Ben Earle is a wonderful lab member. He shows excellent follow through, volunteers a large portion of his time every week to lab work, and always comes to lab ready to work hard and get things done.
Ben finishes projects. Even after hours and after graduating, Ben was committed to finishing what he started and tying up loose ends with his research before moving on to his next job. Without being asked, he devoted himself to fully training his successor in the lab in his words “for as long as it would take” until he was confident that the next trainee started off on good footing with a clear concept of how to analyze our data.
In his three years in the Vazey lab, Ben has seen his own rodent behavior project through from beginning to end. We are currently preparing several papers to which he contributed significant work, and on which he will be an author. He has completed all of his work autonomously, as the first in the lab to run such an experiment.
If you come to Ben with an assignment, he takes it on with enthusiasm. Ben has developed many versatile lab skills from animal behavior to immunohistochemistry. He has run complex operant behavior tests on rats, intraperitoneally injected rats with pharmaceutical agents, sliced brain tissue on a cryostat, put tissue on slides, stained tissue both on and off slides, analyzed data using software from imageJ to Prism, and presented the data that he collected. Along the way, he has written numerous detailed protocols for the lab so that we can (with sadness) continue his work after he graduates. Large or small, thoughtful or seemingly menial, each of these varied tasks was met with determination to contribute to the lab and to scientific discovery. Ben is always eager to make connections among his various projects and his work outside the lab in the hospital, demonstrating his natural inclination to think critically and develop a deep understanding of his work.
Ben is reliable. If he makes a mistake, he puts in the time and effort to fully fix any problems in his analysis and ensure that it will not happen again. He also handles the ups and downs of experimentation very well. When analysis takes years to complete, Ben is consistent in his enthusiasm to see it to the end. He is willing to help out in any way he can. Even during the pandemic, Ben has been a great communicator and productive lab member, completing heaps of new analyses every week. It is important to note that Ben’s contributions to the lab did not diminish throughout the pandemic. When he was not allowed to enter the lab, he continued to analyze data from home and churn out excellent finished products.
Ben gets along with everyone in lab and does not make waves. I am confident that Ben will be an asset to any work environment due to his easy-going nature and excellent work ethic. We will feel his absence from the lab when he graduates and are sad to see him go despite our excitement for his very bright future.
-Emma Dauster (Mentor in the Vazey lab, UMass Amherst)