Charlene Fuller Retires After 33 Years at UConn
After 11 years as the Business Manager at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Charlene Fuller came to the Department of Chemistry during a period of great excitement: construction of the “new” Chemistry Building was nearing completion. Through this time of many changes, projects in the Main Stockroom remained constant. Although Charlene’s original role within the Department outlined other responsibilities, she was attracted to the Main Stockroom manager position when the previous manager announced his retirement.
In short order, Charlene expertly managed the operation of the Main Stockroom. Charlene’s first project involved computerizing the Main Stockroom with management software and bar code technology. Using these new tools, Charlene created a building-wide chemical inventory database system where data was collected in various formats, standardized, and housed safely.
Now, protocol requires new chemicals to be added to the inventory system upon arrival in the Main Stockroom. Building residents are also provided with search/view privileges, enabling UConn Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) compliance, resource sharing, and cost savings. Through the years, Charlene led the Main Stockroom through several iterations of modernizations, to the point where the Chemistry Department’s chemical inventory system—developed in close collaboration with an external vendor—became the model for the university-wide inventory system.
Most in the Chemistry Building never knew anyone other than Charlene as the manager of all chemical and supplies orders. For many years, she served on departmental and university safety committees. In 2017, Charlene received national recognition when she was named Stockroom Manager of the Year by the National Association of Scientific Materials Managers (NAOSMM).
Department Head Christian Brückner notes, “Everyone in the building benefited from her expertise, her uncanny ability to anticipate our research supply needs, and attention to detail. Above all, she was the always-cheery face of the loading dock-side of the department everyone knew and appreciated.”
Although her 22-year career is filled with countless professional milestones, Charlene is most proud of the relationships that she has formed over her career. “One of the most rewarding aspects of this job has been mentoring staff and students,” Charlene says. “I am grateful for all I have learned from each individual. I will miss these interactions and working among such talented and remarkable individuals.”
Deservedly—and yet hard to believe—Charlene will retire at the end of January 2021 after 33 years at UConn. Charlene has ambitious post-employment plans that include: “family, friends, travel, literature, habitat and wildlife conservation, writing projects, fiber arts, candle making, gardening, music, adventurous cooking, volunteering, and a splash of activism. I look forward to the possibilities.”
The Department wishes her all the best for the many endeavors to come.