When prospective families are introduced to the “cool tunnel” connecting the library and the Koch, they learn about the connected classroom and lab, flexible science curriculum and impressive higher-level electives; but rarely mentioned is the Bio/Chem prep room.
With its varied apparatus and mysterious purpose, the prep room is uncharted territory for most students.
Yet, it is exactly that prep room that enables the Biology and Chemistry classes to host labs and conduct experiments efficiently within the Deerfield schedule.
But the room is nothing without the efforts of Robin Lempicki, the Laboratory and Research Supervisor, who manages all of the labs for the fifteen science disciplines within Biology and Chemistry at Deerfield. For over twenty years, she has been the backbone of the lab science program, creating and testing out new labs while preparing current ones for students.
As Heidi Valk, chair of the Science department, puts it, “We could not do what we do without her.”
It doesn’t stop there. On top of preparing labs, Ms. Lempicki also keeps stock of all the supplies and budgets for the entire Science department.
Ms. Lempicki’s work is much appreciated by Deerfield science students such as Ryan Welch ’20, who said, “I love her, and we are all so thankful for everything that she does.”
It all started when Ms. Lempicki decided to tour Deerfield after fourteen years at the University of Massachusetts.
Funny enough, Deerfield was the “practice” interview for her. And yet, ever since she stepped foot on campus, Ms. Lempicki said, “It just clicked, because the people made me feel very welcomed and I haven’t ever regretted it.”
While one might imagine the job to be stressful, Ms. Lempicki regards it in an entirely different light.
Coming from a background of stressful grant writing at the university, she says that working at Deerfield has been “fun because the job changes every day.”
For Ms. Lempicki, change is a key part of why she loves science. “It’s kind of funny. It’s always changing, but not.” While there are advancements in technologies that are reflected by courses such as Experimental Neurology, taught by Dr. Teutsch, the “foundation always stays the same for me. [That’s why] I think I would go crazy if I had a desk job.”
The changing nature of the sciences has also inspired Ms. Lempicki outside of the classroom. “Life goes fast!” she said. “You don’t want to regret anything.” She advises that even though it may feel like time to “pull out your hair,” it’s time to “be kids” and not to worry about “the little things.” Jokingly, she added, “It’s okay to not go to Harvard.”
To the seniors, Ms. Lempicki offers a few words of advice rarely heard in competitive academic environments:
“Although it’s cliché, don’t go with the norm. When you go to school, you really don’t know what you want to be. I mean, you don’t. If I were to go back, I would totally be a forensic scientist out on the field. You’re young, you don’t know what you really really want to do.”
For her, work is ultimately about passion. “Like most people, you’re going to be working for a good portion of your life, why not do something you like?”