Tim Stephens, the Manager of the Department of Chemistry’s Electronics Shop is a 2019 Award of Distinction Honoree. The award, given to twelve staff members each year in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Emory community, is the most prestigious honor afforded to Emory staff.
The chemistry community knows Tim best for his talent at caring for scientific instruments. Committed to increasing efficiency, his efforts have led to meaningful cost-savings. Not only does he save thousands of dollars by repairing machines that are critical to the daily scientific work of the department, he also led an effort to survey and document the department’s data network utilization. With approximately 900 data ports spanning 300,000 square feet, this was a substantial effort which resulted in a 34 percent reduction in monthly network expenses. These saved funds are now being used to support the department’s teaching and research missions.
Beyond his core responsibilities, Tim finds many other ways to contribute to the department and the larger Emory community. He has a passion for inspiring young people and has partnered with faculty to team teach two courses: CHEM 105 (How Things Work) and CHEM 190 (Creative Problem Solving). He manages work study students each semester and is a regular fixture at department and college events. Tim is also the founder of the first chemistry “Fourth Friday” events that brought together staff, students, and faculty for community-building.
Tim also is the department’s official data recovery specialist. He recovered more than a year’s worth of research for a faculty member and has saved dissertations for students. He attends graduate orientation every year to emphasize the importance of protecting data to students.
Tim has also served the wider Emory community, including as a former president of the College Staff Council and as a regular volunteer at freshman move in.
Beyond Emory, on his own time and with his own money, Tim repairs electronics to donate to those in need, including fixing old phones to send overseas where they can be repurposed as safety tools.