Parting Words: Looking Back and Toward the Future:
It is with mixed feelings that I announce that I have accepted a tenure-track position at Central Michigan University as Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of Great Lakes Research.
A Look Back:
As an undergraduate at GVSU in 1991, I was given the opportunity to work as a technician at AWRI under Dr. Mark Luttenton. The experience encouraged me to complete a Master of Science degree at CMU and then dual Ph.D.s at Michigan State University. In January of 2001, I jumped at the opportunity to interview for a Principal Investigator (PI) position at AWRI, then under the direction of Dr. Ron Ward. I accepted a PI position with AWRI in July of that year. At that time, Dr. Ward retired and Dr. Alan Steinman accepted the position as the new Director of AWRI. Over the last six years, AWRI has increased the number of employees, students, external funding, and peer reviewed publications at a rate that no one could have predicted. The list of accomplishments of the Institute continues to grow. I am grateful to the PIs, staff, and students of AWRI for the opportunity to be a part of this transition. With AWRI, my resume has grown tremendously over the last six years and I owe much of my success to Dr. Alan Steinman and the staff and students of AWRI. I would like to thank them for their support and professionalism. While it saddens me to leave this environment, I look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead for me and my family.
A Look Ahead:
It recently became blatantly obvious to me that, in academia, we never really leave a University or the individuals making up the institution. My new Chair of Biology at CMU recently introduced me to my 'new' colleagues and then escorted me into my 'new' office. There were few faces in the department that I did not recognize. I have been interacting with many of the individuals for years through graduate studies, at scientific conferences, and even through collaboration on research projects. However, it likely hit me the hardest when I stepped through the doorway of my 'new' office. It was at that point that I realized that I will not have to memorize my office telephone number; I remember it. Following July 1, 2007 I can be found at the very desk that I sat at as a first-year Masters student wondering what the future holds. My wife can be found conducting research at CMU in the same laboratory she studied in some 13 years ago as well. I now realize that I never really left GVSU (as an undergraduate student) or CMU and MSU (as a graduate student); I just expanded my list of colleagues, collaborators and friends.
I look forward to continuing collaboration with my friends and colleagues at AWRI. We have already established formal collaboration for the next two years, and I see this move as a doorway to new opportunities and partnerships between AWRI and the CMU Biological Station.