Meet Mary Campbell
For nearly a dozen years, Mary Campbell has dedicated her skills to making hands-on science available to biology students at De Anza College. As a biology lab technician, Campbell has been involved in many different tasks.
“I think some of my greatest accomplishments have been with my role as curator,” Campbell says. “I have been very happy with the quality of the cultures and materials produced for the various instructors who use them as part of their curriculum, and each time an experiment works it brings me great satisfaction.”
Before working at De Anza, Campbell had experience as both a working microbiologist and a microbiology student. “I worked in a private company as head of their clinical microbiology department,” she says. “Then I went to UC Davis, where I worked in one of the college’s clinical labs. From there, I went to graduate school and earned a master’s of science in microbiology.”
Biology instructor and nominator Jeff Schinske says Campbell goes above and beyond her normal responsibilities in the biology lab. “Mary finds creative ways to pull together the supplies needed to give our students an authentic biology lab experience by seeking out cost effective alternatives and finding ways to share materials between classes,” Schinske says. “This has allowed us to continue to innovate in our classes despite budgetary restrictions.”
For example, Schinske says, “One of our high-enrollment biology classes, BIOL 11, recently went through a complete revision of the lab curriculum. The instructors sought to bring more inquiry-based, cutting edge science into the classroom, which meant a reworking of the lab materials and supplies necessary. Mary not only coordinated these new materials needs, she actually test-ran some of the new experimental protocols on her own so that the instructors knew the procedures would work before implementing them in class.”
Campbell says one of the things she likes most about her job is the educational setting. “I see young people, and sometimes returning older individuals, starting out on their diverse career paths. Rewarding, too, is working with the various instructors within the department, and I’m always impressed with their creativity and dedication in designing diverse experiments that bring meaning and knowledge to their students.”
Schinske also says, “Mary is a critical member of the team that facilitates quality instruction in the Biology Department. Her dependability, flexibility and willingness to go out of her way for faculty are much appreciated by her colleagues.”