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COSAM Staff Spotlight - Jeff Estep

Published: 10/08/2019

By: Maria Gebhardt

Jeff Estep manages the Research Electronics Support Facility in COSAM, but provides services to a variety of different groups on campus. His primary mission is to maintain and repair scientific instruments used in labs and classrooms including work on a centrifuge all the way up to X-Ray diffraction instruments. He interacts with faculty, researchers, staff, and students to try to maintain and repair instruments.  Jeff has also even completed design work for control systems and circuit interfaces.

Q: What year did you start at COSAM?
A: I started at the university in August 2014.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A:  I enjoy several aspects of my job.  I love working with faculty, staff, and students to help resolve instrument issues. I love the fact that my job really isn’t the same day to day. There are always new challenges and opportunities to learn something new related to scientific instruments, their use, and the engineering behind them.  It keeps me on my toes. But, I have always felt that learning is something you do for a lifetime, you don’t just stop.  This job just fits me and I love wearing it.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received at COSAM and from whom?
A:  I think it was when I started. I was nervous about my ability to fit in to a university environment, learning how things worked at Auburn, nervous about working with so many truly brilliant researchers/faculty/graduate students, and being unfamiliar with new equipment in the labs. It was from Dr. Ortiz when he hired me and from Lynn Walker that I recieved the best advice. They told me that it takes many disciplines to make things work at Auburn and that collaboration was the key to success because not everyone has all the answers. That made me feel better about being able to contribute to Auburn’s success and our student’s success.

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I am originally from a small town in northeast Tennessee, Elizabethton.  That is home, but I was an Army brat and lived in Germany, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas as a child.  I have several adopted homes in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

Q: What three words best describe you?
A:  Independent, dependable, and trustworthy.  

Q: What are your hobbies?
A:  Well, I am a Yorkie Dad to Miss Abbie and Mr. Axel, and that takes a lot of time.  I enjoy college football and motor sports.  My biggest hobby is music. I play guitar and like to tinker at writing some music.  I am the greatest guitarist you have never heard!  I find playing guitar, studying new styles, and just working to get better at it the most awe inspiring and humbling thing I have ever done.  One day, you never hit a wrong note and it flows like water.  The next day, you can’t buy a right note. But, I keep picking it up and trying.  I’ll be really good when I am 80.

Q: What is the one thing you do when no one is around?
A: Sometimes, when the students leave for the holidays in December, I love to walk across campus.  It gets so quiet and peaceful.  

Q: What is your favorite place on campus?
A:  That is hard question to answer because the campus is so beautiful.  I haven’t been here all that long and I am still discovering new places every day.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Pizza! 

Q: What is your dream travel destination?
A:  I would love to travel to Australia.  I had an opportunity to go work there as an ex-pat years ago, but unfortunately that did not work out.

Q: What is your most memorable experience at COSAM?
A:  I think for me, it is just being here and being able to contribute in some small way.  Being to help makes my step a lot higher and lighter.  I think being able to serve and help in COSAM and at Auburn is a definite highlight in my life and I am so glad to do it.

Q: If you could trade places with anyone at COSAM for just one day, who would it be and why?
A:  Any of the researchers.  I would love to feel what it is like to know some of the things they know, even for just a little while.

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