Holiday Decorating Contest - A Way to Meet Fellow Employees

By Ashley DeVine, Staff Writer; photos by Richard Frederickson, Staff Photographer
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The NCI Office of Scientific Operations (Building 427) received first place (group) in the Holiday Decorating Contest. From left: Janet Salter, Cushena Tribble, Melissa Porter, Laura Geil, and Amber Elia. 

The trolls from “Frozen,” a North Pole tunnel, and a Christmas tree­–shaped periodic table of elements were just a few of the decorations on display during the second annual Holiday Decorating Contest in December.

The contest, sponsored by the R&W Club Frederick, awarded prizes to three groups and two individuals whose decorations were judged based on visual impact, creativity, and craftsmanship.

The first-place group award went to the NCI Office of Scientific Operations (OSO), Building 427, for its theme “Frozen.” Those walking through the building were greeted with the “Welcome to a Frozen Holiday” sign, as well as lights and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. The building staff even created the “Frozen” castle.

The Molecular Targets Laboratory (Building 562, second floor) won the second-place group award for “Holiday Fun in the Lab.”

“We used common lab or recycled items for most of the decorations and to emphasize the chemical aspects of the lab,” said Heidi Bokesch, a scientist in the Molecular Targets Laboratory.

Some of the notable decorations included a 10-foot tree made of the period table of elements; a snowman made from autoclave baskets, chemical spill pads, and an ice bucket; and a tree constructed using a ring stand, clamps, and various flasks filled with colored water.

The group enjoyed “looking around the lab and seeing the potential in commonly used lab items to become unique and fun holiday decorations,” Bokesch said.

The third-place group award went to the Applied and Developmental Research Directorate (ADRD) labs in Building 310, for the theme “Favorite Holiday Movies.” A few of the movies featured were “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Christmas Story,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

“We won first place last year, but the most important lesson we learned was that, even though many of us have been in the same building for six years, we didn’t ever really know people from the other labs,” said Debbie Long Priel, associate scientist and laboratory supervisor, Neutrophil Monitoring Laboratory. “The best part about participating in this contest is building team effort and morale.”

Two individual winners were also awarded, both in Building 244. First place went to Courtney Kennedy, financial systems analyst, and second place went to Chris Rowe, financial analyst. The judges noted that Kennedy won first place because “every inch of her office was covered with decorations.”

All winners received gift certificates to Glory Days from the R&W Club Frederick. Group and individual entries were judged by Lorie Sanders and Michelle Hewitt, U.S. Army Garrison.

The Molecular Targets Laboratory (Building 562, second floor) won second place (group) in the Holiday Decorating Contest. From left: Heidi Bokesch, Jonathan Singh, and Laura Cartner.The Applied and Developmental Research Directorate laboratories in Building 310 were awarded third place (group) in the Holiday Decorating Contest. From left: Kimberly Batty, Dani Fink, Victoria Burks, Robin Dewar, Helene Highbarger, and Jan Warfield.Courtney Kennedy won the first-place individual award in the Holiday Decorating Contest.Chris Rowe’s “Bad Santa” holiday decorations won him second place in the individual category of the contest. Photo courtesy of Chris Rowe.Decorations in Building 427, NCI Office of Scientific OperationsDecorations in Building 562, second floor, Molecular Targets LaboratoryDecorations in Building 427, NCI Office of Scientific OperationsDecorations in Building 427, NCI Office of Scientific OperationsDecorations in Building 427, NCI Office of Scientific OperationsDecorations in Building 310, Applied and Developmental Research DirectorateDecorations in Building 562, second floor, Molecular Targets LaboratoryDecorations in Building 562, second floor, Molecular Targets LaboratoryScientific Library staff in Building 549 created a book tree as part of the contest. Photo courtesy of the Scientific Library.

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