Friday, May 9, 2008
MCS Staff Awards, 2008
On May 2, faculty, staff and administrators gathered in the Mellon Institute to honor MCS staff members for their dedication and service to the Mellon College of Science.
Pallavi Ishwad, educational outreach specialist at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), received the MCS Rookie Award, which is given to a staff member employed at MCS less than two years who has exceeded all expectations in meeting the challenges of his or her job. PSC Associate Director Bob Stock, who presented the award to Pallavi, spoke highly of the infectious passion and enthusiasm she brings to her job and of the substantial contributions she has made to PSC’s K-12 outreach activities.
Donna Thomas, secretary in the Department of Physics, received the Merit Award, given to an MCS staff member or team who has maintained an outstanding job performance level over an extended number of years and consistently made significant contributions to a department or center and MCS. Steve Garoff, associate physics department head, praised Donna for the care and careful planning that went into handling five faculty searches the department conducted recently, three of which occurred simultaneously. “Every detail was taken care of and every crisis on the day of the visit was calmly handled. This is just one example of what goes on with Donna every day of every year,” said Garoff.
One staff member from each department was recognized with an MCS Outstanding Achievement Award. These awards recognize substantial achievement and outstanding job performance that positively impacted a specific project or process over the past two years.
Al Scheuring, systems administrator for the department of biological sciences, always saves the day, according to Department Head Elizabeth Jones. When Biological Sciences faculty members are faced with a computer crisis, “Al is always able to fix it and calm you down.” She also commended Al for his initiative and amazing competence.
Georgene Wittig, undergraduate student program coordinator for the department of chemistry, was praised by Department Head Hyung Kim for doing an incredible job over the past few years, especially considering that undergraduate chemistry student enrollment doubled during that time.
Patsy McCarthy, assistant to the mathematical sciences department head, helps keep the department running smoothly, according to Department Head Roy Nicolaides. “We rely incredibly on her qualities; she is a fantastically accurate worker….and she has an astounding work ethic,” he said.
Michelle Waters, business manager for the Pittsburgh NMR Center, was applauded by the center’s director Chien Ho for her leadership and management style. “Whenever there is a need, she always does it. She makes our life so easy,” he said.
Al Brunk “rides in on his white horse to save the day,” said Steve Garoff, associate physics department head. Brunk, computer specialist/electronics engineer in the physics department, “wins his battle with the machine sooner or later” all the while soothing the nerves of physics faculty members whose computers are on the brink.
Paul Nowoczynski, advanced systems data management specialist at the PSC, has extraordinary technical knowledge, according to PSC Associate Director Bob Stock. In addition, he has “the ability to lead a team and to communicate complex ideas” to different audiences.
Also during the ceremony, 26 staff members were recognized with years-of-service awards, ranging from 5 years to 25 years with MCS.
By: Amy Pavlak