Bates College — Science Resource Technician

Title: Science Resource Technician
Location: Carnegie Science Hall
Reports To: Science Resource Manager
Status/Hours: Full time, minimum of 40 hours/week, 12 months per year. Schedule may be adjusted based on College and other departmental needs or requirements. Occasional travel including day and overnight trips may be required.
FLSA: Exempt
Job Family: Professional

Position Purpose
The Science Resource Technician plays a critical role in the training, maintenance, and repair of a suite of microscopes. This hands-on position provides direct support for an increasingly diverse Bates College community utilizing excellent customer service skills. The Science Resource Technician provides support for faculty and student research utilizing scanning electron, confocal, and widefield microscopes.

The Science Resource Technician is responsible for the care of all plants, ranging from cacti to tropical, for the Sciences and is committed to programs of excellence in laboratory plant management practices used in Bates College research endeavors. The Technician also serves as a back-up to the Vivarium Coordinator, maintaining the physical environment of the research animal care facility and performing tasks related to the health and care of all vertebrate animals. 

This position oversees student workers to ensure proper care of all plants used in research. 

Key Accountabilities
Microscopy Responsibilities

  • Works closely with Associate Professor for Physics and Astronomy to gain knowledge of and increase responsibility for training, maintenance, and repair of three widefield microscopes, one scanning electron microscope (SEM), and one confocal microscope. 
  • Provides training to new users (students, faculty, and staff) to carry out routine widefield, SEM, and confocal experiments. Writes up basic instructions for the safe start up, operation, maintenance, and shut down of the unit. 
  • Provides instructional support and responds to requests for assistance to users as needed to contribute to the successful daily operation of the microscopes. 
  • Performs preventative maintenance through daily, weekly, and monthly control checks on all microscopes, including monthly alignment checks with calibration samples and wiping data from hard drives to prevent overfill problems. 
  • Maintains microscopes in good working order so that they are available for use as needed. Evaluates, tests, diagnoses and troubleshoots problems, provides repairs, or arranges for on-site and off-site repair to keep microscopes in working order. 
  • Disassembles, cleans, lubricates, reassembles, and makes mechanical adjustments and optical alignments on microscopes. 
  • Orders and stocks imaging supplies. 
  • Cleans and organizes microscopes as well as the room (e.g. sweeps floor, cleans benches, etc.).
  • Coordinates and oversees vendor service visits for routine, preventative, and non-routine maintenance. 
  • Performs administrative responsibilities such as emailing users, answering questions, paperwork, contacting Helpdesk for computer issues, contacting Facility Services to place work orders to resolve problems, etc. 
  • Provides support for academic courses making use of the confocal and SEM.

Greenhouse Responsibilities

  • Manages the cultivation of plants in a controlled environment to be used for teaching and research. 
  • Oversees the husbandry, plant nutrition, pest and disease control for the greenhouse. 
  • Responsible for the planning, management, and troubleshooting associated with temperature and humidity control. 
  • Hires, trains, and supervises 4-5 student workers and staff for the greenhouse during the academic year and summer months. 
  • Supports faculty use of greenhouse for research and teaching.
  • Ensures quality standards and maintains a healthy environment during lab experimentation for chemistry, biology, and environmental studies departments. 
  • Works closely with the Admission Office to hold open houses for prospective students and visiting parents. 
  • Holds greenhouse tours for local schools and community groups. 
  • Oversees open houses for plant sales to students, faculty, and staff of Bates College. 
  • Works closely with departments hosting an annual Enrichment day for Lewiston High School biology students. 

Vivarium Responsibilities

  • Provides back-up support when the Vivarium Coordinator is out by overseeing the full maintenance of the physical environment of the research animal care facility, including supervising student workers. 
  • Performs weekly tasks related to the health and care of all vertebrate animals for the Sciences. 

Other Responsibilities

  • Assures equity, inclusion, access, and anti-racism as central to their work and the delivery of services to faculty, staff, and students. 
  • Maintains current expertise on regulatory requirements and guidelines, as well as all current professional standards. 
  • Participates in various department initiatives, meetings and projects with both internal and external colleagues.
  • Ensures consistency, communication, and collaboration in a small, yet complex environment. 
  • Participates in departmental and professional training programs to increase expertise in the profession when appropriate.
  • Other duties and responsibilities as assigned. 

Degree of Independent Action Performed
Incumbent is expected to work with a high level of independence and autonomy following established written and oral procedures as well as laws and mandates in difficult, complex and at times, crisis situations. Typically sets own priorities and deadlines with some guidance from the supervisor. Following standard procedures, exercises initiative, influence, and judgments in decisions impacting members of the Bates College Community. Provides support to the supervisor when addressing very complex problems and unusual situations.

Direct/Indirect Reports
Student and staff workers in the Greenhouse. 

Internal & External Contacts
Frequent contact with Bates’ students, faculty, and staff.

External contacts could include vendors, consultants, peer institutions, etc.

Position Requirements
Education

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology or relevant field. 
  • Equivalent combination of education and experience considered. 

Experience

  • Previous hands-on imaging/confocal experience with routine and advanced experiments helpful. 
  • Experience working within a microscopy-related research laboratory preferred. 
  • Previous experience maintaining and growing plants in a research or commercial greenhouse preferred. 
  • Previous experience working with lab animals or vet tech experience helpful. 

Skills & Knowledge

  • Demonstrated intercultural competence, commitment, and experience working with diverse populations.
  • Knowledge of plant and soil biology relevant to the effective plant culture, nutrition, propagation, and pest management, and treatment of disease or willingness to obtain knowledge through appropriate training and education upon hire. 
  • Basic knowledge and understanding of microscopes and willingness to obtain increased knowledge through appropriate training and education upon hire. 
  • Excellent communication (written, verbal, listening and presentation) skills.
  • Excellent customer service skills with the ability to remain composed, friendly, and demonstrate poise under stress while working in a deadline driven environment.
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills; high level of accuracy; ability to synthesize complex or diverse information.
  • Ability to work independently and handle multiple priorities with minimal supervision. Demonstrates initiative.
  • Impeccable organizational (time, task, project management) skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with ability to develop and maintain collegial relationships.  
  • Proficiency in data management systems and commonly used applications (e.g. Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe, Google Suite). 
  • Willingness and ability to learn additional applications as needed.
  • Ability and willingness to work weekends, evenings, and other non-traditional schedules on occasion as needed.
  • Personal commitment to excellence and the mission of a top-tier small liberal arts college.
  • Demonstrated commitment to practices in equity, inclusion, access, and anti-racism and to serving the needs of a culturally and educationally diverse and inclusive community with diplomacy and tact.

 Working Conditions
Environment

  • Will require working with plants and animals. Animals may bite and/or scratch (including Zebra fish which can carry and transfer zoonotic diseases, and rodents to which some people have or develop allergies). Wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and using barriers for protection is necessary. Will require walking between buildings and being exposed to various weather conditions. 

Equipment Used

  • Machines and equipment used: Confocal, SEM, and Widefield microscopes, computer, photocopier, fax machine, printers, scanner, and telephones.

Travel Requirements

  • Occasional travel may be required to attend professional engagements, workshops, training, conferences.

Physical Requirements
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

  1. Ability to lift and transport up to 50lbs without assistance.
  2. Occasional light lifting or carrying (overhead, waist level, from floor); bending.
  3. Ability to sit in a normal seated position for prolonged periods of time. (75% of the time)
  4. Reaching by extending hand(s) or arm(s) in any direction.
  5. Finger dexterity required to manipulate objects with fingers rather than with whole hand(s) or arm(s).  Extensive use of computer keyboard and mouse.
  6. Communication skills using the spoken and written word.
  7. Ability to use a visual display terminal with continuous wrist movement on a keyboard.
  8. Ability to withstand exposure to inclement weather (rain, snow, sleet, freezing temperatures, etc.)

 Additional Requirements

  • Successfully complete a background check.
  • Successfully complete a pre-employment physical.

The above is not intended to list all possible essential functions or requirements as they are subject to change. Bates College reserves the right to revise or change this description. This description does not constitute a written or implied contract of employment.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to meet these conditions.

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