Robert Fulton: Holding One of
the Most Unusual Position at CSUF
by Dave Reid
From Dateline (May 8, 2003)
Former graduate student Rob Fulton
has lived at the Desert Studies
Center in the eastern Mojave Desert
for 17 years as the center's
resident manager. Thousands have
visited the center to study geology,
paleontology, climatology, astronomy,
desert flora and fauna, and the
natural history of the area.
Desert Studies Center
Length of Service:
California native Rob Fulton was a biology graduate student
on campus when he heard about the newly acquired Zzyzx facility
that became the Desert Studies Center. For years, Fulton said
he was “geographically challenged” for a social
life and remained single. That changed about six years ago when
he was introduced to Sandra, an X-ray technician he later married.
They live year-round at the center in an air-conditioned residence.
As resident manager of the Desert Studies Center – where the
winter temperatures can dip to 8 degrees and summer temperatures soar
to 120 degrees – Rob Fulton must have one of the most unusual
staff jobs in the CSU system. He is responsible for managing
the development and operations of the facilities, which can support
up to 80 students and faculty members. This includes operating all
on-site utilities, maintaining library and museum holdings, organizing
lodging and equipment needs of visitors, leading tours, teaching classes
and working on research projects.
Situated in the Mojave National Preserve at Soda Springs,
the center is a scientific field station operated by a consortium
of CSU campuses. Originally a resort operated by evangelist Curtis
Springer, it serves more than 1,500 students, researchers and visiting
scientists, each year, according to William Presch, professor of
biological science and center director.