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Assembly of Laboratory Staff Elects Officers and Councilors

By Eddy Ball
May 2009

AOLS Group
The new officers gather for a group photo. In the front row, left to right, are Brown, Goulding, Ward, Foley and Sieber. In the back row are, left to right, Myers and DeGraff. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

On April 14, the NIEHS Assembly of Laboratory Staff (AoLS) announced the results of its online election of officers and councilors, paving the way for the first organization of its type at NIEHS to serve as an officially sanctioned advocate for the interests of laboratory technical staff - much as the Assembly of Scientists performs that role for the Institute's staff scientists and principal investigators. The initial group of officers and councilors includes five members of the AoLS steering committee, which hosted an organizational meeting ( on March 4.

Officers include President Gina Goulding, a biologist in the NIEHS Gamete Biology Group, President-elect Paula Brown, also a biologist in the Gamete Biology Group, and Secretary Stella Sieber, a biological science laboratory technician in the Microarray Core ( They will serve two-year terms, with Brown rotating into the position of president on January 1 of the second year of her term, as Goulding assumes the post of past-president and ex-officio council member for an additional year.

Elected as councilors are Biological Science Laboratory Technician Laura Miller DeGraff of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Group, Special Techniques Group ( Leader Julie Foley, Biologist Page Myers of the Comparative Medicine Branch and Biologist Toni Ward of the Polypeptide Hormone Action Group. DeGraff and Myers were members of the AoLS Steering Committee.

Councilors are elected by the Assembly for terms of two years, with two to be elected each year. The first AoLS committee meeting will determine which two of the newly elected councilors will serve one-year terms to give the council its constitutionally mandated continuity.

The AoLS was created at the recommendation of the NIEHS Organizational Climate Committee "to develop training and career advancement opportunities, enhancing professional excellence and our contribution to the Institute goals. The Assembly will serve as a general forum for communication, as a means to formulate and express opinion, and as an instrument to render advice and to take action pursuant to the general objectives of the laboratory staff." At its organization meeting, many attendees expressed an interest in working toward improving promotion and evaluation guidelines for laboratory staff, who are career employees working in general service grades 5 through 12.

The AoLS will meet in the spring and fall each year. Special meetings can be called by a vote of the council and in response to a written petition by at least ten members of the assembly.

(Note: The AoLS has a website (, which employees may access within the Institute's internal network or offsite via an NIH/NIEHS connection. Posted there are nominee statements by candidate for office.)

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