Administrative Assistant Eva Groves Retires After 21 Years of Service

Nov. 6, 2023
Eva Grove sits at her office desk with flowers from her retirement celebration.

Eva Groves seen here at her desk with orchids from her retirement celebration. Photo: Danielle Schmitt, GEO Lab Manager

On November 1, 2023, administrative assistant Eva Groves retired from the Department of Geosciences after 21 years of service. The department held a retirement celebration for her on Wednesday, September 20. Many department members attended including faculty, students, and staff. Two of Eva’s long-time “bosses,” Professors François Morel and Danny Sigman each gave a farewell speech. Prof. Morel reminisced about their long working relationship and Prof. Sigman praised her for being very innovative in handling the craziest of requests and making everyone feel comfortable at the department. Eva was called upon, not only by faculty, but by their research associates, their graduate students, and their undergraduate students. It was noted that Eva always performed with kindness and a smile.

Eva was originally hired in 2002 to be Prof. Morel’s assistant. At that time, he was the director of the Princeton Environmental Institute, now known as High Meadows Environmental Institute. Eva recalls how excited and nervous she was on returning to work, after a long hiatus of raising three children. This nervousness was confirmed on her very first assignment. She was asked to type a manuscript from an oral dictation from Prof. Morel. He has a heavy French accent that made it difficult to grasp some of the scientific words such as aquachelins, phytoplankton, coccolithophore, emiliania huxleyi, etc. Eva had to think of a solution to overcome this difficulty. After some research, she discovered a software program that would type via voice. Unfortunately, Prof. Morel had to teach the software his type of accented English by reading to it for many hours. Yet because of this initiative, Prof. Morel gave Eva kudos for her innovative approach; and she went on to assist him for the next 16 years until his retirement in 2018. He always made it a point to stop by her office even after his retirement.

Over her 21 years of service, Eva gave a helping hand to many geochemists or climate scientists at Geosciences. Many held high public profiles in the news and science world, particularly regarding the changing climate. Eva was relied upon and trusted to assist in presenting their professional images. The roster includes: Prof. Curtis Deutsch, Director of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Prof. Stephan Fueglistaler, Prof. Ching-Yao Lai, Prof. David Medvigy, Albert G. Blanke, Professor of Geosciences, and former Director of the Princeton Environmental Institute, Prof. François Morel, Prof. Satish Myneni, Prof. Laure Resplandy, Dusenbury Prof. of Geological and Geophysical Sciences Prof. Daniel Sigman, Director of High Meadows Environmental Institute Prof. Gabriel Vecchi, and Prof. Xinning Zhang, and sadly mentioned the now deceased Prof. Tullis Onstott *81 (1955-2021).

Eva and Prof. Onstott held a close working relationship for over 10 years. In 2011, Onstott co-discovered Halicephalobus mephisto, famously known as the “devil worm.” This nematode worm lives more than two miles underground and was found deep in a South African mine. It is known to science as the deepest multicellular organism! There were documentaries and news articles about the discovery. Eva helped Prof. Onstott address this celebrity and assisted him to put his best foot forward to the public. To initiate an event commemorating his life and contributions, Eva reached out to grieving family, friends, researchers, and students to prepare a day-long symposium in order to honor Prof. Onstott on May 14, 2022. Once again, Eva made this event a positive experience and created a meaningful event for the department.

Eva’s tasks went far above the norm of an assistant admin. For example, she would research logistics for packages sent from exotic places like South Africa and Siberia, she became proficient in web development for building laboratory websites, and often quickly pulled university resources to get something ready for a class or lab on any giving day. She often helped her close friend, event planner Mary Rose Russo, to wrap-up after many an occasion at the department. Eva helped beyond the walls of Guyot Hall. One of her last major projects was to assist at the ICoN8 conference held this summer for over 300 geochemists at the Frist Chemistry Laboratory. She held no qualms in working the long hours to support the five-day event.

Eva Groves surely will be missed by the entire department and by the many colleagues she acquired over the 21 years of working at Geosciences. She had what it took to support our complex academic, office, and social needs. Congratulations as she moves on to the next chapter in her life. We all will remember her service with a smile and her ability to handle any crisis. Accept this heartfelt thank you.