Dear Colleagues:

It gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s recipients of the Service to Science Award. They are Marjorie Burger, Senior Financial Analyst in administration, and Operations Manager, Theo van de Sande, at the Departments of Plant Biology and Global Ecology.

The Service to Science Award was created to recognize outstanding and/or unique contributions to science by employees who work in administration, support, and technical positions at Carnegie Science. Any individual employed by or officially affiliated with Carnegie may nominate an eligible employee for this award. The selection panel consisted of P Street administrators and was led by Loronda Lee, Associate Director of Human Resources.

Usually, we give the awards out at our Carnegie Evening event in May. But due to the renovations at the administration building, we were unable to hold that event this year. However, Marj was recognized for her extraordinary service by the Board of Trustees at the May meetings. Theo will be recognized at the November Board of Trustees meetings. 

Marjorie Burger, Senior Financial Analyst, Administration

Marj joined Carnegie in 2002 as a Financial Accountant and was promoted to Financial Manager/Controller in 2007 under Gary Kowalczyk during a time when Carnegie was expanding and changes were occurring in the regulatory environment because of the financial crisis.

Marj’s dedication, work ethic, and in-depth knowledge of accounting, grants, and Carnegie’s inner workings, allowed her to develop a strong bond with the Business Managers in the departments and the respect of everyone at P Street. She is also well known and respected by many members of the Board, particularly members of the Audit committee due to the stability she provided during challenging times, and for her effort ensuring Carnegie had years of clean audits. 

When Gary retired in 2011, Marj stepped in as the interim Director of Administration and Finance for several months. She then accepted the role of Senior Financial Analyst in 2013, as part of a desire to scale back her responsibilities in conjunction with her relocation to Ohio.  Despite this, Marj was twice asked to step back into the Interim Controller based upon urgent needs at P Street; which is a testament to her professional ethics and dedication to Carnegie. 

When Marj’s decision to retire was announced, Tim Doyle mentioned that “I’ll personally miss many things about Marj far beyond her ability to answer the most challenging or obscure accounting question immediately and accurately.  Those would be her humor, warmth, focus on education, and devotion to her staff and family.” Upon the retirement announcement, many within Carnegie, in addition to external parties, reached out to express their gratitude and sincere respect for Marj.

Marj’s legacy at Carnegie will continue long after she leaves. Many current administrative staff were hired by her, numerous financial policies were written by her, our current chart of accounts was created by her, and at least one staff member was recently promoted in part due to her mentoring and training. Marj is truly a role model to many of us and Carnegie is a better place for having had her and is richly deserving of this award.

Theo van de Sande, Departments of Plant Biology and Global Ecology

The depth and breadth of Theo’s service to Carnegie is indeed extraordinary.  Despite the fact that he has been at Carnegie four years, he has exhibited outstanding leadership qualities that have been demonstrated time and again. Theo’s detailed and conscious care of Carnegie scientists and the facilities for the Departments of Plant Biology and Global Ecology located on the Stanford campus have gained the appreciation of all of his colleagues.

Theo has elegantly overcome many challenges with the management and upkeep of multiple buildings on campus, while remaining particularly considerate of the needs of the occupants. As one of many examples, Theo exhibited his professionalism and expertise when the specifications for a new HVAC system came in 20% heavier than the prior unit. This situation required new engineering calculations and possible structural upgrades and severely threatened the deadline and budget for project completion. Theo stepped in, working tirelessly (and tenaciously) with the vendor/owner to expedite the timeline to protect the interests of Carnegie.

Most impressive, though, is that within the framework of the HVAC replacement, Theo had to synchronize the scheduling of roofing crews, oversee installation of multiple cooling towers, and upgrades to the climate controls in the greenhouses, in addition to supporting the Stanford work crew who began construction on a new bike path bordering the Carnegie site.

Another testimony to his efficient and excellent project management skills was the timely completion of the Mass Spec room.

In closing, we recognize that Theo Van de Sande is a key employee and a genuine asset to Carnegie Science. His tireless efforts and genuine concern for the institution as a whole are truly deserving of this award.

Carnegie Science is tremendously fortunate to have such two outstanding, and dedicated individuals working to serve science and our community.

Best regards,

Matthew Scott