I took over the facility in 1996. We had aging equipment, no assistance, there were huge budget cuts that year and I was told, “There was no money. The only money you're gonna get are your wages. Everything else has to come from user fees.” I had to find funds for service contracts and we had to increase our user base.
I figured I would have to find an assistant because there is no way one can run a TEM, an SEM and confocal and light microscope facilities alone. So I found a grant called “First Job in Science and Technology” which would give me a graduate student for one year, and we had a summer student who had just graduated and was looking for a job before she went on to graduate school. She learned really fast and by February she was excellent, but by May/June we were back into the same boat again.