Staff of the Month Nominations and Winners
Winner: Madi Jones (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
“Madi Jones is the library's circulation manager and in this role, she works closely with the library's student employees. Over the last month or more, Madi has been welcoming student employees back to campus, interviewing, hiring, and training students.
"Madi also reworked the library's training program and incorporated more elements of active learning. Madi has worked with students to connect their job to the library's mission and the college's mission. Moreover, she creates lasting relationships with the library's student employees. It is not uncommon to see a graduated student come back to the library to visit with Madi and say hello. Madi truly cares about students and wants to see them succeed. Madi is a student advocate and a wonderful colleague.”
Winner: Reese Julian (Nominated by Bri Buckley)
“Summer is an incredibly busy time for Oliver, and in the past 2 years he has completely re-invented and improved upon the Student Orientation Experiences—twice! Oliver organized this critical student interaction extremely well, communicated and coordinated with campus partners, and was very successful. Oliver should be recognized for the amount of work he put into ensuring the Student Orientation Experiences happens within the constraints of the pandemic, with safety as one of the top concerns.”
Winner: Steve Splinter (Nominated by Jerad Nigh and Jess Sweitzer)
Jerad Nigh: “Steve Splinter is everything you could ask for in a Campus Patrol officer. His attitude and the dedication that he brings to our department are unparalleled. His service to the college with students, staff, and the other Campus Patrol officers is a shining example of how we all should be. I’m honored to work with Steve, and I wish I could clone 3 more of him! He makes my job easier every day he walks through the door. Not only do I nominate him for employee of the month, I’d also nominate him for employee of the year.”
Jess Sweitzer: “Steve, one of our fabulous Campus Patrol officers, always goes above and beyond for our campus and students. No matter how silly a student's request may be, Steve will find a way to assist them. Steve can always be counted on for a hello and a smile, no matter how dreary or long his day may be.
"Recently, Steve answered a call to an on-campus resident who had a bee in their living space. The resident trapped the bee under a cup but was afraid to take any further action because of an allergy. Steve quickly responded, removed the bee from the space, and helped the resident not feel so silly for requesting help. This is just one of many examples of how Steve will go above and beyond.”
Winner: Reese Julian (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
“Reese is the Library's new head of collections and access. Reese started in August 2020 and his role was immediately more complicated due to the pandemic. One of his first projects was to help us better navigate streaming films. Reese made huge improvements to our streaming film process and procedures. In order to do this, he collaborated with the Information Services department and the web team. Reese did research on copyright/fair use and worked with colleagues across the nation who were dealing with similar issues.
Reese's top priorities were ensuring that we could get films that faculty and students needed, making sure that films were captioned so they were accessible, and that our process maintained Westminster's high ethical standards. The new procedures saved the library thousands of dollars and allowed students and faculty to access the films that they need. Reese's work on this project definitely represents college-wide excellence!”
Mary Alley (Nominated by Kara McShane Hefley)
"Mary started her time as the administrative assistant for the Meldrum Science Center just a few weeks before COVID-19 changed everything about our work lives. At a time when I had hoped to be helping Mary get settled and trained and feel comfortable in her new position, I was completely unable to do that.
While it would have been acceptable for Mary to just keep Meldrum afloat and do only the most essential of tasks, she dedicated herself and jumped in wholeheartedly. She did an enormous amount of work to make Meldrum a safe space for faculty and students who sometimes had to be in the labs but still follow distancing guidelines. She continues to take on new responsibilities and is helping the School of Arts and Sciences in countless ways. Mary has been a consistently reliable presence and has excelled in supporting other members of her team.
In addition to being amazing at her job, Mary is a person who is thoughtful and kind and always adds something positive to discussions. She has the awareness and respect for others that make Westminster special. Mary always makes me smile!"
Winner: Rick Hackford (Nominated by Shay Wyatt)
“Rick and his Athletic training staff of 3 continually go above and beyond to meet the care and treatment of our 280+ student-athletes. On a daily basis, Rick and his team manage a multitude of tasks and are stretched thin, but continue to provide quality service and support to our athletic programs and student-athletes. This position requires long hours including nights and weekends, plus travel and even more so this year with the COVID-19 protocols he and his team have been required to manage. Frankly, the work/life balance is poor 10 months out of the year for Athletic trainers, but Rick is very passionate and caring about the work he and his team does on behalf of our student-athletes.
Rick is held in high regard by our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and myself. The college is very fortunate to have Rick as is our Athletics department. As I recall, he's now in his sixteenth year or more at the college and has continually performed his job very well. This nomination is long overdue and very deserving and I hope it will receive the strong consideration it deserves. Thank you.”
Bri Buckley (Nominated by Bill Self)
"Bri is literally the glue that binds Westminster College. Her dedication to our campus and her work to keep things running smoothly is commendable. Her kindness and ability to stay calm under stressful situations is amazing. She is always a step ahead of any and all issues that seem to arise. She spends long hours making our college a safer and better place. Without her perseverance, we would be lost as Westminster. She is my role model when I feel like I want to give up and she is a remarkable asset to Westminster."
Winner: Hannah Thorne (Nominated by Meg Quigley and Harrison Kasper)
Meg Quigley: “Hannah is the walking and talking embodiment of collaboration and teamwork. She has done an amazing job planning this year's One Westminster Day, working with faculty and staff from almost every area across campus. We are so lucky to have her representing the Institutional Advancement team with all these people. She is always respectful and inclusive (and incredibly patient) while still keeping everything moving forward on schedule. On top of all that, she is warm and funny and truly a pleasure to work with.”
Harrison Kasper: “Hannah has been nothing but welcoming since I've been hired here in September. Her qualities through staff council are evident that she promotes being part of the larger Westminster team making everyone feel involved regardless of background or department. I love the passion she puts into the work of connecting all of us even during a pandemic when it can be a struggle or can be a point where we don't want to put much effort in what we're doing as much as we used to.”
Winner: Erin Merrill (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
“Erin has made the library a welcoming place this year despite the difficulties of COVID-19. She created a popular outdoor and safe Library Fair event in August. Then in December, she reimagined our finals events to make them safe and still show students that we care about them. She created grab and go finals bags that had snacks, pens, highlighters, stickers, mini-Rubik's Cubes, coloring books, crayons, hand warmers, and a 3D-printed 'support cat.' They were a huge hit. If you've ever liked a Giovale Library tweet, that's Erin! In addition to creating a welcoming environment, Erin has taken on extra work load this year as she is our only instruction librarian.
One of Westminster's core values is 'impassioned teaching and active learning.' Erin embodies this whether she is in person or remote instruction or synchronous or asynchronous teaching. She has happily taken on extra teaching and other responsibilities. She is a wonderful team player.
Outside of the library, this year Erin is the chair of the Staff Council. She has encouraged the Staff Council to respond to the needs of all the staff on campus during this unprecedented time. She really cares about the campus and listens to staff. Moreover, she has touted staff accomplishments and voiced concerns on the Leadership Council and at the Board of Trustee meetings. Erin is truly deserving of this award.”
Winner: Jess Sweitzer (Nominated by Bri Buckley)
"Jess Sweitzer fulfills an incredibly important role on campus, which is even more important during this semester as resident students need to live in safe, healthy, and secure arrangements. Jess and her staff have worked hard this semester ensuring that any campus resident with a need for temporary living arrangements has their needs met, including food, academic and mental health support. Jess has been able to respond quickly and apply ingenuity to incidents that have popped up on campus, and has been an integral part of keeping the entire campus community safe."
Laura Kendellen (Nominated by Michael Santarosa)
"Laura has been exceptional to work with as we transition our academic catalogs to the new OU Campus platform. She's organized, responsive, creative, and committed to excellence. Her support with the catalog will allow us to better support faculty with curriculum and policy changes. Her hard work and dedication on the website support the whole college's ability to represent ourselves in the best light possible."
Wendy Palmer (Nominated by Jodi Mayo)
"Wendy was the first person I ever met when I walked onto Westminster Campus for my interview. She is so friendly and always has a smile on her face. She is very responsive, bright and does one heck of a job auditing. Wendy is sharp and willing to help wherever, all while being a pleasure to work with."
Oliver Anderson (Nominated by Margaret Regier)
"Oliver has worked tirelessly in his entire Westminster career, but even more so in the last few months with all of the changeover in the Dean of Students Office. Despite an already small team Oliver has managed to deliver high quality programming, worked across campus to build relationships, and provides excellent mentoring to our students."
Elhom Gosink (Nominated by Kiana Avlon)
"Elhom is one of the hardest workers I've met. In addition to her work ethic, she's always thinking 5 steps ahead of everyone else. The Admissions Office is very lucky to have someone as diligent as Elhom."
Winner: Bill Self (Nominated by Bri Buckley)
"Bill has stepped into his new role in Student Health Services in the time when the office has had to expand not only the type of services provided, but at a significantly higher volume than in past years. He has worked tirelessly to provide testing and consultation service to our students and the impact that he has had, and continues to have, in keeping our campus community safe and healthy cannot be overstated. He, Lauren Deming, and the rest of the Student Health Services staff deserve recognition for the hard work that they have put in this year, and this semester in particular during this challenging time."
Alexa Price (Nominated by Christie Fox)
"I want to nominate Alexa for staff of the month because she is always going above and beyond. I don't work in the Admissions Office, but I do work in Converse and for months, I've seen Alexa giving presentations to visiting families—masked, of course—and she's often standing to be more professional while she is talking to these folks at a table in the Richer Commons. She also always volunteers to help, whether it be to track down students who haven't registered for a Griffin GearUp or to help locate late arrivals on campus. She's always excited to learn more about what's happening in the classroom or elsewhere on campus so that she can share that with prospective students.
Recently, she reached out to me about one of her students who hasn't connected yet on campus and who needed some additional academic advice. Alexa exemplifies Westminster's values by always putting students first and striving for excellence in everything she does. She is curious and interested individual students as well as the Westminster student body as a whole. She is always ready to share a smile and an optimistic outlook, something even more valuable these days. I honestly think that the Admissions Office has one of the hardest jobs on campus right now and Alexa is out there every day, giving her best and working hard. I am proud to call her a colleague!"
Winner: Twila Wycoff (Nominated by Natalie Seely)
"Twila Wycoff has been an imperative staff member in helping me complete the daily business tasks required in the Risk Management and Legal department. Twila is kind, professional, and goes the extra mile to solve various accounting issues. I also appreciate her communication, follow up, and willingness to work with tight deadlines. Since working with the "new norm" of COVID-19 and going more paperless, I have a greater appreciation for staff like Twila, who work behind the scenes to help the College run smoothly. I respect and commend all the work Twila performs in Accounts Payable. She is one of the reasons why Westminster College is a great place to work. Thank you so much, Twila!"
Elise Holbrook (Nominated by Meghan Wall)
"Elise exemplifies the core values of passion, respect, collaboration, personal/social responsibility, college-wide excellence and high ethical standards in her careful and thorough collaboration with me to revise the Dance Program general landing page. I am a new faculty member at Westminster this year, learning policies and procedures primarily through virtual modes and with few personal interactions. Although we have not met in person, Elise made me feel welcome, all the while orienting me to the systems and standards for web-content changes, including advocating for fairness/timeline/workload and being compassionate with my steep learning curve. Elise generously gave time and expertise to update our general program page to meet an Admissions deadline, passing edits back and forth until we both felt the changes represented Westminster's standards. The comments and editing were clear, thoughtful, and truly embodied the perspective of a potential student reading the page and imagining themselves at Westminster. I remain so grateful that Elise was one of my first collaborative experiences at Westminster. Thank you, Elise!"
Daniel Cairo (Nominated by Jimmy Kendall)
"Daniel Cairo has taken over as the Dean of Students at Westminster College amidst a global pandemic, heightened culture of institutional precarity, and racially hostile climate. Daniel has done so with passion, fervor, and ardent dedication to ensuring our students feel supported, seen, heard, and valued. Atop this, Dan continues to grow programming and support for BIPOC students across campus that often face superfluous academic and personal obstacles compared to their white counterparts. He has taken it upon himself to coordinate diversity training forums and discussions that seek to encourage campus-wide dialogues about white supremacy and systemic racism, 2 issues crucial for historically white institutions such as ours to address and divest from. It is for these reasons, atop so many others, that Dan Cairo is deserving of this award."
Amy Westberg (Nominated by Hannah Thorne)
"Every time I work with Amy on a project, I am reminded of Westminster's core values of collaboration, teamwork, and college-wide excellence. She brings her collaborative spirit, passion for design, and a pursuit of excellence to every project. She works hard to bring our design projects to life and make them uniquely Westminster, patiently incorporating our team's feedback until the project hits the perfect tone. This month, she went above and beyond, finding places to borrow the internet so she could continue to work on the Annual Report when she lost power and internet for several days during the wind storm. Despite the difficult circumstances, Amy remained positive, collaborative, and her attention to detail didn't dwindle. Because of Amy, the Annual Report will reach donors on schedule and will tell a powerful story of the important work that happened at Westminster throughout the last academic year."
Kenton Gregory (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
"The windstorm and power outages earlier this month did damage to HVAC systems across campus. The library's chiller needed significant repairs. Kenton worked with AMS to get the chiller back running. He also kept the staff in the building updated on its status. Thank you, Kenton!"
Winner: Gabby Barker (Nominated by Michael Santarosa and Ashley Seitz Kramer)
Michael Santarosa: "Gabby made literally hundreds of changes to the Fall Semester 2020 schedule within the last month as faculty and administrative staff adapted courses in light of COVID-19. This involved changing instructional modalities, room capacities, course capacities, and meeting patterns, sometimes several times for each course. Gabby pays close attention to course details and maintains strong communication with scheduling liaisons in each academic school. Her dedication ensures that the published schedule is as accurate as possible, and people throughout our community know what to expect. Her ability to adapt and navigate unexpected complexities is an asset to us all.”
Ashley Seitz Kramer: "Gabby transitioned to a new role early this year, then she was immediately placed in a very difficult situation: helping us adapt to the room/space impacts of COVID-19. Gabby worked hard to manage an impossible list of complicated requests. Day in and day out, she communicated well about a host of variables. Not only did she find great, creative solutions (I refer to her now as 'Gabby the Magician'), but her work directly and positively impacted our faculty and students. This has been a very difficult summer of arranging/rearranging our classes and schedules, but it would have been far worse without Gabby's thoughtful work. Thank you, Gabby! We appreciate you."
Mary Alley (Nominated by Jessica Johnston)
"Mary has been an absolute rock star during the pandemic, particularly in the areas of collaboration and teamwork, and personal and social responsibility. Over the summer, Mary has been extremely helpful in identifying true classroom caps based on a minimum of the 6-feet distance between students. She has been very communicative about which rooms are available in Meldrum so that instructors might have some flexibility in class modality and has worked as a liaison between faculty and the Registrar's Office. She has set up cleaning stations and signage around the building to help students, faculty, and staff stay healthy and safe. No task is too big or too small for Mary; if it helps others, she'll do it!"
Erin Merrill (Nominated by Holden Rasmussen)
“Erin helped me devise an exciting and appropriate information literacy component to my course. This exemplifies the values of collaboration and teamwork and impassioned teaching. I was worried that we would not be able to provide a suitable exercise for students studying philosophy under the requirements established for WCore courses with a writing emphasis. Because of Erin’s willingness to work with me and learn about the goals of my class this semester, we have an information literacy module that will enrich the learning experience of students.”
Chante Jimenez (Nominated by Kalani Eggington)
“Chante is responsible for finding school placements for Westminster’s elementary and secondary education students. This has been an almost impossible task since the closure of schools in March. She dealt with the COVID-19 closures amazingly well and has continued to work hard to place all of this semester’s student teaches with strong mentor teachers. Our students have had many ongoing questions for Chante about their field placements since March, and she has answered all of their questions in a timely and professional manner. We could not have made it through these challenging months without Chante’s dedication and positive attitude. On top of all of this, she has done an incredible job collecting and organizing data for the School of Education’s accreditation process. She is amazing.”
Winner: Brianna Buckley (Nominated by Tamara Stevenson)
"Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Bri Buckley, per Bri's role as director of campus safety, has been at the forefront to guide the college in navigating safety policies and procedures. This task is especially challenging due to the need to coordinate and align internal information with external information that changes day by day. During the week of July 20, Bri facilitated at least 4 COVID-19 policy coordination meetings with stakeholder groups to develop, review, and revise step-by-step action steps to prepare for the college's planned in-person Fall Semester 2020 opening. Bri not only shared customized meeting agendas but followed up with copious meeting notes in a timely manner. Bri's approach to this work clearly demonstrates the depth of Bri's expertise, skills, and talents that Bri already brings to her role. The current context of the COVID-19 global pandemic highlights the value and gratitude that Bri deserves from our campus community."
Hannah Davenport (Nominated by Jodi Mayo)
“Hannah started earlier this year. She is so good with the students. She is quick on the phones, sharp, and answers questions with enthusiasm. Since the pandemic, she has been on-sight every day, providing phenomenal service to both students and employees.”
Alison Vasquez (Nominated by Debbie Tahmassebi)
“It has been a very volatile time in general right now, but certainly for our international student population. Alison Vasquez has been doing a tremendous job of keeping on top of fast-changing guidelines and supporting international students. She also took an incredible amount of time to respond to many inquiries, both internal and external, answering questions about how the changes would or would not impact our students. Working closely with Sara Demko, Alison has done an exceptional job under unusually stressful circumstances.”
Winner: Mary Denison (Nominated by Joshua Montavon)
"COVID-19 has created particularly tough financial situations for Westminster students. Luckily, Westminster has been granted about $1 million to provide to our students in the form of emergency grants. Mary has been a key member of the task force to make sure these funds are making it into the hands of our students. She has managed the organization of all incoming applications, took part in the review committee determining recipients, added grants to over 400 students' financial aid, communicated application results, and reached out to students for clarification or more information when necessary. This has required working until midnight to make sure grants have been added to students' accounts so the first set of payments could go out on time. All of these efforts have resulted in over $500,000 making it into the hands of Westminster students by the end of May. None of this would have been possible without her efforts to manage the process behind the awarding and distribution of these funds."
Bri Buckley (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer)
"Bri Buckley deserves Staff of the Month for so many reasons. Not only has Bri always been a delightful professional with whom to work, but they have also picked up leading our campus's safety initiatives in regard to COVID-19. No one was an expert in COVID-19, but Bri has worked diligently to create policies and provide suggestions to keep our entire campus safe. Their hard work and commitment have been greatly appreciated by my office and so many others. Have I mentioned that Bri continued to create policies and support all safety endeavors on campus in addition to their work with COVID-19?
There is no way to fully show appreciation to Bri for all that they have done for our campus, but I hope that this nomination is a start. Bri deserves so much appreciation from our entire campus."
Winner: Jerad Nigh (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer and Dough Schooley)
Jess Sweitzer: "Jerad Nigh is one of the most supportive folks on our campus. Jerad works hard to meet the needs of our campus in a friendly and supportive way. He regularly works to keep our students and our campus safe. Whenever something needs to be done, Jerad jumps in to help. He is truly a team player. We appreciate his positive nature and dedication to our campus. He is truly a collaborative individual."
Dough Schooley: "May presented numerous challenges to our Campus Patrol department. Officer Jerad Nigh performed his duties as Supervisor by completing numerous key requests and creating detailed scheduling of officers covering our campus properties. He also covered many shifts due to COVID-19 precautions from officers possibly exposed and then quarantined. He worked parts of all 3 shifts (day, afternoon, and night), seeming to effortlessly glide from day to day and week to week. I did not see him complain one time, and he remained very positive and extremely efficient during the performing of his numerous duties. The outcome of his efforts was solid, and he is a strong example for our department and observant staff members. His commitment to Westminster College is sincere. I am grateful to work on any team with Officer Nigh!"
Melissa Nisonger (Nominated by Michael Santarosa)
"After we closed the office and the rest of us started working remotely, Melissa came to the office each day and took on a lot of additional tasks that couldn't be done by other staff. Because Melissa was already the point person for "special registrations," that responsibility expanded, and she ended up handling the increased load of "unusual stuff." All of that assistance really helped us navigate the end of Spring and the start of May-term and Graduate Summer as smoothly as possible."
Alexa Price (Nominated by Quincey Otuafi)
"Alexa has been with Westminster for a little over a year, and she has been such an outstanding member of the admissions team. She is thoughtful and strategic in the work that she does. Alexa is always willing to help and has taken on many successful projects for our office. When I think of Alexa, I have nothing but good things to say about her and her commitment to serving prospective students and families as they make their decision to attend Westminster. She is an excellent liaison for Honors and overall student advocate."
Jovana Sisovic (Nominated by Orn Bodvarsson)
"Jovana is the Director of the Westminster Tax Clinic (WTC), which provides high quality, transformative internship experiences to Gore School of Business students and serves the broader community by providing pro bono tax preparation and financial advocacy services. The clinic is part of the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, comprising such tax clinics around the country. There are other clinics based at higher education institutions in Utah, but Westminster's clinic is the best thanks in large part to Jovana's outstanding leadership. Students register for a course in the Gore School, which has as its primary activity doing an internship in the clinic.
Jovana trains and mentors the student interns, who work directly with community clients, helping them with their taxes. These interns are generally very well trained and do a great job. Jovana also manages the business operations of the clinic, regularly bringing in enough grant money to keep the clinic as a self-sustaining operation.
The clinic is the highest producer of tax preparation services in the state and, without a doubt, has the biggest impact on the community. Jovana also puts on an annual two-day professional event called the Westminster Tax Institute. With the Westminster Tax Institute, tax professionals from around the region and some Westminster employees and students get two days of intensive training from speakers and other experts that Jovana recruits.
The Westminster Tax Institute is a highly respected training program and is always takes in more revenue than it costs to put on, the residual donated back to the community. The Westminster Tax Institute would not be so successful without Jovana's hard work. Jovana is a highly dedicated, professional, and super competent staff professional who is a joy to work with. I just can't think of a better staff-person on campus to get this award right now."
Donna Campbell (Nominated by Collin Bess)
"Donna has worked for Westminster College since 2014. Throughout her years at the institution, she has been dedicated to the mission of the college. She works in the admissions operations office, and she excels at her duties in processing all admissions documents that our institution receives, guiding student workers and staff, and keeping up with other projects are department is going through.
Donna has been great about building relationships with other departments across campus and being a mentor to staff members in the admissions office. We all look forward to speaking with Donna and sharing stories with her.
During the recent COVID-19 scare, she has demonstrated her commitment to the college by stepping up and adapting to the working from home environment. Donna is a key asset to keep the admissions department operating during these times and it would be great for the college to recognize her continual dedication and support."
Winner: Cate Jurek (Nominated by Gail Avendano)
"We have not been able to conduct flight lessons during the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" time frame. This has resulted in Cate's hours being cut out at the airport. Despite having to reduce her hours, she has worked harder than ever in supporting our students and in supporting our flight operations.
As we have been developing plans to resume flight training, Cate has been a superhero. Cate made cloth masks to share with staff and students at her own expense. She even went out of her way to generously deliver some to my house at the beginning of April.
Additionally, she has spent countless hours securing hand sanitizer, thermometers, sanitation wipes, gloves, and other supplies to make sure we are ready to resume flight training safely. This was no small feat with so many supplies being unavailable from normal suppliers.
She has also collaborated with the rest of the team to create wellness checklists and other guiding documents in preparation for resumed flight training. Yesterday, she even offered to create some training videos for our students and flight instructors. Her focus is always on others and what is best for our students.
Cate's response to the pandemic is a great example of who she is. She is truly working for our students and doing everything she can to take care of them. Cate is generous, kind, caring, and a very important part of our aviation team. And, because she works out at the airport, her efforts are sometimes hidden from the rest of the campus community. I want to make sure others are aware of how amazing she is. We rely on her in so many ways."
Taylor Graham (Nominated by Arikka Von)
"Taylor went above and beyond to recognize student work when the undergraduate conference couldn’t be held in person. Taylor created a stunning virtual undergraduate conference webpage and he did it in the blink of an eye. He received presentations from nearly 30 students just days before the conference date. He expertly designed a virtual experience so students could fulfill their WCore requirements."
Jimmy Kendall (Nominated by Christie Fox)
"Jimmy comes to work every day specifically to work with students facing some kind of precarity at Westminster. For example, he has created a new program for students on academic probation and has been meeting virtually with students every day since we went online to help them manage the change and create new academic plans for success. He offered vital insight when we discussed changing the CR/NC deadline and policies and as we work with students who might be failing. He also provides academic advising support to the Legacy Scholars program and works with (non-transfer) pre-nursing students to help them navigate the requirements of our competitive program. And, he's doing all of this while working on his PhD in Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah!"
Jana Smith (Nominated by Jodi Mayo)
"Jana was such an awesome trainer. She spent hours doing step by step notes and she did such a terrific job doing the W2 processing when it was her first year doing it. She had to learn many processes on her own and sometimes work until 11PM or whenever to get it done. She has made my experience so positive."
Burnett (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
"Valerie has been using her 3D printing expertise to print pieces for masks that are being assembled into PPE for medical personnel. Valerie joined a community of libraries across the country in printing much needed PPE for the COVID 19 crisis. I really appreciate the work that Valerie is doing. Thank you!"
Winner: Kenton Gregory (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer)
"Kenton is the quintessential Westminster employee. Kenton is one of the most supportive folks on campus. When you go to Kenton with a question, the answer is rarely no. Kenton believes in supporting our student and staff to his fullest capability. He believes in finding ways to make things work within the parameters that we have set. He wants our students to succeed and he will do all that he can do to make that happen. Last week, after the earthquake that rocked the region, Kenton and his entire team rushed to the residence halls to ensure that our residents were safe. They worked tirelessly all day and into the evening to continue to support our campus. There was not a single complaint among his team and I believe that goes to Kenton's leadership among the facilities crew. Kenton's dedication to our campus is strong and I am so thankful for him and all he does for our students."
Emily Swanson (Nominated by Madi Jones)
"Emily has worked tirelessly to balance the needs of her library staff with those of our students and faculty. Emily was quarantined after returning from overseas but despite her inability to be present on campus, she took calls from home in the early hours and well into the night to do everything possible to support us emotionally and physically. Despite the responsibility of making decisions with administration, brainstorming and implementing new procedures to support students and faculty remotely, and making plans to ensure the safety of our building—all the while completing the daily tasks required of a library director—she still took time to check in with each of us regarding our mental state, listened and heard our concerns, and conveyed genuine empathy for each of our individual situations. Thank you, Emily, for being a rock through such a difficult time."
Chante Jimenez (Nominated by Melanie Agnew)
"The School of Education Office of Field Placements has been particularly busy as a result of COVID-19. This office serves the faculty and students in the SOE but also serves supervisors, mentors, and school district personnel, among other education stakeholder groups. To this end, I would like to recognize the outstanding efforts of the Director of Field Placement, Chante Jimenez, who has fielded hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls, text messages and video conferences from individuals from school districts and the School of Education with a very high degree of energy and professionalism. Her strong commitment to the School of Education, to Westminster College, and to the profession is unparalleled."
Winner: Sara Demko (Nominated by Debbie Tahmassebi)
"This past month has been challenging for planning international trips given the Coronavirus and the unknowns regarding international travel. Sara, along with colleague Alison Vasquez, has been very proactive in facilitating campus messaging regarding the virus and potential impact on upcoming trips. She has been very focused on balancing providing students with the information that they need to make informed decisions while not creating anxiety."
Julie Tille (Nominated by Mackenzie Bledsoe)
"Julie's excellent support for students should be recognized on a campus-wide level. Julie shows compassion and empathy towards students and provides a space where students can be their whole selves without judgement. She truly cares about the students and their perspectives and creates space to intentionally collaborate with students to get feedback about the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement. I could go on and on about Julie's truly exceptional listening skills, thoughtfulness, and teamwork, but I could never do that justice. Additionally, not only is Julie a wonderful mentor to students, she is an amazing boss, which I hope to emulate as a supervisor. All of those reasons and more are why Julie should be Staff of the Month!"
Hannah Thorne (Nominated by Andres Ramos)
"Hannah, the advancement events manager, has been extremely busy lately connecting and creating community at Westminster. Just this month, Hannah planned and executed the groundbreaking for Gillmor Hall, logistics for Westmixer, on-campus events for One Westminster Giving Day, scholarship receptions for donors and students, and numerous other events. Westminster has always been known as a place with a tight-knit, welcoming community and Hannah is doing inspiring work creating the spaces and opportunities where those connections can happen. Because of her work, donors, faculty, staff, students, and our community can come together to celebrate Westminster. Each of those events has been top quality as well. Hannah leaves nothing up to chance and does a great job of getting all of the details right."
Winner: Jeff Driggs (Nominated by Nancy K. Brown)
"It seems fitting to honor Jeff Driggs, Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, in the month that Westminster breaks ground on Florence J. Gillmor Hall, an expansion of our performing arts facilities. Jeff has championed this capital project in the Advancement Office for several years. With his hard work, more than $14 million has been raised to fund the project, including an endowment that will support the ongoing operational costs for the building. A fundraising initiative of this magnitude is not accomplished without the active participation of many people across campus, but Jeff has provided consistent focus, enthusiasm, and energy for the project. He has written numerous proposals and provided updates and lead case statements using his eloquent words that have engendered support for the project from many foundations and individuals. His steady guidance and unfailing passion has been instrumental to its success and stands as an example of all of Westminster’s Core Values."
Earl Widner (Nominated by Nathan Aldrich)
"Earl is someone here at Westminster that everyone recognizes. He spends his time tirelessly making sure that the campus is safe and clean. Whenever there is a problem with the facilities on campus Earl is always quick to respond and make it right no matter the weather. I have seen him doing everything from grounds keeping to recovering soccer balls stuck in the rafters next to HWAC. Personally he has helped me install a new outlet in my office and fixed a broken door lock. We are truly lucky to have someone as skilled and multi talented as Earl on our staff."
Jenteal Jackson (Nominated by Shelley Jarrard)
"Jenteal, a Westminster College alum, has been working with our women's basketball program since 2012. Her growth and expertise since her graduation until now has been immense. I am extremely fortunate for her loyalty to Westminster and our program. Jenteal oversees all of our travel, scouting and perimeter coaching. She also recruits, works with players one on one, watches film at home and takes care of anything me or our program needs. We've had a heavy travel season and Jenteal has made sure we stay on budget without feeling the pinch. She is a great staff member of our program and Westminster."
Winner: Melissa Nisonger (Nominated by Gail Avendano)
"I can always count on Melissa to help me with any unusual student registration request or transfer credit review. It seems as though I have had to rely on her even more than normal as our program is drawing to a close and as I have been working more with interns. Whether it's helping aviation students or business internship students, I know I can always reach out to Melissa for assistance and support. She is an unsung hero at Westminster—working tirelessly behind the scenes in ways that really benefit our students. I value her as a detail-oriented, dedicated, and very helpful colleague."
Winner: Chante Jimenez (Nominated by Heather Batchelor)
"Chante recently started in the School of Education, but she has already made a tremendous impact. She immediately stepped up to make all of our student teaching placements, reaching out repeatedly to school districts, principals and teachers. Despite just starting, our students got their placements almost 2 weeks earlier than in years past. She has also been instrumental in supporting our dean in compiling material for our accreditation report. Her work ethic and ability to jump into a job and hit the ground running is commendable. I am so happy to work with her."
Marie Dorronsoro (Nominated Anonymously)
"Marie is so kind and thoughtful. She always asks how my life is and I look forward to the check-ins we have. She works really hard-- she also works at the U. She got a degree from the U last year and is studying for the GRE (while working 2 jobs). She is all-around amazing."
Nichole Greenwood (Nominated by Debbie Tahmassebi)
"Nichole has done tremendous work collaborating with others, both internally and externally, to gather, organize, and analyze a considerable amount of data to support the program portfolio analysis work. This is on top of doing an excellent job at reporting institutional data to several places including IPEDS and the board of trustees, as well as partnering closely with admission/enrollment to develop new dashboards and other tools. Nichole is incredibly talented, professional, and a pleasure to work with."
Winner: Todd Lindsey (Nominated by Christopher Dasanjh and Emily Swanson/Giovale Library)
Christopher Dasanjh: "Maintenance has been operating at less than full staff, and yet, as a unit, they are performing at a high level. Recently, the Giovale Library ran into many maintenance issues and Todd addressed all of these in a timely and professional manner. He consistently went above and beyond on all of these issues ensuring that they were handled so that they would not happen again. He's also hands down a friendly guy that's fun to converse with!"
Emily Swanson/Giovale Library: "Todd has been doing so many projects in the library. He has been keeping the building together and looking great. The maintenance team has been down a few staff members, so they have been covering more buildings than usual. Yet, Todd has still found time to complete building requests and communicate with the library staff about the status of a project. Thanks Todd!"
Jimmy Kendall (Nominated by Christie Fox)
"I'm nominating Jimmy because he is always willing to go above and beyond to help students. He is an excellent, compassionate listener who can listen to a student describe their trouble and help them leave with hope. Lately, Jimmy has focused his efforts on students facing precarity and those on academic probation. He created an academic class for students on probation that helps them clarify their goals and motivation for being in college. He's also starting a research project to determine why some students leave the college and what we could do differently to retain them. Oh, and he's also working on his PhD at the University of Utah in Education, Culture, and Society--in his spare time! Jimmy is a leader on campus and exemplifies the Westminster value of putting students first."
Helon Gonzalez (Nominated by Michael Santarosa)
"Although Helon is approaching her first year anniversary working for the College, this last fall was the first time she completed the athletic eligibility certification process at the start of an academic year. She handled this daunting task with ease, energy, accuracy, and enthusiasm. This involved sending faculty notification letters, getting travel schedules from coaches, ensuring accuracy of team rosters, closing out the prior academic year, completing fall checklists, registering student athletes for HPW 190 and adjusting schedules as needed, notifying coaches of changes to major declarations, and attending all the team meetings. With 264 athletes, there is a lot to manage on top of supporting the registrar's office main operations and being the communications point-person for the Review Committee that considers tuition refunds and record changes when students face extraordinary circumstances. I appreciate the way Helon maintains high ethical standards to ensure the trustworthiness of her work, advances college-wide excellence through compliance with NCAA regulations, and how she collaborates so effectively with the Athletics Department, particularly Lynn Meade."
Julie Tille (Nominated by Kerry Case)
"Julie embodies the best of Westminster, and demonstrates each of the core values
above. Student success is her highest priority, and it shows in the caring and thoughtful
way she supports and mentors students. Her efforts have fostered a group of highly
engaged students and positive impacts across the Salt Lake valley and beyond.
Julie continues to be a fierce advocate for college access and inclusion for all members of our community. Through her fundraising efforts, Walkways to Westminster program, and service on the college's access and success committee, Julie has helped bring students to Westminster who would not have been able to see themselves here otherwise. Our campus is a better place because of it.
Julie is an outstanding leader and mentor to the professional staff and students who work in the center. She has created a strong, supportive culture in which employees do good work and feel deeply connected to the college. Without fail, she leads with kindness and compassion.
It has been a true pleasure to work with Julie for over a decade, and I hope the committee will give a nod to her important work with this award."
Kristen Kerr (Nominated by Tiffany Karlik)
"Kristen is always doing everything she can to make sure that things are running smoothly in our office and with all of the other offices that we work with on campus. She truly cares about Westminster and the success of our events. She is committed to bringing students here and making sure that they love their time on campus!"
Royal DeLegge (Nominated by Rachel T. Forrest)
"Dr. DeLegge is passionate about environmental health and ethics within public health. Not only does this show through his discussion in classes when talking about past experiences and examples, but also in his community work. Dr. DeLegge is the Director of Environmental Health for Salt Lake County Health Department and has been for the last 20 years. He also serves on several boards including: Utah Clean Cities Coalition, Utah Climate Action Network, Wasatch Clean Air Network, Salt Lake City Food Policy Task Force, and Food Safety Committee for the Utah Conference of Environmental Health Administrators. Dr. DeLegge regularly speaks at local and national health events including the recent United Nations conference hosted in Salt Lake City and as a guest speaker in the undergraduate public health class, Environmental Health. Dr. DeLegge is a real asset to our Westminster College community!"
Winner: Candy Greenwald (Nominated by Piper Rogers)
"Despite having many, many of her own responsibilities related to the annual audit that require her time, she still is available and happily willing to help others with any questions they have on their part of it. Sometimes it is helping someone new understand what the reports and forms mean, and sometimes it is researching and teaching new regulations that change the process. It can take hours of her day or days of her week to help others to learn their part of the process, but she does it willingly, patiently, and with a great attitude! Many of the things that she does are behind the scenes to help the College and our department run smoothly. She is just a great co-worker, mentor, and person!"
Holly Patterson (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer)
"Holly Patterson is by far the hardest working person at the college. I have watched Holly go from furniture delivery to room damage checks to bed bugs in the span of an hour or two. Yes, Holly has to regularly go into rooms and check for bed bugs. I am guessing that it is the least favorite part of Holly's job but she still does it with cheerfulness and professionalism. Holly embodies the core values of Westminster. She shows respect for all individuals from all backgrounds and tries to learn from each human with whom she interacts. She is a perfect example of collaboration and teamwork. She collaborates with so many offices working to make sure they have what they need to assist our students and the college in success. Holly is definitely deserving of the staff member of the month honor."
Anita de Azevedo Boeira (Nominated by Arikka Von)
"When Anita taught herself how to sew, she probably never imagined she’d be volunteering her seamstress skills to Westminster students. But time and again, when she hears a student lamenting a hem or being anxious about a fit, she steps right in. She helped an international student sew a traditional dress from their country for a festival. And she recently tailored a formal suit for a student employee so they could confidently attend the HRC gala. When Anita is mentoring student employees she’s also paying attention to students’ many other needs and volunteering her varied talents."
Winner: Madi Jones (Nominated by Erin Merrill)
"Madi has worked tirelessly to add over 140 textbooks to the Giovale Course Reserve system. To do so, she has coordinated with both faculty and staff and has updated the Course Reserve catalog for students to easily find their textbooks in the library catalog. Adding textbooks is a time consuming and detail orientated process, one of which Madi embraced with good spirits. Thanks to her efforts, students have an alternative to buying expensive textbooks."
Winner: Virginia Oelkers (Nominated by Nathan Aldrich)
"Virginia is one of the newest full-time staff members working for Information Services. Prior to being hired as a full-time staff member she worked at the Help Desk as a student employee. Virginia is a dedicated employee that never backs down from a challenge. She has spearheaded a department effort to catalog every computer on campus. She has also taken it upon herself to become an expert at the campus's mac management system. This is in addition to her day-to-day efforts to keep the staff and faculty on campus happy with their technology. Virginia is also quick to volunteer with new student orientation efforts such as Griffin Gear Up. The campus could not ask for a better person to pick up the phone when they reach out for help."
Winner: Christian Fritz (Nominated by Molly Butterworth)
"I am nominating Christian Fritze for staff of the month. She exemplifies Westminster’s core values, especially collaboration and teamwork, and has gone well above and beyond in her role. Christian started mid-semester, jumping into the Counseling Center at the busiest time of year for us. Despite being part-time, she has seen a phenomenal number of clients, far beyond what was expected. Her contribution has allowed us to keep the wait time for students to be seen at the Counseling Center brief (under a week!), all the way into April, despite being short staffed. Christian has also pitched in in other ways, stepping up to take on some of the director responsibilities. In her short time here, Christian has already begun developing innovative programming and prevention ideas which will foster college-wide excellence by allowing us to reach more students. She is a true team player and a creative, energizing and inspiring colleague."
Winner: Sally Drutman (Nominated by Sara Demko)
"Sally stepped in last fall to help out with international admissions when we needed help. She took the initiative to learn complex international admissions requirements and procedures. She handled hundreds of inquiries over several months, in addition to managing her own role as a first year recruiter. Sally is a true team player and the best kind of colleague."
Brianna Buckley (Nominated by The Marketing and Communication Office)
"Bri is a master organizer! She is always extremely well prepared for every meeting she hosts and works hard to make sure everyone stays on task. We appreciate her attention to detail with coordinating events like the Great Utah Shakeout and helping our office with communications like the emergency notification system tests and other safety messages. She always goes above and beyond to make sure everything is planned in advance and done right. We truly appreciate Bri’s efforts."
Winner: Sierra Krippner (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer)
"Sierra always goes above and beyond to make sure that the students of Westminster are connected to the college. She believes that she is here to help our student in whatever way possible. She regularly goes above and beyond. She knows the majority of our students by name. Just walk across campus once with her and you will see her greet each person you pass by name and ask about something that is important to them. She does this while only being a part time employee. I am regularly impressed with her knowledge base and with her dedication to our student body."
Kristen Kerr (Nominated by Quincey Otuafi)
"Kristen has only been at Westminster for a short time, but has really jumped right in and is such a great addition to the Admissions office as a whole. She is organized and energetic which is perfect in her area of campus visits and events. With the Fall events coming to a close, I have to give her a shout out for a job well done!"
Stephanie Moyle (Nominated by Alysse Morton)
"Stephanie has been working with our new database, Digital Insights, to bring all of the information for BVGSB research and teaching needed for AACSB reporting into a single source. She has spent countless hours training and preparing data. Additionally, when the AACSB report needed to be re-submitted in August, Stephanie took the lead and put in extra hours to get the report completed by the tight deadline. She wrote huge portions of the new report and pulled everything together across multiple people editing a complicated document. Plus, she's a pleasure to work with and always has a great attitude."
Kara McShane-Hefley (Nominated by Shoeleh Assemi)
"Kara is hardworking, organized and very thoughtful, not to mention "patient". She manages the science office at Meldrum very efficiently and always with a smile. Getting things done is much easier when she is around."
Kenton Gregory (Nominated by Bri Buckley)
"Every opportunity I've had to work with Kenton on a project or in response to an issue on campus, he has impressed me with his dedication to his responsibilities as the Maintenance Foreman and the leader of his crew. I always appreciate the work he does to help everyone on campus succeed in their own areas. None of the work we do to provide a good learning experience for our students would be possible without the work of Kenton and his crew."
Winner: Rodney Glore (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
"It is fitting to nominate Rodney on the day of the Pie Competition. He has kept the pie competition going over a decade. But I am not nominating him for making delicious pies, instead I am nominating him for single-handedly creating, managing, and selling the LGBTQ+ Westminster shirts, stickers, and other merchandise. In addition to this work, he also organizes the Westminster float at the Pride Parade every summer. I recently learned that Rodney sells the LGBTQ+ merchandise at cost and reinvests it to buy more for the campus. He said he puts in all the time and effort because he believes it is important. I am so thankful that Rod does this. I appreciate it and I know that the campus does as well. Thank you Rod!"
Jerad Nigh (Nominated by Doug Schooley)
"As Supervisor of Campus Patrol, Jerad has recently worked EVERY shift (various hours; including day, afternoon, and overnight shifts) to cover many open shifts due to illness, request, or simply being shorthanded as a department. He has such a great "do what is necessary" attitude, and we never hear one negative word or complaint from him. His dedication to his position and the college truly is inspiring to our department. We are extremely fortunate to have Jerad representing Westminster!"
Ryan Lewis (Nominated by Nicole Jenkins)
"Two reasons: 1. Ryan is advocating to get the GAPS office back on WM main campus (we are the only office over on the Draw, totally isolated, go figure); 2. Ryan believes that the landscape of high education in the USA is changing (affordability, access to education, and growing enrollment to name a few) and that WM must change with it; hence the importance of adapting degree programs so that they may be completed online. He is highly skilled with technology and utilizes this skillset to "think-forward" about online degrees. He's an advocate for Higher Education, a creative leader, and I'm impressed by the goals of this office and where it is going. It is the "leading edge" of education. Kudos to Ryan and the team!"
Roxanne Derda and Madi Jones (Nominated by Christopher Dasanjh)
"Simple, Hogwart's Halloween! Seriously, have you seen the library? Every year the Giovale Library is transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and somehow, someway, Roxanne and Madi found a way to surpass years past by raising the bar yet again. They displayed tremendous enthusiasm and care in this years decorations and while creating and organizing the 100 plus clues for daily horcrux hunts for the Westminster community to enjoy! The time, energy and effort they put in to this year's Hogwart's Halloween is on full display; I encourage you to come by and enjoy this years Hogwart's Halloween!"
Roxanne Derda and Madi Jones (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
"Roxanne and Madi have turned Giovale Library into Hogwarts! The students love Hogwarts Halloween and I often hear them say that they look forward to it all year. I've heard it advertised on prospective students’ tour as one of the wonderful and unique things about Westminster. This year, Roxanne and Madi have gone above and beyond. They created flying keys, a dementor, Devil's snare, Drigible plums, and an event for students to make their own wands. It is truly magical and I know that our students will love it!"
Winner: Cate Jurek (Nominated by Gail Avendano)
"As a Westminster graduate and previous employee, Cate decided she loved Westminster so much that she had to return. We, in aviation, were very fortunate to have Cate recently return in support of the Flight Operations Center as our Dispatch Manager. While she was gone, we really missed her dedication, reliability, and attention to detail. We can always count on Cate to make sure our students are well cared for, oversee safe flight operations, and create a positive, encouraging atmosphere at the airport. In addition to simply being very good at her job, Cate has taken on the role of event planner and cheerleader for our department. Whether she is posting encouraging remarks and reminders to our students on our Facebook page or she's planning a chili cook-off or costume contest, we can count on Cate to celebrate each day. She is truly a valued colleague."
Leslie Freeman (Nominated by Alison Vasquez)
"Leslie has been an integral part of organizing the Staff/Faculty Meet & Eat lunches hosted by the Provost and Staff Council. She helped with the initial planning, organized all the RSVPs, ordered the food, and communicated with all the participants. I really appreciate all she has done to make this a successful event to bring faculty and staff to break bread together."
Chloe Barnett (Nominated by Emily Swanson)
"This is well overdue! While I was on maternity leave, Chloe took on a lot of additional work. She helped to train our new librarian, she helped to coordinate the Undergraduate Research Fair (a huge undertaking!) and she assisted with the Undergraduate Research Award. All of this happened all at the same time so I know she was exceedingly busy. I appreciate Chloe's willingness to help out and to take on added responsibilities. Thank you Chloe!"
Nathan Aldridge (Nominated by Winter Morse)
"Nate walks to work from the Sugar House area, and every morning I see him with a bag full of garbage that he has picked on his way in... I appreciate him keeping the campus and surrounding area beautiful for our campus community. Thanks Nate."
Madeline Gere (Nominated by Mackenzie Bledsoe)
"Madeline came in as a full-time staff member and had the energy to turn good programming into amazing programming. For example, while Madeline has been in charge of Walkways to Westminster she completed the goal of having mentors for youth in Promise South Salt Lake from 6th-12th grade! On top of July that, she has done amazing work with the Diversity and Inclusion Center. Madeline's hard work, dedication, and persistent kindness, should be recognized campus-wide."