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Employee Recognition

Spotlight Awards

We are pleased to have the Spotlight Awards as an added means of acknowledging and demonstrating timely appreciation and recognition for the exceptional contributions of individuals at Smith. We encourage you to participate in this program by nominating another employee for extraordinary contributions or service.

Throughout the academic year, we will recognize members of the Smith community for their outstanding contributions to the college through the Spotlight Awards Program. Smith's employee recognition program is designed to acknowledge an increased number of staff in the Smith community whose contributions go above and beyond the everyday scope of their responsibilities.

All employees, managers and supervisors are encouraged to nominate staff colleagues, inside or outside of their departments, by submitting a Spotlight Award Nomination Form.

The Spotlight Awards cycle will run from April 1 to March 31. Senior administrators will receive nominations for staff working in their areas and select Spotlight Award recipients.

Spotlight Awards have a pretaxed value of $150 and will be included in the recipient's pay check usually within two weeks of receiving recognition. Recipients will also receive a Spotlight Award Certificate from his or her supervisor or department head. Periodically, we will feature all Spotlight Award recipients and publish excerpts taken from the nomination forms.

In the spring, human resources will host a celebratory Spotlight Awards Reception for the entire community to gather and congratulate all of the Spotlight Award recipients for the year. Recipients will be eligible to participate in a special grand-prize drawing.

2014 Spotlight Awards

name

title

Nominated by:
nameandtitle

Lea Ahlen

Office Manager - Social Science Cluster, Social Sciences

Nominated by:
Alice Hearst, Professor, Government

Lea has been incredibly helpful in keeping the Government Department going this semester. Our department has had several major projects on-going -- a new hire, a promotion review and a self-study. We also had two major speakers and a mini-seminar to plan for a Five College study group. Because of a medical issue I was out for a period of time and Lea kept things running smoothly with very little input from me. I can't emphasize how much support, both personal and professional, that she has provided.

Nominated by:
Ibtissam Bouachrine, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portugese

Please accept my nomination for Lea Ahlen. It is perhaps more common for you to receive nominations for colleagues in the nominator's department. However, even though she is not in my department, Leah has been an amazing colleague and a wonderful human being. She has always been so generous with her time. She is always willing to stop what she is going to answer my question. Moreover, as I was going through the tenure process, Lea has shown me so much support, even though, and as stated earlier, I am not even in her department. It is for her generosity that I nominate Lea. She is truly an outstanding human being, very much deserving of recognition.

Iris Alicea Flores

Human Resources Assistant

Nominated by:
Lily Kane, Human Resources Coordinator

When I assumed the role as Workers Compensation coordinator, I was pleased to know that Iris was involved with this work assisting with the data entry. There is a tremendous amount of paperwork and it is time sensitive. Iris addresses each claim paying careful attention to detail, asks pertinent, clarifying questions and processes each case quickly to avoid any delays in processing. Iris cheerfully takes on all tasks that are delegated to her and earns the highest marks for her contribution in making this process run smoothly. I appreciate all her efforts, thank you Iris!

Kim Alston

Administrative Assistant, Religious and Spiritual Life

Nominated by:
Jennifer Walters, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life

We set a goal as a department to better plan our communication with constituents and mindful about program planning. Kim has taken the lead on publicity and public communication of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life and has done a splendid job. One of the most difficult challenges has been establishing the e-newsletter. This has required finding a vendor, learning a new software platform, developing a plan for stories, and deadlines. Our second issue came out this fall with Kim's steady guidance and editorial skill. The e-newsletter is one among several different approaches we are taking to manage our programs and communication. Kim's leadership has been invaluable in improving our department's program planning, publicity, and implementation.

German Alvarado

Relief Cook, Dining Services

Nominated by:
Pat Mahar, Dining Services Manager

German did an outstanding job as the chef at Comstock/Wilder during Reunion weekend 2013. This was his first time working the event and he stepped up by taking one of the most demanding jobs: to feed multiple reunion classes under the tent at Comstock. He was very organized, from ordering the ingredients to how the food looked on the plate. Presentation was outstanding, and the food was delicious.

There were many challenges over the weekend, with the counts rising and rain coming down. Because of the inclement weather, we had to make many changes to our original plans, and German never got flustered by this. He made sure we did whatever was best for the alums.

In addition to his organizational skills, German showed good leadership by delegating tasks to other staff as needed. His positive, laid–back attitude made it a pleasure for everyone to work with him.

Diane Benoit

Building Services Director, Facilities Management

Nominated by:
Hannah Durrant, Associate Director, Student Affairs

I believe Diane Benoit is the heart and soul of Building Services. She is one of the most positive people I have worked with at Smith College. The Office of Residence Life works with Diane and her staff frequently on projects. There are a number of experiences that stand out for me. When there is an additional project or task that needs to get completed in the houses she is always willing to work with us on how best to get this done. She does not make decisions in a "silo" but includes our office in discussions. Some of the projects require extra work on her staff’s already busy work load. Her relationship and trust with her staff allows her to send a difficult message and know that it will be well received. I also believe her staff is a reflection of her.

Overwhelmingly, building services takes pride in the work they do and care deeply for our students. I believe they see Diane doing this as their leader and model her behavior. Diane’s staff has been exceptional at making the impossible happen. An example of this is providing housing for students when we are over capacity. Whether we need 10 temporary beds or 60 temporary beds (which include maintaining an additional building) she and her staff get it done. I always enjoy working on projects with Diane because she is a positive spirit and "gets things done."

Martin Bimbane

Senior Audiovisual Engineer Information Technology Services

Nominated by:
Katherine Hall, Associate Director, Executive Education

Marty has helped us in Executive Education to improve the technology and sound quality in our programs. When we needed to improve our use of table mics in the Carroll Room he researched and recommended an excellent product which we purchased and used successfully for a number of years. As a side note, this mic system was also used by the Trustees until the recent purchase of a new system. Marty also researched the best face mics for us. These mics revolutionized the quality of sound we get out of the lavaliere mics in every venue we use. This is a direct benefit to our faculty and to our participants. On top of these services, Marty has been cheerfully available for our challenging set up and program schedules, coming in early or staying late to ensure that our needs are met and that everything is running smoothly. Marty exemplifies good customer service and colleagueship. He is knowledgeable, dedicated, reliable, and competent and richly deserves recognition.

Jacy Birdsong

Digital Imaging Technologist, Information Technology Services

Nominated by:
Irene Rodriguez Martin, Associate Dean of Administration, School for Social Work
Tobias Davis, Assistant Director, School for Social Work

Jacy was responsible for covering campus Classroom Support needs while Steve Davis was on vacation during the week of July 15; as it turned out, this was one of the busiest weeks for the SSW with a number of unanticipated tech needs. Jacy became our central point person for these very important events. He not only ensured that we had all the equipment we needed to make our events run smoothly, but was personally on hand at several occasions to fix technical glitches. When last-minute technical support was needed for several high-profile SSW events, Jacy provided equipment and located student technical assistance even during off hours for an immensely important lecture. He truly went above and beyond our expectations; thanks to his willingness to 'run' the extra mile with us, all of our events were presented in a polished and professional manner. Jacy is one of those behind the scenes supports that make the rest of us look great! Smith is lucky to have him on staff!

Karla Borecky

Systems Administrator, Information Technology Services

Nominated by:
Eric Brewer, Director of Systems & Networks, Information Technology Services

Besides keeping up with the everyday workflow and emergencies in our Systems and Networks group, Karla has been engaged, for several months now, in implementing an identity-management system, tying together Banner identities with the automatic provisioning of LDAP, Active Directory, Moodle, and Google Apps accounts. When it’s complete, it will streamline the creation of new accounts as well as moves within campus for faculty, staff, and students. It will also position us for improvements still to come. I appreciate everything Karla has accomplished.

Gerald Bridwell

Advancement Systems Manager, Development

Nominated by:
Danielle Brown, Program Coordinator, Development

Since his start at Smith, Gerry has been quick to offer assistance with reports and data to make the jobs of Development Office staff easier. In addition to helping me and my colleagues improve existing reports, he has also been instrumental in the development of new reports and has offered a number of "tips and tricks" that help simplify the input, export, and manipulation of data.

I greatly appreciate not only the quality of his work, but also his friendly nature and willingness to share information and teach others.

Danielle Brown

Program Coordinator, Development

Nominated by:
Halley Ofner, Donor Relations Specialist, Development

This Spotlight Award is long overdue! In the almost three years I have worked with Danielle, she has consistently gone above and beyond in both her position as Program Coordinator for International Advancement, as well as activities outside her realm of responsibilities. She is always the first to volunteer to help with a strenuous project, despite a heavy work load herself, and is happy and willing to share her many talents and skills with colleagues, both professional (design, writing, technology) and extracurricular (crafting, event planning). Danielle's enthusiasm and commitment to always doing the best job possible is an asset to the Development department. In short, she's awesome!

Karen Brunette

Summer Conference Service Manager, College Relations

Nominated by:
Irene Rodriguez Martin, Associate Dean of Admission, School for Social Work
Tobias Davis, Assistant Director, School for Social Work
Madelyn Neely, Administrative Coordinator, School for Social Work

Karen is a central player in the School for Social Work’s success each summer. Last year she played an integral role in implementing our new procedure for reserving event space. Karen’s organization, diligence, and creativity facilitated the creation of a procedure that was both streamlined and extremely efficient for the entire SSW community. She also somehow coordinated spaces and calendars so that degree programs and professional-education programming were supported and in comfortable venues. We’re delighted to recommend her for this award; we’re incredibly appreciative of the time and energy that Karen dedicates to the School for Social Work, and marvel at her ability to juggle so many SSW priorities without a hitch.

Brandon Buehring

Area Coordinator, Student Affairs

Nominated by:
Becky Shaw, Director of Residence Life, Student Affairs

I am nominating Brandon for the work he did in creating a new event as part of convocation this year. He noticed that there were issues with student behavior before and after convocation with the use of alcohol and risky behaviors. He worked with dining services, the Campus Center, Julie Ohotnicky and Maureen Mahoney to create picnic dinners in the houses, contests for students to show their creative team building and a celebration in the campus center for President McCartney's first convocation. The event was a huge success with students going to the campus center enjoying food, and fun time with their fellow Smithies.

Jennifer Burwell

Academic Secretary , Social Sciences

Nominated by:
Alice Hearst, Professor, Government

Jennifer took over the First Year Seminar program administrative tasks in late August. Because the program operates only in the fall, it was imperative that she be able to pick up with the tasks immediately, and she did so with considerable grace. I have had nothing but good feedback from all of the faculty teaching first year seminars that she has worked with. This has to be unusual, but when I asked for a modest contribution from FYS faculty for a holiday gift for Jen, at least five faculty members sent MORE money than I had asked because of the fine job she had done.

Nominated by:
Andrew Zimbalist, Robert A Woods Professor of Economics

Jen is new to Economics as of this past summer. She is punctual, courteous, efficient, hard working, very knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. She regularly reminds me of things that need to be done and regularly checks in with me about how I'd like things done. When I ask her to do extra things, she always is eager to help. In short, I couldn't be happier.

Annie Cahill

Web Development Specialist, College Relations

Nominated by:
Halley Ofner, Donor Relations Specialist, Development

Annie went above and beyond in helping Staff Council overhaul its website. Despite the tight deadline we imposed, Annie not only completed the transition in record time, but she did so with a positive attitude and fantastic humor, and that’s always greatly appreciated! We’ve had many ideas that are outside the realm of basic site transition, but Annie’s patience and encouragement enabled us to use more Web tools than we had thought possible. Our website is gorgeous, and that’s thanks to Annie.

Matilda Cantwell

Multi-Faith Fellow, Religious and Spiritual Life

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to President/Director Institutional Diversity Office & Equity

Matilda was one of eight staff members who volunteered to prepare and conduct a workshop on social justice issues for the SGA's Social Justice & Equity Representatives for all houses. The eight-day training was the second held for this group of student leaders. Matilda conducted two 90-minute sessions. The OIDE would not have been able to host the event without the contributions of the presenters.

Annie Cohen

Area Coordinator, Student Affairs

Nominated by:
Becky Shaw, Director of Residence Life, Student Affairs

I am nominating Annie for the work she did in creating a new event as part of convocation this year. She noticed that there were issues with student behavior before and after convocation with the use of alcohol and risky behaviors. She worked with dining services, the Campus Center, Julie Ohotnicky and Maureen Mahoney to create picnic dinners in the houses, contests for students to show their creative team building and a celebration in the campus center for President McCartney's first convocation. The event was a huge success with students going to the campus center enjoying food, and fun time with their fellow Smithies.

Patrick Connelly

Assistant Director OSE, Student Programs

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to President/Director Institutional Diversity Office & Equity

Patrick was one of eight staff members who volunteered to prepare and conduct a workshop on social justice issues for the SGA's Social Justice & Equity Representatives for all houses. The eight–day training was the second held for this group of student leaders. Patrick conducted one 90–minute session. The OIDE would not have been able to host the event without the contributions of the presenter.

Tobias Davis

Assistant Director, C/Ed

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to President/Director Institutional Diversity Office & Equity

Tobias was one of eight staff members who volunteered to prepare and conduct a workshop on social justice issues for the SGA's Social Justice & Equity Representatives for all houses. The eight–day training was the second held for this group of student leaders. Tobias conducted one 90–minute session. The OIDE would not have been able to host the event without the contributions of the presenters.

Lisa DeCarolis-Osepowicz

Circulation Coordinator, Hillyer Art Library

Nominated by:
Reese Julian, Circulation Manager, Neilson Library

Lisa is involved with many committee duties outside the duties of her normal job. She’s a vital member of the Marketing Team and Social Team for the Smith College Libraries and is crucial in assisting with the many ways in which the library brands itself or does outreach to the rest of the campus, such as organizing the library’s HR Fair booth and posting news about the branch libraries on Facebook. Just recently she served on the committee that organized the activities for the I Love My Library Day event, which included her creating an elaborate display for Hillyer Art Library and setting up a tea for students. Lisa does a great job of bridging the happenings of the branch libraries with Neilson Library and vice versa. She’s an essential part of the libraries and the Smith community, and deserves commendation.

Lisa’s service to the public and how she supervises her students should also be recognized. Numerous faculty report what a wonderful job she does and comment on the extraordinary lengths she goes in order to help them. Her student assistants marvel about her organizational skills and say she’s a great boss. Patrons mention the excellent service she provides.

Lisa has a warm, friendly attitude and it definitely rubs off on the patrons she assists and the colleagues she collaborates with. Her great attitude, involved activity with greater library functions outside of her position's normal duties, and initiative to constantly do right by the patrons of the library should all be celebrated.

Nicholas Deysher

Studio Supervising Teacher, Center for Early Childhood Education

Nominated by:
Martha Lees, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Education

Nick is a music teacher at the Center for Early Childhood Education at Fort Hill, and daily he imparts his love of both music and children. He creates exceptional opportunities for the children, their families, and the teachers: for example, Nick leads an all-school Sing for families every Friday and supports the PTO with an event for families on a number of Saturdays during the year.

Geraldine Dupre

Catering Lead Chef, Dining Services

Nominated by:
Anne Stolarik, Campus Center Cook Assistant

Gerry, a kitchen assistant, came to the Campus Center café this past summer along with two others. Gerry was the experienced one, and she took those coworkers under her wing. She explained cooking methods, shared her recipes, and encouraged them to work outside their comfort zones.

People are always busy at work, but Gerry took the time to help her colleagues, and I think that’s great. She shared her knowledge and let her coworkers shine.

We have a lot of talented people here at Smith, but for someone to give so much of herself so others will benefit is very cool.

Hannah Durrant

Associate Director of Residence Life, Student Affairs

Nominated by:
Becky Shaw, Director of Residence Life, Student Affairs

I am nominating Hannah for the work she did in creating a new event as part of convocation this year. She noticed that there were issues with student behavior before and after convocation with the use of alcohol and risky behaviors. She worked with dining services, the Campus Center, Julie Ohotnicky and Maureen Mahoney to create picnic dinners in the houses, contests for students to show their creative team building and a celebration in the campus center for President McCartney's first convocation. The event was a huge success with students going to the campus center enjoying food, and fun time with their fellow Smithies.

Maida Goodwin

Archivist, Libraries Special Collection

Nominated by:
Martin Antonetti, Rare Books and Market Outreach Director Libraries, Special Collection

Since the retirement of Sherrill Redmon as director of the Sophia Smith Collection, in July 2012, Maida Goodwin has acted as its interim director. In that role, she’s been keeping this important and very busy library unit healthy and productive during a long period of transition. Maida has worked in the Sophia Smith Collection for many years, but for this special assignment she has had to shoulder extensive supervisory responsibilities, which she was unused to but which she undertook in exemplary fashion, with great skill and sensitivity. In the sometimes rocky circumstances of the transition, Maida has been unflappable, steady, and supportive of her staff. And she has risen to all the challenges of the past 20 months with grace and good humor.

As the curator of Rare Books, I’m Maida's close colleague (but not supervised by her), and so had every opportunity to see and assess her performance in this temporary role. She has done very well indeed, and is certainly worthy of having the spotlight shine on her recent achievements.

Linda Gregory

Circulation Associate, Neilson Library

Nominated by:
Reese Julian, Circulation Manager, Neilson Library

Besides the fantastic service that Linda provides on a daily basis, she is a part of the Social Committee for the Libraries, Staff Council, and always volunteers for the committees that plan for library events. Just recently she was a major part of the committee that helped plan for the I Love My Library Day event in all the Smith Libraries. Linda hung hearts from the ceilings, coordinated having our student assistants create and decorate signs for the occasion, and ensured that we had a number of the refreshments. She even brought in her own speakers when a video wasn't playing correctly on a library computer's speakers. Not only does she go all out for any occasion, she really enjoys the activities, which shows in the amount of energy she puts into them.

Linda was also the sole Reserves staff member for Neilson library after our second Reserves staff member vacated her position in the summer. Linda took over all the Reserve duties and did the work of two while we were in the process of hiring a new staff member. She repeatedly emailed faculty about the items they needed the library to order for their courses and also alerted them which of their requested items were missing from the library. Linda has been in constant touch with the faculty and she has become the point person for a number of faculty regardless of whether it concerns Reserves or not. Linda extends the same kind of attention to patrons at the Circulation desk, often going way beyond the call of duty to help a patron and engaging them in day-to-day conversation. It's not out of the ordinary to see a patron walk into the library and come to the desk just to say hi to Linda. Linda's willingness to spend extra time on an activity for the library or a problem from a patron has become a key part of her service, and she has become an essential member of the Smith community. Her attitude, work ethic, and accomplishments should be recognized.

Serena Harris

Human Resource Specialist, Affirmative Action Officer

Nominated by:
Jenny Silver, Assistant Director, Human Resources

In September, HR went live with Open Hire, the new electronic recruitment management software system that replaced People Admin for staff hiring. As project manager, Serena was responsible for the RFP process; reaching out to college stakeholders for their feedback; and working countless hours with ITS and Open Hire to develop the new system under a tight deadline. In her role, Serena will train Hiring Managers and others how to use the new system. Serena's ownership, responsiveness, collaboration, and attention to the smallest detail contributed significantly to the smooth rollout of the system. Bravo Serena!

Patty Hentz

Manager of Retail and Catering, Dining Services

Nominated by:
Sharon Moore, Deputy CIO, Information Technology Services

I’m pleased to nominate Patty Hentz for her work supporting the implementation of the new OneCard system over the summer. The Campus Center Café is the largest user of OneCards and the primary user of the specialized Point of Sale system, which is integrated into it.

Patty was involved throughout the RFP and selection stages and served as the main contact and coordinator for Point of Sale–related aspects of the process. Because the café uses the OneCard POS terminals as its cash registers, the changes meant that our staff had to undergo training and the menu had to be reentered. Patty facilitated these tasks, even as she was learning the system herself.

As she has whenever I’ve worked with her, Patty approached these challenges with a “whatever-it-takes” attitude and an eye toward causing the least possible disruption to our customers. Her professionalism, teamwork, and attention to detail helped the café transition with a minimum of downtime, and enabled the OneCard Office to focus on the shift involved in the core system.

Lisa Johnson

Assistant Dean for International Study

Nominated by:
Sara Kortesluoma, Administrative Coordinator, International Study
Lisa Morde, Program Coordinator, Global Studies Center
Sue Pouliot, Budget Coordinator, International Study

We’re nominating Lisa Johnson for the Spotlight Award for her tireless work on a new software system for the Office for International Study. Over the last couple of years, she has researched and vetted online software to manage all applications, confirmations, and travel information for our office. This year, she put in many long hours to customize the systems to meet the needs of our office and our students, and this spring led a team in the launch of the program.

With study-abroad applications, confirmations, International Experience Grant funding– applications and the new Travel Registry, this system will significantly change the way we do business: It will utilize the electronic resources of our times, reduce paper, and, most important, shift the focus of our staff from paper management to the personal advising of students.

Lisa took on this task in addition to her daily work, and has accomplished it with her usual thoroughness and attention to detail. We enjoy working with Lisa, and know we’re lucky to have her as the assistant dean in the Office for International Study.

Cathy Klaes

Associate Director & School for Social Work Oversite, Student Financial Services

Nominated by:
Irene Rodriguez Martin, Associate Dean, School for Social Work
Tobias Davis, Assistant Director, School for Social Work
Valerie Hooper-Lindros, Senior Assoc Director School for Social Work

Over the past year, Cathy has worked tirelessly to transition the School for Social Work financial aid and other student finance support to the Student Financial Services office. This has included everything from developing new reports to help us evaluate where we standing in awarding (on a nearly daily basis), to a presentation and PowerPoint on federal and Smith loan policies, to meeting with student financial aid reps, to working collaboratively with the admission office to entirely re-vamp the financial aid pages into an SSW SFS page. (It's awesome!) This has been a monumental undertaking, which has resulted in better support for our students and applicants and brought the School in line with Smith College standard procedures. Cathy is not only incredibly organized, detail oriented, and responsible, but a true delight to work with. Often during a flurry of emails, or just to follow up on one lingering issue, Cathy will happily show up at your door to solve a problem quickly and face to face, or to provide a detailed explanation where an email would be insufficient. This kind of personal attention and friendly follow through is a trademark of Cathy's work, and has made the new venture with SFS enjoyable, productive, and thorough. She's a phenomenal colleague!

Linda LaFlam

Supervisor of Residential Operations, Facilities Management

Nominated by:
Hannah Durrant, Associate Director, Student Affairs

It has been my privilege to work with Linda over the last nine years in her role as the housekeeping supervisor in the residential houses. When I think of Linda I think of her big smile and her willingness to get the job done or to “make something happen” because it is the right thing to do. In the Office of Residence Life we work closely with Building Services to welcome our students at the beginning of the year and throughout their Smith experience. When we hear issues or concerns in the houses and bring them to Linda they are always addressed. One example of Linda’s dedication is as follows: The night before students were to move into a temporary room I discovered that the temporary room had French Doors to the room with windows. There was not covering on the windows so students would not have privacy in the room from people in the hallway. On my way home I stopped into Linda’s house to see if we could problem solve the issue. She said “Hannah, considered it solved, I will address this tomorrow morning (which was Saturday morning).” Linda is always willing to go above and beyond what is expected of her because it is the right thing to do. I have greatly enjoyed working with Linda and look forward to many years ahead!

Margaret Laird

Clinical Social Worker, Health Services

Nominated by:
Hannah Durrant, Associate Director of Residence Life, Student Affairs

For the last few years Meg Laird has returned early from her summer off to help the Office of Residence Life with student staff and HP training. The specific topic she has addressed is balance and stress reduction.

When you are in a room with her you feel calmer just because of her presence. She and her co-presenter are a dynamic team who the students really connect with, house leaders love their presentation. They feel refreshed themselves and feel like they have a set of tools to take back to their house communities. Meg receives a number of house tea invitations as a result of this training session. I have also worked with Meg through a number of crisis situations and supporting students. She is always very thoughtful and cares deeply for the students she works with. Meg performs this duty with extreme professionalism and skill.

Kate Lee

Senior Media Producer, Information Technology Services

Nominated by:
Merrilyn Lewis, Associate Director, Events Management, College Relations

Smith College prides itself on an interdisciplinary approach to education and the opportunity for the practical application of theory. In her quiet way, Kate Lee exemplifies these concepts

For the past two years, Kate has invested hours and hours of her creative and technical talents (during her own time) to assist the development office with a video project that will go live at the Women of Promise campaign launch. She’s been instrumental in bringing “Women of Promise” to life, and we’re certain it will have a lasting impact.

Not only has she identified undergraduates and recent graduates to highlight, but she has also facilitated the pre-interviews, the creation of a script, filming, and editing. And she’s gracious in sharing credit with those of us who play a supporting role. All of this is beyond the scope of her job description, and she brings a contagious passion to the project.

Nominated by:
Lars Asbornsen, Director Campaign Communications, College Relations

I second this nomination. Kate is a perfectionist who inspires people around her to do their best. She works with precision and patience to achieve her vision. We’re grateful for her valuable contributions to campaign communications.

Katie Lipp

Program Director, Health & Mentor Program, Clark Science Center

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to President/Director Institutional Diversity Office & Equity

Katie was one of eight staff members who volunteered to prepare and conduct a workshop on social justice issues for the SGA's Social Justice & Equity Representatives for all houses. The eight–day training was the second held for this group of student leaders. Katie conducted the two hour opening session. The OIDE would not have been able to host the event without the contributions of the presenters.

Minh Ly

Assistant Director for Assessment, Institutional Research

Nominated by:
Lauren Duncan, Professor, Psychology

Minh Ly seems to be involved in every data-driven project here on campus. He’s the backbone of Institutional Research. He cheerfully handles a multiplicity of requests from members of various departments and committees, and responds quickly. Minh was invaluable in the completion of the tasks we set out for ourselves in the Quantitative Assessment Committee. He has also been consulting about assessment with the Davis Educational Group on Knowledge-Building. He has provided expert assistance for the Psychology Department’s efforts to determine the effectiveness of our Research Methods class. I can’t imagine doing any of this without Minh!

Susan McDonald

Program Administrator, Executive Education

Nominated by:
Katherine Hall, Associate Director, Executive Education

I have worked with Susan for almost six years. She is remarkable in her dedication to her job, her attention to detail, and her follow–through on every task, no matter how mundane. Susan supports our entire office and is instrumental in our being able to host hundreds of executive women at Smith each year. From catering, to materials, to budget reconciliation, Susan approaches every task with enthusiasm and commitment. She also contributes to the operation of our office through her mastery of the student hiring process. Susan recruits, recommends, and supervises our student workers. She has a knack for finding just the right fit to accomplish our demanding goals. Susan is a caring and thoughtful person who is always ready to go above and beyond in our work together.

Nominated by:
Iris Newalu, Director of Executive Education

Susan McDonald has worked at the college for close to 20 years, in four very different departments, most recently in Executive Education, as program administrator, since 2007. She is an outstanding program manager, handling all facets of multiple programs with professionalism and grace under fire (a frequent necessity!). She trains, supervisors, and coaches our student workers, who say they absolutely love working for her. But what I feel best qualifies her for this award is the sincere friendships she has made across the campus. I often say that if you want to know who does what on campus, just ask Susan, because she knows just about everyone: and not only knows them, but also has a relationship with many of them.

Susan has been in higher education her entire career; she was in Student Affairs at Boston College before joining Smith. Her dedication to the college, to our students, and to our mission is admirable. I don't see Susan leaving Smith until she retires. She tells time and again how much she loves her job, and believe me, it shows on a daily basis. I know as a manager that to work with someone who is as dedicated as Susan, who strives always to perform at her highest level, is a gift that makes one's own job so much easier. I feel blessed to have her in this office. I could go on and on with all the great things Susan contributes and how deserving she is of this honor, but I will simply say: Susan is the BEST!

Brett McGuinness

Assistant Manager Building Services, Facilities Management

Nominated by:
Hannah Durrant, Associate Director, Student Affairs

It has been my privilege to work with Brett McGuinness over the last nine years. One of the many things I appreciate about Brett is that he is a part of Smith’s history specifically in regard to the houses. He has seen the houses from the dining perspective, through a variety of structural and staff changes and now as a supervisor to the custodians in the houses. The last two summers the Office of Residence Life has needed a significant amount of support from Brett and his staff with the houses being over capacity at the beginning of the year. We have asked Brett to set up temporary spaces which requires finding and moving furniture to different location across campus. Sometimes we use all of these spaces and other times we find permanent beds for students so we do not use them all. All the students and I enjoy working with Brett and appreciate his dedication.

Heather McQueen

Administrative Assistant Supervisor, Clark Science Center

Nominated by:
Lauren Duncan, Professor, Psychology

Heather McQueen has been invaluable to me in my new role of chair of the Department of Psychology. She not only provides administrative assistance to the Departments of Geology, but she also supervises the other Science Center assistants. She met with me in August as I transitioned to chair, and without that orientation, I don’t know what I would’ve done!

She also spent a lot of time working with the other assistants to develop their skills.

Heather is unfailingly patient in a position that regularly requires her to put out fires. She handles these crises with grace and equanimity. In addition, she fills in for other assistants when they’re out or otherwise not available. She’s helped me on numerous occasions, and has been more than generous with her time. The Science Center would fall apart without Heather!

Emily Nagoski

Wellness Education Director, Student Affairs

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to President/Director Institutional Diversity Office & Equity

Emily was one of eight staff members who volunteered to prepare and conduct a workshop on social justice issues for the SGA's Social Justice & Equity Representatives for all houses. The eight–day training was the second held for this group of student leaders. Emily conducted one 90–minute session. The OIDE would not have been able to host the event without the contributions of the presenters.

Kara Noble

Project and Publicity Administrator, Kahn Institute

Nominated by:
Ginetta Candelario, Associate Professor, Sociology

Kara is exceptionally competent, thoughtful, patient and helpful in her work with Kahn Fellows and their Projects. As a co-director of the "Mothers and Others" Kahn 2012-2013 project, I had a weekly opportunity to appreciate how much Kara does with grace and aplomb. She deserves such recognition.

Dana Parsons

Laboratory Supervisor, Physics

Nominated by:
Gary Felder, Associate Professor, Physics

Dana's job is to maintain physics equipment, demonstrations, and laboratories. In the two years he has been here he has done those things excellently, but he has also undertaken a complete inventory of our equipment and created an easy to use online database for keeping track of it, he has supervised the move of all our introductory lab equipment from McConnell to Sabin-Reed, he has created new demonstrations and improved old ones, and he has provided informal technical support to the department on everything from research equipment to office computers. In addition, he participates fully in all departmental discussions and decisions, puts in evening and weekend hours for our special events, and helps out immensely in troubleshooting problems during lab courses. After only two years it is virtually impossible to imagine the department functioning without him.

Rico Portalatin

Nominee: Rico Portalatin, OneCard Systems Coordinator, Information Technology Services

Nominated by:
Kathleen Zieja, Director, Dining Services

I’m nominating Rico for a Spotlight Award for his assistance with the launch of a Card-reader system and his ongoing support of our dining operations. Last year the decision was made to change the Card-reader system for all of the dining locations, laundry vending machines, printers on campus, and cash operations at the Campus Center. Rico had the responsibility to learn the CBORD system, work with Dining to plan the implementation, and then provide the maintenance of the Card readers. Our decentralized dining system and the number of dining locations presented challenges, and Rico had to install the readers and program them to be ready for the start of the semester in September.

He also provided training for my managers and our dining staff and strove to get answers to any questions that arose so the implementation would go smoothly. And he worked with Patty Hentz and the Campus Center Cash Operation to ensure that we would be ready for the start of the academic year. Once the dining units opened, Rico made himself available to remedy problems, and patiently worked with staff to review the changes and updates. He always had a positive attitude, is willing to answer questions—and in a timely way—and took ownership of his responsibilities. The launch of the CBORD program was a major undertaking, and all of us at Dining Services want to recognize him, and thank him, for all of his efforts and his invaluable support.

Susan Pouliot

Budget Coordinator, Office for International Study

Nominated by:
Lisa Morde, Program Coordinator, Global Studies Center

Susan Pouliot stepped up last spring and summer to fill a vacancy in our office and did so with grace and humor. The Office for International Study was without an administrative coordinator for several months. Sue volunteered to increase her time commitment to the college from part time to full time to help maintain the smooth operations of the office. She took on two positions: her own and that of the administrative coordinator. Despite the difficulty of this task, she made the transition appear seamless! In addition, her great humor, positive outlook, and flexible, easy-going attitude throughout this challenge greatly enhanced department camaraderie and morale.

Laura Rauscher

Director of Disability Services

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to President/Director Institutional Diversity Office & Equity

Laura was one of eight staff members who volunteered to prepare and conduct a workshop on social justice issues for the SGA's Social Justice & Equity Representatives for all houses. The eight–day training was the second held for this group of student leaders. Laura conducted two 90–minute sessions. The OIDE would not have been able to host the event without the contributions of the presenters.

Maureen Rauscher

Administrative Assistant, Religious and Spiritual Life

Nominated by:
Jennifer Walters, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life

Maureen does a great job of responding to student, faculty, staff, and community requests to use the Helen Hills Hills Chapel and anticipating their program-related needs. This excellence in service to our constituents is pervasive in her work, but one recent example stands out: Students contacted us because we’re lacking a space for a performance by a guest artist from abroad. There was a tight deadline and they were stressed. Once she determined that the chapel could work for the performance, Maureen realized that some lighting and sound needs had been identified but were not met. This is a problem the students were ill equipped to resolve on their own without awareness of or access to professional assistance outside the college. Maureen investigated their needs and challenges and found a vendor who was familiar with our space. Maureen sized up the situation and promptly and effectively found a solution. Her student-focus, good judgment, and leadership skills are an everyday asset to the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.

Rosemarie Reynolds

Electronic Resources Associate, Neilson Library

Nominated by:
Mimi Lempart, Electronic Resources Supervisor, Neilson Library

Rose Reynolds is not only an avid learner; she’s also an effective teacher who takes every opportunity to share her knowledge, especially with regard to new technologies and software. In the past year, Rose has led the effort within our team to implement a Google site that would improve workflow for managing electronic resources in the libraries. Her hard work brought great success, and we’re as pleased as could be.

As quickly as technologies change, Rose is always ready to investigate and apply new approaches to better our services. Such was the case last fall when our new director introduced us to open-source software that will complement our Google site. Rose was eager to learn this application and supported the rest of the team as we began implementing it in January.

Rose is also a member of the Libraries Staff Development team, which offers several workshops a year, usually focusing on various technologies we use across the libraries. Her eagerness to learn is infectious and we in the libraries are fortunate indeed to benefit from her skills.

Lisa Roberge

Administrative Assistant, Disability Services

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to the President, Director of Institutional Diversity and Equity

Lisa has been a great support to OIDE. Although, the admin assistant for a very busy office she has never refused a request to assist the office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. Last year during a period of great transition she assisted in training two temporary employees, she also served as an assistant to the Disabilities Priorities Planning Committee, chaired by me. To assist the committee she scheduled all meetings, placed catering orders, received and compiled all documents and maintained our Moodle site. This task should have gone to my administrative assistant but I had none, so I greatly appreciated the work Lisa did. She continues to provide support to OIDE and her extra effort should be acknowledged.

Jennifer Roberts

Administrative Assistant, English Language and Literature

Nominated by:
Anna Botta, Professor, Italian Language and Literature
Margaret Bruzelius, Dean of Seniors, Class Deans Office
Dawn Fulton, Associate Professor, French Studies
Sabina Knight, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature

Jen Roberts has supported the Comparative Literature program with grace and professionalism ever since she began her current position, in 2012. We would like to recognize in particular the outstanding work she did to help organize the symposium in honor of our retiring colleague Ann Jones, which took place on October 25 and 26, 2013. Jen looked after every detail with care, anticipating problems (and finding quick solutions!) to ensure the success of this international event in all of its dimensions. She went above and beyond the call of duty by offering her time on a Saturday to make sure that everything went smoothly on the second day of the event. The symposium would not have been nearly as successful as it was were it not for Jen’s insights, steady hand, and dedication.

Penney Roberts

Administrative Assistant, Development

Nominated by:
Sandra Doucett, Associate Vice President for Development
Marilyn Woodman, Corporate and Foundation Relations Director, Development

Penney Roberts has provided invaluable assistance to the Smith College United Way Campaign effort on campus for the past two years. All of us who participate in supporting the United Way through Smith are benefiting by her volunteer service. Penney offers Marilyn Woodman, Chair of the United Way Steering Committee, and Sandra Doucett, Chair of the United Way Leadership Committee, support throughout the campaign by helping with the campus solicitation and by keeping track of all United Way donations received from Smith employees. She does this on top of her already very busy workload. In this way, Penney is acting on behalf of the entire Smith community in supporting that the wider community in which we work and live. Penney's administrative support for the Development staff located at 76 Elm Street is also worthy of commendation. She juggles the needs of a building full of staff who are responsible for a wide diversity of Development related tasks. Penney is unfailingly cheerful and her can-do, caring attitude is appreciated by all.

Tom Rockett

Dining Services

Nominated by:
Pat Mahar, Dining Services Manager

During Reunion weekend 2013, Tom was the cook at Comstock/Wilder. The meals prepared there were for multiple classes. Tom had some great ideas for making the dinner plates look appetizing and quick to serve for the large number of alums who were dining here. Tom collaborated with the chef on plating and also to make sure the meals were very tasty. He helped the chef direct the staff and the student workers in the kitchen, and was willing to perform any task he was asked to do.

I'm nominating Tom for a Spotlight Award because he showed great teamwork, which played an important role in the successful dining experience our alums enjoyed at Comstock/Wilder.

Avril Russell

Administrative Assistant, Human Resources

Nominated by:
Pamela Nolan Young, Advisor to the President, Director of Institutional Diversity and Equity

Avril Russell has been a key supporter of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. During a year of transitions, she has helped acclimate two temporary employees and provided administrative support to a department search. Avril coordinated meeting with the search committee and candidates, scheduling telephone calls and assisted in all steps of the process. Her assistance has continued this year as she has worked with me to locate space for the Otelia Cromwell committee meetings. Of course I appreciate her work but I also appreciate her friendliness, she always has a smile, and a supportive hug. Her efforts go beyond those required of her job and should be rewarded.

Valerie Schumacher

Student Employment Fund Coordinator, Student Financial Services

Nominated by:
Tom Neuburger, Advanced Systems and Technical Director, Development

Each year Val matches scholarship recipients to Named Scholarship funds. While much of this is automated, there is a manual component to the process. This past year Val paid special attention during the manual matching to keep the interest of gift stewardship in mind. This went above and beyond the requirements for her task, but should have added benefit from the perspective of donor relations.

Too often we work in silos only focusing on what needs to be done in one’s own department or only working on items that directly benefit our own work. Val's decision to take another departments interests in mind resulted in a significant extra burden on her own part. She easily could have decided to do the minimum requirement. But she stepped up and produced a significantly better result. For that we are grateful, and feel that Val should be commended for her efforts.

Nominated by:
David Belanger, Director of Student Financial Services

My recommendation for Val is because she took her work to the next level without being asked to do so. A “bio form” was created to obtain student information that could then be passed back to the individual donors. The response rate by students far exceeded expectations. Val took the initiative to get a list of those who had filled out the forms and used them first in the matching aspect of the financial-aid and endowment process. The result is that most of the endowed funds that require a response from students have now been paired with those who completed and submitted the form. Val was keeping the best interests of the college in mind when she “hand-matched” the awards with the donors who wanted to hear from potential recipients.

Linda Shaughnessy

Academic Assistant, Music

Nominated by:
Margaret Sarkissian, Professor, Music

I would like to recognize Linda Shaughnessy for a Spotlight Award in appreciation for dedication and tenacity above and beyond what should be expected of someone of her rank.

As the academic assistant for the Music Department, she must cope with a lot more moving parts (literally) and responsibilities than do most of her peers in other campus units. In addition to “normal” administrative tasks, she has to be a traffic controller (making sure large objects, such as the new department harp, are moved safely back and forth across campus); a project manager (scheduling and coordinating building work with the Physical Plant and faculty—now, specifically, two big projects: replacing windows on three floors of Sage and blowing insulation into the remaining floor); a mini-registrar (this semester making sure more than 120 students get lessons and scholarships and 17 adjuncts are hired and scheduled to teach them; and a social planner (organizing the catering for large and small department events).

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Linda does all this and much, much more with grace, goodwill, and a refreshing absence of drama. The Music Department couldn’t survive without her, and all of us here applaud her.

Dana Sherwood

Administrative Assistant, Institutional Research/Education Assessment

Nominated by:
Lauren Duncan, Professor, Psychology

With no experience at all, this year Dana Sherwood organized and ran Sophomore Reboot. Working only eight hours a week starting in late summer, she almost single-handedly organized and managed two very successful events. She was responsible for contacting multiple centers and faculty on campus, arranging for the food and other logistics, and came up with brilliant, creative ideas to market the events. As a result, we served almost 250 sophomores at low cost.

She often thought of things before I did, and was nimble when we had to deal with last-minute setbacks. What’s even more impressive is that she was hired pretty on the spur of the moment to accomplish all this work. She jumped into the challenge with great enthusiasm, and rolled with the punches we threw her way. Dana was amazing!

Rachel Siegel

Administrative Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Studies

Nominated by:
Carrie Baker, Associate Professor, Study of Women & Gender

I would like to nominate Rachel Siegel for a Spotlight Award. She is an incredible administrative assistant. She has supported me in learning to direct SWG and has gone above and beyond to make my transition and others very smooth even helping to settle a colleague in with a housing situation. I find that Rachel always has a positive attitude and is highly efficient. She responds promptly to emails, including requests for information she has to obtain from others, and she competently handles many tasks without the need for ongoing supervision. She's the kind of administrative assistant to whom you feel comfortable delegating tasks because you can trust her to do them competently and promptly.

Xinh Spangler

Business Operations Assistant, Facilities Management

Nominated by:
Jennifer Tenczar, Payroll Disbursement Assistant, Controller’s Office

Xinh goes above and beyond for our department every payroll. We are very lucky to have her as our liaison. Her humor and wit make our jobs a little bit brighter. She functions extremely well in a very fast paced and ever changing environment. She embraces learning, is open to change and is always willing to accept new challenges. Her multi-tasking skills are exceptional and she readily and patiently shares her knowledge with others. She is a very valuable asset to the College community.

Karen Swiecanski

Director of Animal Care Facility, Clark Science Center

Nominated by:
Mary Harrington, Tippit Professor in Life Science, Psychology

Karen worked very hard to help our facility achieve renewed accreditation from the international association AAALAC. She was organized and careful in her preparations and she came to work many extra hours to help us come through this careful inspection process with flying colors.

Kathy Tobin

Major Gifts Coordinator, Development

Nominated by:
Stephanie Jacobson-Landon, Campaign Director, Development

I believe that Kathy Tobin is highly deserving of Smith College Spotlight Award. She is an essential member of the Smith College Development team and consistently performs above expectations. Often, Kathy’s contributions go unrecognized – she does not seek recognition for her outstanding work, yet she is deserving of our appreciation for the impact she makes in our office. She has been an incredible asset during the presidential transition period.

Kathy is one of the most helpful, selfless members of our team. She is always volunteering to train new staff and is eager to learn new technology. She has a deep understanding of our office systems, and handles multiple projects with grace and efficiency. Kathy often volunteers to assist with various projects, even when her own plate is full. She works well with others and is eager to contribute her skills. She is supportive of her colleagues and is someone that can always be counted on.

Kathy is someone who is trustworthy, flexible, calm, and enjoyable to work with. She is an extremely special colleague!

Elena Volpe

Clinical Therapist, Health Services Counseling

Nominated by:
Hannah Durrant, Associate Director of Residence Life, Student Affairs

For the last few years Elena has returned early from her summer off (she is on a 10-month contract) to help the Office of Residence Life with student staff and HP training. The specific topic she has addressed is balance and stress reduction. When you meet Elena you will see her energized, charismatic spirit. Her co-facilitator is quite the opposite—a more calming, still presence. Between the two of them, they present a topic which can be heard by all in the room. House leader LOVE their presentation. They feel refreshed themselves and feel like they have a set of tools to take back to their house communities. Elena receives a number of House Tea invitations as a result of this training session. Elena is willing to go the extra mile to connect with students and help them feel more comfortable in accessing counseling services offered on Smith’s Campus. In addition, I have worked with Elena in a number of situations supporting students as well as navigating immediate crisis situations. She is excellent at her job and I never have to be concerned to second guess her decision making. Working with Elena is a pleasure!

Sonya Yelder

Catering Cook, Dining Services

Nominated by:
Patricia Hentz, Manager of Retail and Catering

Sonya Yelder is the cook at the Campus Center Café. Her job is multifaceted, as she prepares food for the day-to-day business of the café as well for daytime catering for the building. Sonya has worked hard to meet the needs of the business. She’s also aware of the importance of all staff—both professional and student. To that end, she designed and implemented programs to honor student workers and also full-time staff.

The aim of the “basket raffle,” which she organized, was to encourage students to attend all of their shifts later in the semester. Sonya asked the professional staff to participate by contributing a gift basket. She herself donated several. Every time a student worked her shift, she earned a raffle ticket.

Staff were extremely creative; they brought in a variety of themed baskets and say they were happy to take part. Students were thrilled to receive a basket of goodies during the end of the semester, when they were completing their last assignments, tests, and projects. The result was positive energy for all.

In addition, Sonya instituted a program for full-time staff. She makes small gifts and gives them to the staff to present to people they usually don’t exchange gifts with during the holidays. The staff say they were inspired as they reported on the recipients and how these small tokens affected both giver and receiver.

I appreciate Sonya’s creativity and her compassion and concern for both the student workers and the professional café staff.

Elaine Zach

Dining Room Coordinator, Dining Services

Nominated by:
Pat Mahar, Dining Services Manager

Elaine was the lead dining room coordinator at Comstock/Wilder for Reunion Weekend 2013. This was a new position for her but she showed great organizational and leadership skills, which made this the perfect fit. She ordered the linen, and made sure we had all the equipment needed for each reunion event. A major responsibility was to oversee the rental china: it had to be inventoried, organized, and properly stacked after each meal. The counts for these events were high, and Elaine kept everything in order, as well as directed the dining room staff. The weather was challenging; we had to change quickly from serving under a tent to using the dining rooms. Elaine was instrumental in making the transition as smooth as possible. She is a conscientious worker and took pride in making sure the alums had a pleasurable dining experience.

Timothy Zima

Chef, Dining Services

Nominated by:
Rick Rubin, Area Manager, Dining Services

Tim is the lead chef at the Vegan/Vegetarian Dining Hall at Gillett/Northrop. While all of our Chef's bring their unique talents to their job, Tim's exceptional knowledge of vegan and vegetarian cooking has been a perfect fit for this dining concept and the students have been thrilled; Gilett continues to be one of the more popular dining halls at Smith. I want to recognize Tim for the exceptional work he did organizing and preparing the lunch for President McCartney's inauguration. Whenever we have large events like these, we face obstacles, and I was very impressed with Tim's hard work, patience and determination to have this lunch be the best it could be. I was also struck by Tim's attention to detail and how well organized he was. The large numbers did not seem to deter him and his firm belief that the devil is in the details. Tim asked appropriate questions, made great suggestions and was genuinely concerned that the luncheon goes off without a hitch. He worked 12-hour days leading up to the event to insure that once the day arrived, all went smoothly. His organization and planning paid off and once the guests arrived, all of them moved quickly through the line and the meal turned out perfectly. I admire Tim's genuine concern for the food he prepares, and the professional manner in which he works. Dining Services as well as the entire Smith Community is lucky to have Tim as one of our own.