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Staff Spotlight: Deborah Ask

Released by Panhandle State Campus Communications on 06/13/2018 Deborah Ask —Photo by Chris Urias Deborah Ask —Photo by Chris Urias

It only takes a minute of visiting with the Murphy-Brown Water Quality Testing Lab Director Deborah Ask to see her passion for the work she does, as well as the passion she has for educating the region regarding water testing.

Born in Elk City, Okla., Deborah and her family moved many times throughout her childhood and she is familiar with both small town and city life. She attended college at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Kennesaw, Ga. and earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry in 2007. While taking courses at KSU, Deborah met her husband Michael Ask and the couple was married in June 2007.

Following graduation and marriage, Michael and Deborah moved to Dallas and she worked at Collin County Community College as a Chemistry Lab Adjunt Instructor before the couple moved to the Panhandle. Deborah took a job at High Plains Bioenergy plant as a Lab Analyst and Michael took courses at Panhandle State where he now instructs Math and Physics.

In October of 2008, Deborah accepted the job as the Lab Supervisor at the Water Lab on the Panhandle State campus where she has served as the Director for a year.

Originally, the lab primarily performed bacterial analysis. From there, the services the lab provides has grown and currently the Water Lab offers drinking water, wastewater, and other testing services to communities, businesses, schools and individuals in the Oklahoma panhandle and nearby areas. In addition, field sampling is available. The Water Lab is accredited and each year goes through a renewal process to keep that accreditation current.

Deborah and her team, Lab Technician Billy Pier and Water Lab Assistant Jamie Stout, take great care in meeting the needs of the area. They have an open door policy and are always willing to troubleshoot any problems or answer any questions that may arise. A great educational opportunity, the Water Lab also offers course credit to students who work in the lab.

As far as Deborah’s favorite thing about Panhandle State, she likes the accumulation of knowledge that is represented. “Whether I need my favorite book repaired or need to identify a certain weed that bothers me, I know who to go to that will be able to help me.”

Deborah and Michael have two boys and aside from family time, she enjoys reading, going to the movies, building Legos, and backpacking. One of her favorite activities is seeing her husband on stage in a community theater production.