Celebrating 30 Years of Service

Wendy Lee Baumgardner


Start date: 4/2/82

Wendy has had a remarkable career at Stanford. She joined the DLAM in 1982, and was promoted as a group leader in 1993. She served 12 years before joining the cardiovascular animal lab in the Falk Building, spending 7 years before we attracted her to the Lucas Center in the Radiology department in 1995 to handle our burgeoning preclinical imaging work. She assists in performing magnetic resonance and other forms of biomedical imaging experiments on animals from rodents to baby elephant seals (about a 250 lb. baby!). She is a licensed Veterinary Nurse Technologist whose many duties include helping our users with everything from ordering animals, surgical preparations, regulatory and compliance functions--such as overview of APLAC protocols, setup of equipment for imaging, monitoring of animals during imaging experiments, post-scan teardown and sterilization of imaging suites. In addition, she maintains and calibrates all instrumentation and is responsible for hazardous waste, chemical inventory and overall safe and ethical animal treatment functions. She designed and constructed a specialized animal carrier cart that has monitoring and anesthesia instrumentation for transporting animals between labs. She also recruited and supervises an assistant.

Wendy is a wonderfully delightful and pleasant person who is not only extremely knowledgeable, but anxious to provide as much help and advice as needed for our very diverse range of animal experiments and investigators. Our users regularly comment on her performance as "spectacular," "highly skilled" and "amazing." At home, she has 7 dogs, 10 cats and a parrot that cries like a baby. We are extremely grateful for Wendy’s dedication, skill and the care that she characteristically has applied during every workday of her 30 years at Stanford.

Gary Glover (Supervisor)

Catherine Carswell-Crumpton


Start date: 10/11/82

When I assumed the directorship of the Shared FACS Facility four years ago, little did I know how lucky I (and all Facility users) would be to have Cathy as the Operations Manager. Cathy's current position is to insure the day-to-day functions of the Facility run smoothly: all the instruments are performing properly, user reservations and operator schedules have no glitches, and experiments are designed with proper controls and run with the correct instrument configuration. However, where she really shines is in training users to be self-operators to run their own experiments.

Many users of the FACS Facility want the scheduling flexibility and reduced cost that being able to independently operate our instruments allows. However, operating a cell sorter reliably for one's own experiments requires not just a cookbook knowledge of which buttons to push, but also an understanding of how instrument and experimental conditions interact.

Cathy has built upon past training efforts to present an experience for researchers that gives them the knowledge to successfully perform their own experiments without being too daunting a task. This has become so popular and effective that researchers with their own instruments will sign up for training with Cathy to insure their skills are solid.

Of course, Cathy brings a lot more than teaching skills to her position. Her many years of cytometry experience and bench work in other labs give her a unique ability to help researchers with experimental design and troubleshooting. Not knowing the details of these past positions, I will leave it to others to sing her praise.

Marty Bigos (Supervisor)

Ruth Colombo


Start date: 5/10/82

Ruth's career with Stanford began in 1983 when she was hired to work as a Secretary for the Division Chief in Pediatric Genetics, a position she held until 1988. From 1988-1995, she worked as an Administrative Assistant IV for the department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, where she provided administrative support to the Chief, coordinated Phase I drug trials for multiple sclerosis and scheduled clinic patients. From 1995-1998, she worked for LPCH as an Administrative Assistant II, where she provided administrative support to the CFO/Sr. Vice President (1995-1997) and then for Patient Care Services on behalf of the Vice President (1997-1998). From 1998-2000, she worked as an Administrative Assistant IV for the Department of Radiology where she provided administrative support.

Fortunately, Ruth joined Pediatrics in 2000 as the Executive Assistant for the Chair of Pediatrics, Dr. Harvey Cohen. She continued in the role as Executive Assistant for the Chair’s Office when Dr. Hugh O’Brodovich became Chair in 2008. In 2011, Ruth decided to work part-time in the Chair’s Office and now functions as Administrative Assistant for the DFA, Palliative Care Program and supports many of the faculty searches. Ruth is very well-liked by everyone in Pediatrics and does a great job welcoming external visitors and representing the positive attributes of the Department. She is especially good at handling recruits and special events in the Department. Ruth has a "can do" attitude and does not hesitate to assist others.

Mary Corcoran (Supervisor)

Sussan Dejbakhsh-Jones

Medicine/Immunology & Rheumatology

Start date: 5/10/82

Sussan Dejbakhsh-Jones has been performing research on subsets of regulatory and bone marrow derived T cells in mice and humans for the past 30 years. She is the Strober lab guru on cell staining and flow cytometry, and has taught the use of this technique to dozens of trainees in the lab who have set up laboratories around the world in both in academic institutions and in industry. Her experimental work on immune monitoring has led to an enhanced cellular and molecular understanding of the development of transplantation tolerance in patients with kidney transplants that has allowed for the elimination of the lifelong need for immune suppressive drugs. Thank you for all your contributions to Stanford research.

Dr. Samuel Strober (Supervisor)

Joyce Hages

Medicine/Cardiovascular Medicine

Start date: 9/27/82

As long as Joyce has been with the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, she has been a superb administrative assistant. Joyce has an excellent grasp of the needs of our faculty, having served many different faculty over the years. Joyce is professional and skillful and works at a high level of performance. Her colleagues respect and admire her and consider her a wonderful and generous resource for getting things done. Her recognition of the importance of her work in order to support the faculty is primary in her daily activities. When dealing with the public, our visitors and patients, Joyce is an excellent representative of our group and of the University.

Joyce is always willing to take on a new assignment and do whatever it takes to get it completed. As a long-standing member of the Cardiovascular Medicine team, we value Joyce for her many years of contribution and hope that we will be able to count on her for many years to come. Congratulations, Joyce, on your 20 years of service. Thank you from all the faculty and staff in Cardiovascular Medicine!

Barbara Kaplan (Supervisor)

Susan K. Hoergner

Human Resources Group

Start date: 6/1/82

During her 30-year career at Stanford University, Susan has held a variety of strategic leadership positions with Central Campus, Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and Stanford Medicine. Her first Stanford position was within the Office of General Counsel, where she was a university employment/labor attorney and litigator. Though her legal career spanned 25 years, Susan recast her role as counselor and advisor to become the Manager of Employee and Labor Relations at the Stanford's Linear Accelerator (SLAC). This was followed by a several years with University Human Resources as the Director of Employee and Labor Relations. Currently, Susan’s position is Stanford Medicine Human Resource Group’s Deputy Director/Director of HR Compliance.

In her current role, Susan oversees the operations of HRG's Compensation and Employee/Labor Relations Teams (who handle many of the thorny and sensitive people problems for the entire school). At times, Susan's job could be described as having similarities with that of an air traffic controller: making sure that people can have a safe landing; keeping issues and people from colliding and ensuring that the resolution to one issue will not cause more difficulties in other areas -- all the while, calming people and reducing the heightened level of stress that surrounds people issues.

Her varied professional roles at Stanford have included settling employment cases, negotiating labor agreements, grievance reviews, representing the university at third-party hearings and arbitrations, developing university policies, holding difficult conversations with complex personalities, mediating conflicts, anticipating and quickly resolving problems, oversight of HR compliance, developing and conducting training for faculty and staff and professionally developing people. The hallmark of her style is respectful and compassionate intelligence. Her approach is collaborative and one that works to create win-win solutions.

Susan is a brilliant, creative problem-solver, a trusted confidant and a great listener -- who also happens to love her job -- and, it shows! Asked what she likes best about her various jobs, Susan says: "solving problems prior to anyone else needing to know about them; and, helping people grow, develop to achieve their dreams and goals."

Susan is intellectually curious, playful, inquisitive, compassionate, dedicated, team-oriented, loves to learn new things and is a consummate professional. Outside of work, Susan carves out time to pursue many hobbies. She writes plays (at least one of which has been published and performed), loves bird-watching, playing bridge, belongs to a book club, collects statues of Buddhas, travels the world, often following eclipses across the hemispheres or making pilgrim walks/hikes in Europe. Susan also loves to attend theater, opera and Giants games with friends.

Congratulations, Susan, on a stellar career and a big thank you from all the people you have helped along the way! We love you and look forward to many more years of your leadership.

Cori Bossenberry (Supervisor)

Lisa J. Joo

Academic Affairs

Start date: 1/1/82

Lisa Joo is arguably one of the most important and most valued administrative associates in the School of Medicine, serving the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, which she has done through three generations of appointments. She has quite literally grown up in the job and has a familiarity with the School and the University which is unparalleled. She has a "can-do" attitude and can deal with the most sensitive School matters, no matter how complex or confidential, with the greatest respect for all persons involved. She is one of the most knowledgeable professionals on our staff, loyal and dependable to a fault. She is a School treasure and a unique resource to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Judith Cain (Supervisor)

Elizabeth Pope

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Start date: 1/18/82

Liz Pope can be rightfully considered a lifetime Stanford person. Her father worked for the University from the late '40s, and was an initial employee at the founding of SLAC. At his retirement in 1989, he was then the longest active employee at the Laboratory. Not surprisingly, Liz was born at Stanford Hospital, and graduated from the University. And it was only natural she would start her career at Stanford, and we were blessed when she joined the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1985.

Over these past many years, she has been the administrative support for a series of Stanford cardiac surgeons, who all had complicated and busy schedules and activities. Liz handles the stresses and confusion with aplomb, calmness, and incredible diligence and attention to detail. She is tireless, virtually without absence, loyal and competent to an extraordinary degree. In addition to these qualities, it is with the patients and their families that she has really shined. She absolutely guarantees quality, continuity, and obvious concern for their well-being. The comments of appreciation from the patients and families are routine.

She continues to be a priceless asset to the Department and the University.

It seems the qualities of the Father are continued in the Daughter, and we are very grateful within Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Dr. Bruce Reitz (Supervisor)

Janina Saryusz-Romiszewski

Radiation Oncology/Radiation Biology

Start date: 4/1/82

Janina Saryusz-Romiszewski came to the University thirty years ago. She started in the Chemistry Department preparing glassware and supplies for student laboratory classes. She was responsible for inventorying the glassware and washing all the glassware for the department. Her supervisors were Victoria Monird, Vesselina Kaplinsky, and Maria Acoba. She came to the Medical School after 20 years' service with the Chemistry Department.

Janina has been with Radiation Oncology for 10 years as a glassware washer. She had to learn sterile technique for the first time, as we do a lot of tissue culture. She is a joy to work with. Her special contribution is playing "Happy Birthday" on her trumpet for our staff on their birthdays.

Diane Rapacchietta (Supervisor)

Rosario L. Villacorta

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Start date: 10/25/82

Rosario Villacorta is an exceptional member of the Stanford Staff. She joined Stanford University in 1982, initially working as an account assistant in the Controller’s office. In 1990, she transferred to the School of Medicine where she transitioned from accounting to the support of medical investigation and research. She was able to utilize her bilingual skills, prior training as a teacher, and knowledge of malaria surveillance to assist Dr. Julie Parsonnet and the late Dr. Paul Basch in their investigations of infectious diseases. In 2004, she moved to the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology where she has been instrumental in supporting the clinical research program of Dr. Mark Genovese, overseeing both NIH and Industry sponsored clinical studies, working directly with patients and supporting regulatory aspects of these studies. She has further utilized her unique skill sets to increase Hispanic participation in clinical research into new therapeutics in arthritis. She has also served as a preceptor/mentor in the School of Medicine and the UCSC-extension Clinical trials certificate preceptor program. Her unique abilities have made the difference in the delivery of cutting edge treatment to hundreds of patients and it has been an absolute pleasure to have her as part of the team.

Dr. Mark Genovese (Supervisor)

Edith Kuo-Mei Wang


Start date: 3/1/82

Edith has been managing the budget and personnel issues for my research laboratory for a very long time, and she is truly outstanding. She is incredibly committed to her job and fiercely loyal to the lab. She is so experienced with her responsibilities (for example, the NIH budgeting process) that financial analysts and budget administrators from other labs and departments regularly seek her advice--which she is always willing to give. When there are tough questions that she can’t answer, she does whatever it takes to get the answers and get them right. If she has to work nights or weekends to complete tasks on time, that is what she will do.

Basically, Edith does whatever it takes to get the job done correctly, and thankfully, she doesn’t let bureaucracy get in her way. She doesn’t suffer fools lightly and is quick to let people know when she thinks they have made a mistake, but on the rare occasions when she is wrong, she acknowledges it readily. Despite her determination to get things done, she is kind and generous and always means well. It has been a privilege for me to work with Edith for all these years, and I hope she will stay on the job for years to come!

Dr. Edgar Engleman (supervisor)

Valerie Williams


Start date: 2/1/82

Valerie (Val) Williams has been part of the Stanford community for thirty years. Val began her Stanford career in 1982 as a Unit Secretary in the Orthopaedic Unit at Stanford Hospital. She later transferred to the School of Medicine. In 2001, Val was hired as an administrative associate in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. During her time with the division, Val was nominated and awarded the 2003 Spirit award. As she progressed in her career, Val was promoted to Associate Facilities Manager for the Department of Medicine. She has been in this role for the past 6 years. Her duties include managing day to day facilities issues, space certification and overseeing one of the largest capital equipment inventories at Stanford. When resolving any problems or issues, her positive attitude stands out and quickly helps to ease the situation.

Michael Polochak (Supervisor)

Reese S. Zasio

Comparative Medicine/Veterinary Service Center

Start date:10/16/82

Unsung hero. Go-to guy. Near-magic man. One of Stanford's treasures. The anti-bureaucrat. A tireless worker for the proper treatment of lab animals. Those are some of the accolades heaped upon Reese Zasio, a 30-year employee at Stanford. A 2009 Marsh O’Neill Award winner, Reese Zasio is the facilities operations manager of the university's Veterinary Service Center (VSC), which oversees animal husbandry for research animals. The center is part of the Department of Comparative Medicine in the Stanford School of Medicine. The center provides animal housing and research facilities for about 300 faculty members, campus wide.

"Reese has a huge job," says Dr. Sherril Green, Chair, Department of Comparative Medicine. "The VSC program is responsible for assuring that all use of animals is humane and complies with all relevant policies and legal requirements. All of Stanford's animal facilities must be kept to meet exacting regulatory standards and must be fully operational all the time. At one point, Stanford had as many as 19 different buildings with vivariums. Reese manages all of them and makes it look easy." When asked about the most enjoyable parts of his job, Reese responded: "Working with all the different people both within and outside of our department. Knowing that I am part of a tremendous research environment and that I can ensure that the animals under our care receive the best possible treatment. It is also very cool when I hear or read of new treatments/therapies for people and that I/our group had a part in that success."

Zasio, who was hired as a temporary employee in 1982, later landed a permanent job as an animal care assistant. His job: washing cages. Six months later, he was again promoted and began providing direct daily husbandry for research animals. In 1986, Zasio became an animal husbandry supervisor, overseeing about 10 animal care assistants. He also took responsibility for a new centralized vivarium. In 1990, Zasio became the facilities operations manager of the Veterinary Service Center, where he oversees a team that provides daily animal care, maintains research tools, including diagnostic and therapeutic X-ray machines, and works with regulatory agencies. "In addition, we test and evaluate new types of animal equipment that is more green and provides for healthier environments for the animals," Zasio said. "For example, we have been using recyclable mouse caging. This eliminates the need for the washing of cages, thus saving energy and enormous quantities of water."

Neurobiology Professor William Newsome once said Zasio has one of the most difficult and important staff jobs at the university. "Reese manages people, equipment, space and animals – all with the goal of delivering quality service to researchers," he wrote in a letter nominating Zasio for the O’Neill award. "… those 'in the know' are aware that Reese is a near-magic man. He routinely finds creative solutions to complicated problems when no one else seems able to find a way."

Neurobiology Professor Ben Barres, who has worked closely with Zasio for about 20 years, praised his efficiency, professionalism, problem solving and leadership abilities in a letter nominating Zasio for the award. "He has always been there for my lab, doing whatever it takes to help our research get done, often exerting himself way beyond the call of duty," Barres wrote, citing the time Zasio helped him consolidate all of his lab mice in one room to stop the transmission of viral infections from other mice.

Radiology Professor Michael Moseley, who is the chair of the Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care at Stanford, described Zasio as the "go-to guy" to whom everyone turns with problems, issues, special needs and future demands. "He has made Stanford a first-class research institution," Moseley said. "We at Stanford stand tall in our respective fields worldwide, largely because we are standing on the shoulders of dedicated and capable people like Reese Zasio."

Sherril Green (Supervisor)