The athletes didn’t wear flashy uniforms. Opening ceremonies featured no royalty.
But Anjalynn Mitchell is still pretty proud of herself. She is a quality specialist at ARUP Laboratories, a national reference laboratory based out of the University of Utah, whose team won the gold medal at this year’s Pipetting Olympics.
Individual gold, silver, and bronze medals as well as certificates were awarded to competitors whose scores fall within specific ranges. Each participating company or organization submitted scores from 10-person teams, with over 400 participants in total.
Teams from ARUP took first and second place with scores of 0.091% coefficient of variance (CV) and 0.123% CV. Last year’s gold medalist, Haematologic Technologies from Essex Junction, VT, came in third with a score of 0.124% CV.
In part, ARUP attributes its performance to a pipetting competency training program that was first implemented two years ago. “It serves as a testimony to our commitment to training and quality assurance. At ARUP, we put the patient first and we are committed to providing the highest quality laboratory services to our clients,” said Edward Ashwood, president and CEO of ARUP Laboratories, in a press release.
The medals also reflect ARUP’s tireless search to uncover Olympic-caliber talent. Just as China and the US lead the medal race in London because of their large populations and devotion to all sports, ARUP employs a sizeable force of laboratory personnel.
But ARUP doesn’t stop there.
It scours all its departments, inviting participation from would-be Olympians from IT, human resources, and business development. A few of these non-scientific professionals laid down elite performances and were part of the medal-winning teams.
Olympians everywhere vie to be the greatest in the world at their athletic pursuit. Some are driven by pride of country, some by desire for personal acclamation, and others just to compete on an international stage with all the world watching. ARUP’s Olympians have their own draw. “A lot of people participated to get free pizza,” said Mitchell, who helps organize the company’s efforts.
The exercise has its serious side. Laboratory personnel can compare their score from year to year and use it as a benchmark to improve their techniques. Some might have a surprisingly high score, which could prompt some reexamination of technique, and that’s something that can be fed into the pipetting training program. “It helps with education,” said Mitchell.
In addition to hosting the annual pipetting games, Artel provides a series of tips to help coach participants on proper pipetting technique. To gain access to technique-improving tips, share experiences and post pictures and videos of the Artel Pipetting Olympics, visit the Artel Pipetting Olympics Facebook page.