Staff Community Awards

Every year, Staff Council collects nominations from the campus community to recognize the work of staff over the past year and selects one winner per category to receive an Staff Community Award.



Collaboration Award

The Collaboration Award promotes and rewards outstanding collaborative efforts between colleagues at Westminster College. This award recognizes collaboration that positively improves the lives of Westminster students, faculty, and staff, making Westminster College an exceptional place to live and learn. Collaborations could be between staff members, staff and faculty, across departments, etc., as long as 2 entities are working together.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Nominations must include parties taking part in a collaborative effort
  • Collaborative efforts must exhibit a positive impact towards strengthening colleague relationships
  • Collaborative efforts must exhibit a positive impact towards improving the Westminster experience

Collaboration Award Nominees

  • Jody Katz

    Director, Disability Services
    Disability Services/Testing Center


    Jody is the ultimate collaborator. During this crazy year, she was able to collaborate with Information Services, sharing resources and quick tips to improve online learning for all. She is always willing to share resources and will meet anytime to discuss options to make access to any class or event available to all. She recognizes a problem and pulls a team together and solves it. Jody's ability to collaborate with the campus community helps make the college an effective learning environment for all. Thanks for all the hard work, Jody.

  • Winter Morse

    Award Winner
    Director, Client Services
    Information Services


    Winter has been part of tremendous collaboration over this past year between Information Services, the Provost's Office, and faculty in order to ensure that technology would be available to best meet the needs of faculty to teach and students to learn across a variety of changing teaching modalities throughout the year. She participated as a member of a planning group and has worked tirelessly to respond to evolving needs throughout the year. Her efforts have helped students complete their courses, and faculty learn and use a variety of different technologies in their teaching. Winter always has a "can-do" attitude and brings great ideas and perspectives to all conversations. Her professionalism and expertise greatly benefit students and their experiences in classrooms.

  • Sarah Lof

    Graduation Coordinator and Office Manager
    Registrar's Office


    Sarah Lof from the Registrar’s Office has impacted the life of faculty and students in a very positive way during the difficult time of the pandemic. Faculty constantly need to approve, review, and report multiple academic things for students. Sarah is ready to help and collaborate to fulfill requirements and multiple academic performances any time, any day. The impact of her collaboration is super positive. Westminster has survived the difficult academic year thanks to her collaboration and guidance to build relations among students and faculty members.

  • Meg Quigley

    Director of Advancement Communications
    Institutional Advancement


    Meg Quigley began working at Westminster during the pandemic, but you wouldn’t realize that she hadn’t met some of her coworkers if you saw her collaborating on projects within the Office of Advancement and beyond. Meg collaborates with staff members from multiple departments as well as parents and alumni to create engaging letters, emails, and website content for multiple audiences.

    ...
    Read more

Emerging Leader Award

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a new professional at the college or a professional who has recently moved into a new leadership role on campus. The recipient has created an impact on campus within their role by being open to learning and challenging themselves and others. This staff member has demonstrated commitment to the college and is seen as an outstanding professional in their department and/or within their field of work.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Seeks additional responsibilities and opportunities and (either formally or informally) influences and inspires others to improve and grow
  • Has demonstrated a commitment to their role and the betterment of their team’s experience working at the college
  • Engages in and/or develops opportunities for community development and serves as a positive member in the campus community

Emerging Leader Award Nominees

  • Valentina Rojas

    Assistant Director, Admissions
    Admissions


    Val juggles many hard tasks all at once yet always makes time for prospective students and student workers. She is personable and fierce and confidently tackles every problem that comes her way. She has used her new assistant director position to make big changes will continue to have a positive impact on admissions as a whole. Val is a great leader, and many people look up to her.

  • Hannah Thorne

    Director of Annual Giving
    Institutional Advancement


    As the new director of annual giving, Hannah began immediate work to heal the disruption annual giving experienced in early 2021. She is focused on building a cohesive team, allowing each member to work to their strengths and creating opportunities for growth. She inspires others to reach beyond what they imagine and creates a path for success.

    ...
    Read more
  • Virgina Oelkers

    Assistant Manager, Client Services
    Information Services


    Virginia is an outstanding employee who will solve any computer problem. Virginia is quick to assign herself to any ticket, and she always goes above and beyond to make the campus community happy. She demonstrates extreme patience and thrives off her 5-star ratings from the people she helps. She is a great professional example to both of her student employees. If they inherit her skills and abilities, they will go far in life. Information Services is lucky to have such a young leader and is excited to keep watching her grow.

  • Justin Griffiths

    Assistant Manager, Technology Support
    Information Services


    Justin has recently taken on the responsibility of the student employees who work at the help desk. Through this responsibility, he has grown as a leader. He is very good at setting clear expectations for the student employees, preparing them for the real world. He shows extreme patience and focuses on mentoring the students. If they listen to his advice, they will succeed in any job. Justin spends hours organizing the schedule, creating documentation, and developing trust with the student employees; all of these contribute to a successful help desk.

  • Dalton Bamburg

    Dalton Bamburg

    Accounts Receivable Collections Coordinator
    Accounting


    Dalton is very passionate about Westminster College. He is heavily involved on the campus, including completing his master’s this summer. He is someone that tries to improve the college. He is bright, enjoyable, and engaging to be around. He is definitely a positive member of the community.

  • Vanessa Seals

    Vanessa Seals

    McNair Director
    Provost's Office


    Vanessa is not new to the McNair Scholars Program, but she is relatively new to a critical leadership role on campus as director of the McNair Scholars Program. Vanessa is an inspirational leader and mentor to Tashelle Wright (McNair Scholars Program coordinator) as well as all of the McNair students. She has had to be especially creative this year, helping students adapt their research plans for COVID safety.

    ...
    Read more
  • Erin Merrill

    Award Winner
    Student Engagement Librarian
    Library


    Erin Merrill has been at Westminster College for 3 years. In August, Erin Merrill became Giovale Library’s student engagement librarian. This position was created to recognize Erin’s unique abilities and the impact she has made on the library and at the college. In this role, she is now responsible for outreach, instruction, textbook affordability, and research help. She also serves as the library representative on the Writing Council Committee and WCore Committee as a part of this role. In addition to this new role, Erin took on added responsibility while the library was without an instruction librarian.

    ...
    Read more
  • Bree Anderson

    Director of Compliance
    Athletics


    Bree has stepped into the role of director of compliance and made a huge impact on athletics. Seeking out this position is a great example of how Bree is not intimidated by change, new ideas, or new processes. The responsibilities are seemingly insurmountable, but Bree has been able to work through them all and help teach other staff and coaches how to stay in compliance.

    ...
    Read more
  • Harrison Kasper

    Admissions Counselor
    Admissions


    I met Harrison at Coffee with Colleagues not long after he had started his new position at Westminster. While starting a new job is often challenging, starting one in the middle of a pandemic makes it even more difficult. But Harrison jumped right in and began looking for more ways to get involved. He immediately started attending Staff Council events and meetings and started getting to know staff members around campus.

    ...
    Read more

Exemplary Griffin Award

The Exemplary Griffin Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates leadership by mentoring, coaching, inspiring, and motivating colleagues. The recipient promotes excellence in teamwork, performance, and achievement within their department and demonstrates a commitment to and support of the college’s vision, creativity, and innovation while promoting inclusiveness and respect for difference.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Mentors and coaches colleagues in both their department and/or across the campus
  • Serves on committees to represent their peers and to support change impacting the college
  • Often recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of their peers and actively engages in providing critical and constructive feedback

Exemplary Griffin Award Nominees

  • Oliver Anderson

    Oliver Anderson

    Director, Student Involvement & Orientation
    Student Service Administration


    Oliver Anderson is an outstanding mentor, takes an active effort to celebrate accomplishments, and serves as one of the best advocates for students on campus. His efforts, attitude, and impact are unparalleled, and his ability to remain balanced amidst all the changeover in his office is inspiring. Every department needs an Oliver Anderson.

  • Emmalee Szwedko

    Emmalee Szwedko

    Exec Asst to the President and Director of Board Relations
    Office of the President


    This past year has been an incredibly difficult time for a new cabinet to learn about the institution and learn to work with each other. Emmalee has played a critical role in helping people continue to learn about the campus and understand the importance of some of the practices and events. She cares for everyone on campus on her mind all of the time.


    Emmalee is a gentle leader, someone who nudges folks in the right direction, stepping in and speaking up with critical and valuable information and guidance. She is passionate and determined and focuses work in the right direction, showing great care for the student experience on our campus. This year, Emmalee is representing the College on the Utah Women in Higher Education Network Board, a group working to increase higher education leadership opportunities and experiences for women.

  • Alison Vasquez

    Director of International Student Services and Study Abroad
    International Student Services


    Alison is a huge support to all colleagues in the Global Engagement Office and to colleagues in many offices/departments around campus as she advocates for international students. Alison also works hard for domestic students on campus seeking May Term Study Experiences and study abroad experiences.


    During the pandemic, Alison worked a majority of the time in her on-campus office; she met with students and colleagues in a virtual way, via Teams and skype, but also made sure students who needed to meet in-person had that opportunity, as she followed the safe meeting guidelines defined by Westminster.

    ...
    Read more
  • Sarah Lof

    Graduation Coordinator and Office Manager
    Registrar's Office


    Sarah Lof is a great leader in the Registrar’s Office and around campus.


    Sarah is a great mentor to new employees in the office. Even while working from home, she was able to include new employees in the onboarding process and went out of her way to make sure they were comfortable and knew what they were doing. She single-handedly taught a lot about the Registrar’s Office processes and procedures and made sure employees knew the information so they could feel confident in what they were learning, even in such unusual and stressful times. 

    ...
    Read more
  • Jessica Dalton

    Award Winner
    Associate Director of Annual Giving and Digital Platforms
    Institutional Advancement


    In both her role as a staff member and as a graduate student, Jessica promotes the culture of creativity and innovation that sets Westminster apart. She is passionate about the mission of Westminster College, and she approaches her role with a drive to explore big ideas and push herself and her coworkers to pursue excellence in every task.

    ...
    Read more
  • Gail Avendano

    Director of Aviation Student Support
    Flight Operations


    Gail Avendano is an absolute treasure of a colleague and has been a pivotal member of campus for many years. With the closing of the aviation programs this semester, it is the right time to recognize Gail for her amazing contributions. She sets the ultimate example for all who are lucky enough to work with her.

    ...
    Read more

Campus Innovation and Impact Award

The Campus Innovation and Impact Award recognizes a staff member or department who uses creativity to develop new or improve processes, systems, products, methods, or services and encourages others across the campus to do the same. The recipient makes innovation a priority and takes reasonable and calculated risks that improve Westminster and make the campus community a better place to live and work.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Carefully assesses and identifies problematic systems or processes impacting the campus community and quickly implements new ideas into action to solve the issue(s)
  • Questions existing assumptions and beliefs and considers diverse perspectives in challenging those ideals
  • Creatively navigates limited resources to address rising concerns impacting the college and provides a wide range of suggestions to approach change in a practical and mindful manner

Campus Innovation and Impact Award Nominees

  • Enrollment Division

    Enrollment Department


    Over the past year, Enrollment Management has onboarded a new customer relationship management system (a huge undertaking). Throughout the process, enrollment involved campus partners in questioning current enrollment practices to streamline processes and ultimately create the optimal onboarding experience for new Griffins. Enrollment has initiated many changes across campus, including moving to test-optional admissions to increase access for students; developing new application review processes for the Honors College, the Nursing program, and performing arts programs to centralize all admissions decisions; and working closely with offices across campus to create accessible and digital forms for students, among many other projects.

  • Erin Merrill

    Student Engagement Librarian
    Library


    Erin quickly responded with immense creativity to engage students during the era of social distancing. Using social media, imagery in the building, individually packaged food and swag handouts, and more, she encouraged the community and promote remote resources as it was essential students were made aware that library services were still 100% available, albeit in a different manner. In the spring, she immediately began designing COVID procedure imagery that was fun and attractive in anticipation of reopening in the fall. She also designed and shared anti-racist reading list posters and social media posts in June to promote activism and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

    ...
    Read more
  • Shianne Gray

    Manager of Advancement Events
    Institutional Advancement


    Manager of Advancement Events doesn’t sound like an easy title to have during a pandemic, but watching Shianne Gray excel in the position this past year has made the challenges of the pandemic begin to look like opportunities.

    ...
    Read more
  • Ethan Harrison

    Technology Support Manager
    Information Services


    You can always count on Ethan to ask challenging questions. He is the employee who wants to make sure there is a reason behind every process and will strategize ways to improve that process. Recently, he has helped with the budget, and whether it was the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act or zero-based budgeting, he spent hours strategizing, negotiating, and compromising with vendors/employees to make the process more efficient in the future. His attention to detail, willingness to talk strategy and the hours he has spent to improve processes are appreciated.

  • Bri Buckley

    Award Winner
    Director of Campus Safety
    Legal, Risk Mgmt and Safety


    When you think of someone on campus who has developed processes or systems to improve the Westminster campus this past academic year, the person who comes to mind is Bri Buckley. Bri has single-handedly kept the college functioning this year. When COVID-19 changed the world, Bri stepped up and learned everything they could about COVID-19 and every office/department on campus.

    ...
    Read more
  • Ashley Kramer

    Assistant Dean and Director of Academic Operations
    School of Arts and Sciences


    Ashley is an invaluable campus leader. Daily, she strives and succeeds at making improvements to many campus processes that strengthen the School of Arts and Sciences and the college. She is thrown big hairy challenges and provides thoughtful and creative solutions. She always has students and their experiences on campus on top of mind. While tackling difficult challenges, she works to bring people and their various perspectives together to have productive conversations and develop and carry out solutions.

    ...
    Read more
  • Terri Rodgers

    Operations and Reporting Manager
    Provost's Office


    In just a few months, Terri positively impacted how Westminster uses and interprets information to improve student success and retention. Terri helped analyze why students did not return in Fall 2020, which has already supported an improved advising model. She also has identified ways to improve the Student Handbook so that students understand the options available to them when they encounter difficulties. Her fresh and informed perspective has helped us question the status quo, and her skills in data analysis bring valuable expertise to the Provost's Office.

Student Success Award

The Student Success Award recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond to provide support and services for students. The recipient is known to create space for students to be heard and valued and acts as a mentor to students to create a transformational and accessible student experience. This staff member cares deeply about students and their education.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Seeks to improve services, processes, systems, and/or products that enhance the living and learning environment for Westminster students
  • Creates space for students to feel safe and respected and works diligently to advocate on behalf of students by bringing their voices to the decision table
  • Positively speaks about the college student experience while promoting new ideas to elevate the standards of learning at the college (i.e. through collaborative efforts with other departments and faculty)
  • Invests time and energy in mentoring and coaching students through their student development and creates learning opportunities outside the classroom for students to implement their learning into practice

Student Success Award Nominees

  • Christie Fox

    Director of Retention and Student Success
    Retention and Student Success


    During a year which is likely one of the most challenging ones that many have faced, both on a personal level and on a professional level, Christie took on both short-term and long-term work to provide student support and ensure their success at Westminster. Christie has been a vital part of communicating with both students and faculty during the academic year, especially when students were unable to attend class in person and needed some additional support as they, too, were dealing with getting an education in the context of COVID-19.

    ...
    Read more
  • Alison Vasquez

    Director of International Student Services and Study Abroad
    International Student Services


    Between COVID-19 and federal changes to visas, this has been a difficult year. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone in higher education but has completely disrupted everything about international education. International students have been stranded with no way to return home, and some have suffered racist attacks as a result of anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been all too common the last few years.

    ...
    Read more
  • Sarah Lof

    Graduation Coordinator and Office Manager
    Registrar's Office


    There is no doubt that this has been a difficult year for students to keep track of their course planning and degree requirements. There are many talented staff and faculty advisors across campus. Perhaps lesser-acknowledged because it's perhaps more hidden is the knowledge and impact that Sarah's work has on student success.


    She works hard to coach and advise faculty and staff advisors regarding student degree completion, which is hugely important for the retention, persistence, and graduation of students. She works to solve technical challenges and brings ideas forward for improvements. While her work may seem very behind the scenes, it's very out front and critical to the success of students.

  • Nayethzi Hernandez

    Award Winner
    Food and Housing Insecurity Volunteer
    Student Service Administration


    It would be a disservice not to nominate Nayethzi Hernandez for the Student Success Award. Everything about who she is and what she does fully embodies the award.

    A new addition to the college this year, Nayethzi is the food and housing security specialist. She created The Purple Basket, a basic needs resource center for Westminster Students, from the ground up. In just a matter of months, The Purple Basket has gone from an idea and empty space to fully stocked pantry shelves and an industrial refrigerator and freezer. And she has done this with no budget. All funding has been grant- and donation-based, and Nayethzi has been working her tail off to make this incredible resource for students.

    ...
    Read more
  • Frances Peacock

    Assistant Director, Student Success and Retention
    Retention and Student Success


    Student success is in Frances' job title; however, this year, she has gone above and beyond to advocate for students and their ability to succeed. Frances advocates very specifically for her constituencies, namely transfer and international students. This year, she has stepped beyond that to improve practices and systems for all students.

    ...
    Read more