The following remarks were composed from the nomination letters and statements of support.
Commitment to Excellence
This award honors Carnegie Mellon staff members who take great pride in producing excellent work. They serve their customers with a steadfast commitment to quality performance. Nominees have an upbeat attitude and are consistently willing to invest considerable time and effort to overcome obstacles so that outstanding work might be delivered.
Sharon Blazevich, Institute for Software Research
Sharon’s heart is truly in the work that she does and she has touched every single person in the Institute for Software Research. Whether it is greeting visitors with a smile, planning events or lending an ear to a person in need, Sharon is the best representative of our department. She has created a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages folks to stop by and engage with each other. She helps anyone and everyone, from the most senior faculty member to the newest student. Her contributions make our department — and all of Carnegie Mellon — a more welcoming, more inclusive and more engaging place.
Don Campbell, University Police
Don epitomizes what a professional police officer should represent: integrity, honesty and excellence. The nexus of his style of policing is his natural ability and genuine desire to truly connect on a personal level with every member of this community that he comes in contact with on a daily basis. Don has served this community as a protector, friend, mentor and teacher by watching out for our students and giving advice, help and support during many difficult times in their lives. He fully embodies the educational mission of this institution in how he approaches this work.
Donora Craighead, Academic Development Center
For over a decade, Donora has been at the core of the successful operation of the Academic Development Center. From the moment a student arrives at the office seeking assistance, Donora's smiling and caring demeanor sets the tone for their overall experience. She holds herself and others to a high standard, and supporting the needs of students fuels her desire to do more at the highest level of excellence. Her heart is in the work and she is indeed the glue that holds the Academic Development Center together.
Leigh Edleman, Office of Undergraduate Admission
Leigh’s work within the Office of Undergraduate Admission and its Marketing Communication wing is outstanding due to its impact upon the enrollment goals, market position and fiscal health of the university. She excels at serving the needs of applicants and the colleges in her proactive efforts to help bring the best and brightest to our schools, and to maximize the opportunities for enrollment in them. Leigh has invested a great deal of time into learning as much as possible about the schools' academic programs, faculty and cultures. She strives to produce work that is within the best interests of not only the admission office, but for the greater good of Carnegie Mellon as a whole.
Amy Faber, Finance Division
Amy is an exceptionally conscientious, good-humored and inspired team leader. Her performance leading the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) project clearly demonstrates her outstanding leadership instincts and ability. Amy forged strong bonds between the Treasurer’s Office, Computing Services, Campus Services and all campus merchants and was critical in protecting the university from potential cardholder data security breaches. Amy’s commitment to this project is unquestionable and it inspired the efforts and collaboration of the entire team.
Jennifer Frick, Career and Professional Development Center
Jennifer's commitment to her students is exemplary. As the Career Consultant for the Tepper undergraduate students, her loyalty to her students is unwavering. She is a constant presence in their lives; she understands their academic experience and can translate that information into comprehensive plans for career success. Jennifer does not limit herself to developing students’ career opportunities; she is part of the fabric of the students’ whole Carnegie Mellon experience. As a result, she is trusted by the students, faculty and administrators with whom she works.
Bruce Grafton, Facilities Management Services
Bruce is an A/C mechanic whose area of responsibility includes maintenance of the HVAC system in the chemistry labs of Doherty Hall. The challenges involved in doing 21st century research and education in an early 20th century building are enormous. Keeping the labs in working order and keeping hundreds of students per year safe from chemical exposure would not be possible without Bruce. He works both effectively and efficiently to solve any issue, ensuring that no project or experiment is delayed. Bruce is surely a person you can always depend on here at Carnegie Mellon.
Daniel Kennedy, Campus Affairs Systems
Dan excels at being able to understand the business needs of the university and then using his business knowledge to help implement excellent information technology systems for customers. He is well-known and respected by his colleagues and friends in Enrollment Services, the Student Financial Aid Office, Campus Affairs and Computing Services. Dan works closely with each team to ensure excellent service for customers. He demonstrates that finding a solution means little without understanding and he has been instrumental in the improvement of many campus systems.
Scarlett Townsend (DC 1993), Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Scarlett's responsibilities are many, varied and demanding. In all of her work, she strives relentlessly for perfection, consistently upholding and elevating the Hunt Institute's high standards of performance and service. Scarlett's exceptional initiative in comprehensive coordination and consistent execution in all facets of institute communication is a major factor in the continuing enhancement of the institute's public face. She is a hard worker and a delightful colleague, whose exemplary application of extraordinary capabilities contributes greatly to the Hunt Institute’s ongoing attainment.
Deborah Wilt, School of Design
Deborah is a hardworking and self-motivated individual who has held multiple staff roles in the school, all with impressive competence and a positive attitude. In her role as facilities manager, Deborah watches over the School of Design classrooms, studios, offices and equipment. She has overseen construction projects, renovations, reconfigurations and upgrades. Deborah extends her generous level of care to everyone, and her work ethic and demeanor had an infectious quality, positively influencing all who have the pleasure of working with her. She is a dedicated, resourceful and passionate advocate for the School of Design.
Deborah H. Zalewski, Robotics Institute
Debbie helps to showcase the vision and goals of Carnegie Mellon by highlighting the research, educational programs, people, news and events taking place within the Robotics Institute. Debbie consistently performs her duties and is also willing to take on tasks that are for the betterment of the Robotics Institute and the university as a whole. Her vast experience makes her an incredibly important resource both inside and outside of her core job duties. She is always thinking of the staff, the workload and the process and strives to make things work more efficiently. Her unshakable cheerful attitude and calming temperament have been a great asset to the Carnegie Mellon community.
Emma Zink, Integrated Innovation Institute
Emma has been instrumental in the Integrated Innovation Institute’s development and growth from its inception in 2013 to its current position as a leader of innovation education, practice and research. She has a consistently positive impact on the institute's goals through strategic planning, proactive mindedness and overall ability, enthusiasm and adaptability. Emma also works tirelessly to make the student experience enriching and enjoyable. For the short time they are here, she makes them feel like they are part of a family. Emma consistently performs and delivers beyond all expectations and does this with pride, commitment, a constant smile and an incredibly optimistic and upbeat attitude.
Commitment to Students
This award honors staff members who are dedicated to guiding and assisting Carnegie Mellon students. They surpass the duties of their job description to meet students' needs, serving as role models who display a positive and professional image at all times.
Brian Fernandes, Enrollment Services
Working with students in the intimate space of their financial circumstances requires artful navigation. Brian is a steadfast partner, working with students facing significant physical and mental health needs, family dysfunction, employment interruption and tragedy. His empathy, compassion and can-do attitude bring a tremendous sense of relief to often overwhelming situations for students. He is incredibly bright, a complex thinker and an inspiring person. Brian’s work highlights the values of leadership, integrity, professionalism, diversity and advocacy while respecting the core pillars of our university mission and fostering an environment for meaningful engagement with our students.
Wendy Fong, Information Networking Institute
Wendy has an incredible spirit of giving and takes every opportunity to go above and beyond for the INI students in Silicon Valley. She has contributed to INI's amazing 100% placement rate by always going out of her way to assist students in pursuing their dreams. Wendy embraces all students with the same caring, positive attitude and thus, uplifts them with her contagious energy, making those around her smile. She is at every student event and goes above and beyond to ensure the students have a good and worthwhile experience. Wendy’s love of her job is apparent by the positivity and light she brings to the Silicon Valley campus.
Suzie Laurich-McIntyre, Office of the Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Education
When she discovers student needs, Suzie becomes a strong advocate for their success, investing a huge amount of time in finding the best solution to any problem. She is fully engaged in all projects from start to finish, involved with the initial ideas and planning, implementation and the post-event evaluation. She never ceases to look for ways to improve these experiences and processes, and actively seeks feedback from all concerned. Perhaps equally important is the sense of warmth and accessibility that Suzie portrays, ensuring all students feel that there is an open door, open mind and a shoulder to lean on in bad times.
Janet Peters, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Janet fosters the intellectual, social and personal development of each and every student she counsels. She advises students in the College of Engineering with flawless knowledge of school curriculum and extracurricular activities. She is proactive and reaches out to her students to catch up and make sure everything is going well, which shows a thoughtfulness that goes beyond what is expected. One student stated, “My interactions with Janet provided me with confidence, knowing that my journey at Carnegie Mellon University would be a successful one because I had her support.”
Innovative and Creative Contributions
This award honors staff members who have developed new approaches, methods and processes to improve organizational effectiveness. They have demonstrated imagination and creativity in solving problems or fostering change that has benefited the university community. These nominees are expansive thinkers and effectual doers.
Kelly Delaney (DC 2009), IDeATe
Kelly has been the project manager for the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology network (IDeATe) since the early steps of the program in spring 2013. She has played a crucial role at every stage of the development and implementation of the program. In the process, she helped pioneer structures and methods that can advance interdisciplinary learning across CMU. She is a diligent planner, while equally adept at coming up with smart solutions to complex problems when they arise. She consistently finds creative solutions and innovative approaches in all aspects of her work. Kelly is a true innovator and dedicated to an excellent and contemporary education at CMU.
Rhonda Kloss, Sponsored Projects Accounting
Rhonda designed the Research Administration Training Series, a new program about general research administration topics, filling a gap in educational programming for staff. She sought input and participation from a myriad of players in the research administrator enterprise, soliciting and identifying topics and content experts, and oversaw considerable logistics to execute the series of programs. Through her work on this program, Rhonda has built a community within research administration by gathering feedback from participants and evolving and adjusting the program. Thanks to Rhonda, the cohort training program allows the instructors and participants the opportunity to work together to create a supportive environment for learning and exchanging ideas.
Paula Martin, University Health Services
Paula has worked hard over the past 10 years to build meaningful support for the health of our campus community. She embraces innovative and new ideas, which led to her bringing us the first-ever CMU Nutrition Calculator app, a tool that allows our community members to have access to comprehensive nutrition information for most of the food served across campus. She oversaw the development, implementation and promotion of the app. Paula spent years working with students, food vendors, dining and staff to develop a tool that would meet a vast variety of needs. The efforts of Paula and her healthy campus promotions continue to make work-life balance a reality for our campus community.
This award honors staff members who enhance campus life with their enthusiasm, dedication to the university community and commitment to exceptional service. These individuals embody the university's values of growth and excellence. These individuals foster an inclusive, collaborative and welcoming workplace that transcends organizational and professional boundaries through positive and constructive approaches.
Paul Gerlach (A 1967, 1968, 1972), Office of Student Affairs
A proud alumnus of CMU’s School of Music, Paul returned to his alma mater to direct the Kiltie Band in 1982, and has been influencing the lives of young men and women ever since. The band, under Paul’s leadership, is the epitome of Tartan essence, and truly one of Carnegie Mellon’s great treasures. He is a role model and mentor to all band members and influences their educational experience in a profound way. He teaches them about music, but moreover, he teaches them to have a passion for this university and community. He cultivates a culture of collaboration, inclusion and teamwork and a limitless sense of spirit and pride.
Michael Nee, Human Resources
Michael’s love and dedication for Carnegie Mellon is boundless. He does so much more than process HR transactions. He is an "on call" type of person, making himself available to hear questions, concerns or problems. He is always upbeat, helping to find strategic and unique solutions to recruitment and going above and beyond to assist us in supervisory and managerial issues, all while bringing a sense of positivity and fun. Michael is a true beacon of team spirit, drawing people with his positive energy, willingness to help and excitement for life, transcending our entire university.
Mike Papuga, Facilities Management Services
Mike has worked as a laborer with FMS for the past seven years. He maintains and repairs many parts of campus, but it is the extra positive attitude he brings to each action that makes him wonderful to have around. Faculty and staff are drawn to his upbeat, friendly and optimistic attitude, not to mention his quick wit and glowing smile. Mike also has a wonderful rapport with students and student employees, asking them how they are and how their studies are going. Seeing his happy face and hearing his exuberant greeting gives students a thrill. They always appreciate his caring touch to their often pressurized world of tests and project deadlines. Mike spreads his spirit of positivity and joy to everyone he comes in contact with.
Pattye Stragar, Athletics and Physical Education
As a member of multiple campus units, Pattye tirelessly and selflessly gives her time to students, staff, faculty and campus guests. She is a fierce advocate for the healthy campus initiative, championing a healthy lifestyle revolution for the campus community. Pattye is informative, energetic and inspiring, motivating others to action and leading by example. She is always ready and willing to help others and share a smile or a story to brighten their day. Pattye is a mentor and role model on our campus, ensuring no one is excluded from a positive environment.
Teamwork and Collaboration
The team category is open to any group of two or more people, either in a shared department or interdisciplinary unit/taskforce, who have worked together toward a common goal.
This award honors staff teams who exemplify collaboration and cooperation with colleagues, students and the university community and recognizes its transformative impact. The team has developed new approaches, methods and systems to improve organizational effectiveness or has improved the student experience and/or student's learning opportunities. It has demonstrated imagination and creativity in solving problems or fostering change that benefits the university community.
Accelerate Leadership Center Team, Tepper School of Business
In order from left to right: Laura Maxwell, Jarred Lazear and Michelle Stoner
The Accelerate Leadership Center was introduced in the 2012-13 academic year to assess and develop the leadership skills of the Tepper School’s MBA students. Now in its third year, the center has become an integral element of the Tepper School graduate experience and has quickly become a distinguishing competitive factor in the MBA marketplace. The staff members of the Accelerate Leadership Center have collaborated with virtually every operating unit at the Tepper School to provide the highest level of service to students with great results. The team continues to provide excellent customer service, collaboration and continued dedication in advancing the mission and values of the Tepper School and of Carnegie Mellon University by fostering the development of leadership, teamwork and communications skills among both students and staff.
CIT Pre-Award Process Standardization Team, College of Engineering
Front row, from left to right: Angela Pusateri, Beth Hockenberry (HNZ 2015), David DeLo (E 1982, 1994, 1996; TPR 1984) and Tonya Bordonaro (HNZ 2015)
Back row, from left to right: Anita Connelly, Barbara Bugosh, Meighan Harding, Charlotte Ambrass (HNZ 2015), Michael Balderson (A 2005; HNZ 2015), Nathan Kotecki (HNZ 2015), Cathy Schaefer and Melissa Hyzy (HNZ 2015)
Not pictured: Keri Baker and Anissa Greenfield
The College of Engineering’s Pre-Award Process Standardization project successfully streamlined the preparation and submission of proposals, as well as the general administration of research at the level of individual laboratories, within departments and across the college. This standardization project has played a significant role in increasing the quality of proposals that are submitted on behalf of the university to external sponsors, while decreasing the administrative burden for research faculty. Although there are clearly seen benefits by central units, particularly by those in the pre-award office, the benefits that will be gleaned from the work performed by this team will be felt by these offices for many years to come.
CMUWorks Project Team, Human Resources, Finance and Computing Services
Represented by: Front row, from left to right: Linda Schmidt and Bob Riddle
Back row, from left to right: Deanne Weaver, Jeff Houser and Kim Abel
Not pictured: Karen Eck
The implementation of the Workday system and the opening of the CMUWorks Service Center successfully completed a multi-year, cross-organizational initiative to evaluate, streamline and enhance the delivery of human resources, payroll and benefits services for faculty, staff and students across Carnegie Mellon’s campuses. The project team fostered collaborative relationships across groups and considered multiple perspectives to define and solve problems, reach agreements and ensure that campus users were well-informed. They consistently worked above and beyond expectations, placing the entire project project's goals above their individual goals. The CMUWorks Team enabled a positive and recognizable difference in the university community that will impact current and future employees for years to come.
ECE Web Team, Electrical and Computer Engineering
In order from left to right: Chad Hilton, Dave Decker, Steve Elgersma and Aydaen Lynch
The ECE Web Team showed outstanding ability in working as a team to support the collaborative mission in the launch of a new online promotion, reappointment and tenure system. The team worked tirelessly under tight deadlines to build an application to web-enable and automate the traditionally manual process, including the collection and organization of hundreds of supporting documents. They were able to consider multiple perspectives in building this system through cooperation, collaboration and open communication. From the very beginning, the ECE Web Team donned the can-do attitude and created a detailed plan to attain the goals of the project. Their efforts as a group amplify their individual contributions through collaboration with each other and those they serve.
Modern Languages Staff Team, Modern Languages
In order from left to right: Nancy Monda, Christine Hucko, Sue Connelly and Vera Lampley
Not pictured: Marc Siskin
While making diverse and numerous individual contributions, the Modern Languages Staff Team functions as an extraordinarily cohesive group, crucially supportive of the program’s mission and community, its collaborations across the university and beyond. The team supports the development of innovative language and culture classes, language learning technologies and research projects that foster CMU’s strong tradition of interdisciplinary scholarship. All team members work together seamlessly to resolve the problems and challenges of all undergraduate, graduate students and faculty. Going beyond the call of duty, the Modern Languages Staff Team displays exceptional service, sensitivity and a positive spirit, creating an environment that promotes communication, trust, cooperation and respect.