A collaborative effort from staff at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) has culminated in prestigious recognition, with their winning of the 2024 Outstanding Staff Team Award in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The triumph follows their recent completion of a challenging project: safely transporting a unique collection of reptiles and amphibians to the UMMZ.

Greg Schneider, Robbin Murrell, and Benjamin M. Hess were collectively distinguished for their roles in facilitating this significant transfer, originally housed at Oregon State University. Each played a vital part in the project, driven by a sense of duty and a passion for their work.

“They are the literal personification of LSA's values, to the point where it is almost impossible for us to envision how the Museum of Zoology would be able to function without their combined expertise, dedication, and integrity,” said Alison Davis Rabosky, associate professor and curator at the Museum of Zoology, and Daniel Rabosky, professor and curator in the Museum of Zoology in their nominating letter. “Time and time again, these individuals have shown through their actions that they believe fundamentally in the scientific, societal, pedagogical, and sustainability missions of the unit in which they work.”

Meticulous coordination and compliance with safety protocols were vital in making the move possible. Benjamin M. Hess, the EEB Museums Registrar, highlighted the commitment behind their roles: "Each of us has specific roles that we do with pride. We often do our jobs thinking that no one notices, but we are all perfectionists in our positions. In this effort, it all started with the UMMZ Reptiles & Amphibians Division realizing the research potential and significance of the collection."

Reaffirming the sentiment, Greg Schneider, research collections manager for the zoology museum, said, "It is a great honor for me to receive this award, especially for a second time, and to have all of our hard work recognized by the college and the University."

The dedication of this team, each bringing their expertise and commitment, has led to a successful outcome that benefits both the immediate scientific community. Robbin Murrell, an Administrative Specialist for the Museum of Zoology, mirrored these thoughts: “The nomination serves as a recognition to continue to be proud of the work I've been part of for 18 years, and it motivates me to continue at the Museum of Zoology.”

The U-M's recognition of such diligent teamwork underscores a larger institutional philosophy: Celebrating those who push boundaries and make a difference, often from behind the curtains. This esteemed award not only highlights individual achievements but also demonstrates the profound impact of collaboration in advancing scientific projects and collections-based research.

The awardees were officially recognized at the LSA Staff Achievement Awards on May 9, followed by celebrations at the Spring Fling.