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Megan King, EENR undergrad from Chrysler Herbarium wins Student Employee of the Year at Rutgers and in the State of NJ

Award winner Megan King (right) and Amy Creteau, Associate Director at the Student Employment Office (left).

Megan King, our own graduating EENR major, has been named the Rutgers Student Employee of the Year for all of New Jersey! Megan is the Collections Manager in the Chrysler Herbarium here at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, where she handles invaluable historical scientific plant specimens, and manages undergraduate student interns and NSF-funded projects.

Megan King working in the Chrysler Herbarium. Photo courtesy of Devika Jaikumar

In her nomination letter, Herbarium Director Dr. Lena Struwe described Megan as "brave, courteous, and professional at all times", and wrote that her work ethic is impeccable and efficient. Megan leads the work in the Chrysler Herbarium with confidence, positive firmness, and by setting high, but fair expectations for her own work and the students she supervises. She has an engaging, enthusiastic way of working with the herbarium collections that is contagious to the students." The success of our student-driven work in Chrysler Herbarium in the last year is largely due to Megan King's steady hand, organizational mind, and loving heart for our scientific collections at Rutgers.

Megan King at the Chrysler Herbarium. Photo courtesy of Devika Jaikumar

Megan's job duties include (among other things) the organizing and managing of all day-to-day activities, training and supervising 10+ undergraduate workers each semester (the Herbarium Army), curating and repairing scientific plant specimens, ordering of supplies, managing two large National Science Foundation projects in digitization (photographing and adding data online),

Megan King working on preserving a plant species. Photo courtesy of Devika Jaikumar Megan King. Photo courtesy of Devika Jaikumar

Photo courtesy of Devika Jaikumar

coordinating with Facilities for repairs and renovations, providing guided tours and materials for educational outreach, preparing and delivering presentations at national and regional meetings, developing and uploading online data in the national iDigBio portal and coordinating all IT and software issues, and overseeing safety and security in the herbarium. And by the way, Megan is also a fulltime undergraduate student majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers.

Megan's impact on daily work in the herbarium has been incredible. Since May 2016, she has supervised the reclassification of more than 100,000 specimens. This is not a simple task, since each pressed plant specimen mounted on a large herbarium sheet must be taken out of a sealed cabinet, cross-referenced against online databases, evaluated so it can be repaired if needed, and filed into a new family classification that is unlike the previous one. Each specimen needs to be handled individually, so it is a slow, careful process.

A Student Employee of the Year is recognized only once each year at Rutgers, and the winner at Rutgers then goes on to compete at the state level. This is what make Megan's state-wide award so impressive.


April 2017