Nutrient Analytical Services Laboratory, where he became director and has proven to be an inclusive and engaged leader.

“Jerry is an outstanding leader and analyst. He is an advocate for his team and has created a team spirit that I have rarely encountered elsewhere,” said Miller.

Frank is also heavily engaged in shared governance at UMCES where he represents FRAs on the faculty senate and serves on the faculty workgroup examining appointment, promotion and tenure policies. He serves on the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory academic and faculty councils, co-led efforts to improve the work experience of FRAs, and has served on the CBL DEI committee.

Located where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory is the oldest publicly supported marine laboratory on the East Coast. Founded in 1925, it has been a national leader in fisheries, estuarine ecology, environmental chemistry and toxicology for more than 90 years. Our scientists conduct research from the Chesapeake Bay and around the globe. From advising state and national agencies on sustainable fisheries management and breaking new ground in understanding how chemicals move between the atmosphere, sediments, and water to renowned work on nutrient dynamics and the food web, the lab is developing new scientific approaches to solving the major environmental problems that face our world.