July 19, 2021
Chandelle Macdonald, a Master Technician at the Stable Isotope Facility, is the recipient of the University of Wyoming’s Staff Employee of the Second Quarter Award. (Sierra even photo)
A lab technician in a complex technical analytical facility – who his colleagues believe is of high quality and reputation both domestically and internationally – is the recipient of the University of Wyoming’s Staff Employee of the Second Quarter Award.
Chandelle Macdonald is a Master Technician at the Stable Isotope Facility (SIF), run by the UW Office of Research and Economic Development. The SIF provides high quality Stable Isotope Analysis (SIA) to the research community at UW and around the world. The data can be used by researchers to explain various biological / chemical processes and answer questions about plant physiology, food webs, animal nutrition, climate modeling, and pollution tracking.
“The types of samples we analyze range from rocks, soil, plants, water and hair to methane gas and polar bear breath,” says Macdonald, who has held her current UW position for 12 years.
“Over the past year – and in these troubled times – Chandelle has maintained very high productivity for the lab while maintaining very effective implementation and compliance with COVID-19 guidelines,” writes one of her nominees. “In fact, thanks to her, the laboratory has maintained almost the same service output with even higher quality analyzes for our UW, national and international employees and users in the last 12 months compared to the year before the COVID-19 disease. ”
Another nominator says Macdonald’s expertise in using the tools enables the facility to have a good reputation both domestically and internationally.
“She made a significant contribution to the fact that the UW system was selected as the analytical laboratory for all organic analyzes of NEON soil samples, which is a very prestigious achievement,” says the colleague. “Your attention to quality control has made the facility an analytical laboratory of choice for the highest quality analysis.”
NEON is the National Ecological Observatory Network.
Macdonald’s daily tasks include providing students with practical laboratory experience – from sample preparation to the final result – and training undergraduate and graduate students in how to use the equipment and instruments in the laboratory. She is responsible for the maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of 13 scientific instruments, including four isotope ratio mass spectrometers and many other devices in the laboratory that are used for SIA. Macdonald also manages the day-to-day operations of the laboratory, including scheduling, customer service, invoicing, hiring and training of staff.
“Chandelle is constantly working to develop or improve analytical methods. She is great at streamlining the workflow without compromising quality, ”says a colleague. “At the university level, their commitment to their job and their ability to reach high quality K-12 students as well as UW and citizen programs are outstanding.”
Outside the UW, Macdonald’s willingness to help a colleague’s eighth grade student on a project for the Wyoming State Science Fair received praise. Macdonald was instrumental in training the student in drying, grinding, acidifying and weighing her soil samples. Macdonald taught the eighth grader each procedure using one of her samples, which resulted in the student performing the procedures on her own remaining samples.
“Chandelle helped a young student understand and apply techniques to a very complex ecological problem. This work with the student will give the university a lot of positive praise, ”says a colleague.
Born and raised in Gillette, Macdonald attended Northwest College, Powell, where she received her associate degree in chemistry. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Nevada-Reno and worked on a master’s degree from UW.
“I was fortunate to have great mentors and supervisors in this position who have accompanied and supported me throughout my career at UW. They enabled me to develop my skills to be successful in my position, ”says Macdonald. “My student technicians were great too; I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if not all responsible and intelligent students would work for me. It is also important to pay tribute to the researchers – students and professors – who entrust me with the samples for which they have worked hard. “
A neighborhood nominated employee can be any UW employee, and each must receive three nomination forms from three different people. Nominations are to be submitted to the office of the Personnel Senate. The forms can be found on the Internet and here.
For more information, call the Human Resources Senate office at 766-5300.