How long have you worked at the U of L?
I have worked at the University of Lethbridge for 13 years now, starting as a proctor in the student computer labs during my BSc in Chemistry. I got involved in student research later on in my degree, working under Dr. Paul Hazendonk, Dr. David Siminovitch and Tony Montina, which has led to my current full-time employment in the Magnetic Resonance Facility after my graduation in 2014.
What are your main duties?
My duties cover the breadth of magnetic resonance equipment at the U of L, as well as associated hardware and infrastructure. I monitor and maintain the equipment that supports the NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) Facility, including our helium recovery and liquification system, as well as data backups that ensure valuable research is never lost. I support and train users of the NMR Facility in carrying out both solution- and solid-state experiments. In addition to these responsibilities in the NMR Facility in the new Science Commons, I am also responsible for frontline support of the U3T Clinical MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) hardware in Exploration Place.
How have your duties changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
My interest in automation and computer monitoring, as well as the flexibility of my position, have allowed me to spend the last few years automating the monitoring of much of the NMR Facility equipment, such as cryogen levels and status of the helium recovery system. This has allowed me to easily shift to working from home most days, only being on campus for required tasks such as cryogen fills. A bigger change has been adapting to the realities of training users and troubleshooting problems via Zoom or over the phone.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from this situation?
This situation has highlighted for me the adaptability of the U of L community, even in the face of unprecedented challenges.