Known in the chemistry and physics department for keeping stock of the chemicals and lab equipment and a being helpful resource in the Natural Sciences Building (NSB), laboratory coordinator Pamela Ralston is retiring from Mills College after 30 years.
The lab coordinator is in charge of the inventory and the maintenance of supplies needed to run a research or instructional lab. The coordinator also helps develop and implement the rules and standards to ensure the lab runs safely in accordance with federal, state and university regulations such as lab safety training for faculty and staff.
Since the department’s increased enrollment over the past 10 years, twice the amount of equipment and chemicals are being used to run the lab.
Many students found out about Ralston’s departure through an advertisement posted on the Mills website for a new lab coordinator. Professor of Chemistry Elisabeth Wade’s Facebook post regarding the advertisement caught the attention of her former students, many of whom can not imagine NSB without Ralston.
Senior chemistry major Gabriella Amberchan said that Ralston and her knowledge of the labs and research will be a huge loss to Mills.
“Pam’s knowledge of not just the classroom labs but also the research that is done over the summer is amazing,” Amberchan said. “She’s very sweet and will be sorely missed.”
Amberchan said that during summer research with Professor of chemistry Beth Kochly, Ralston was of great help to Amberchan. Ralston was able to help Amberchan find a certain chemical Amberchan asked about quickly because of Ralston’s organization.
Ralston has seen a lot of changes during her time at Mills and will miss the community.
“It has been a privilege coming to work everyday and be able to enjoy this beautiful campus,” Ralston said. “I will miss the students and the people I work with.”
Wade said that Ralston’s departure will be an impact to the department.
“This will be a big change for all of us.” Wade said. “I will miss knowing that she could handle whatever we threw at her! Whoever we hire will have very big shoes to fill.”