Use this form to nominate a staff member that exemplifies Westminster’s core values and has made a significant contribution to the university this past month. Please provide a description for why you are nominating this individual, and include a specific example of how they have recently supported the Westminster community.
Nominations are due by the 25th of the month and the winner will be selected by the Staff Recognition committee. The results will be announced in the monthly Griffin Gazette and all nominations will be forwarded to the nominees and listed on the Westminster website. The winner will receive a gift card and access to the “Staff of the Month” parking space for the entirety of the next month.
Westminster’s Core Values
- Impassioned teaching and active learning
- Respect for diverse people and perspectives
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Personal and social responsibility
- University-wide excellence
- High ethical standards
2022–23 Nominations and Winners
Winner: Hollie Fernandez
Nominated by: Brett Campbell
Please accept my nomination of Hollie Fernandez, Testing Center Coordinator for Staff of the Month. Hollie represents the best of Westminster's core values on a daily basis. Taking exams under the best of circumstances can be stressful. Prior to the exam, Hollie makes sure everything is in place. She schedules a time that meets the needs of the student and the faculty. She manages the room schedule and coordinates with the instructor to have the exam ready before the student arrives. Hollie greets each student with a calm and kind demeanor, setting the stage for the best possible testing experience. During an exam, Hollie proctors the test via video feed, maintaining the integrity of the exam process. In addition, she tracks the time of each test, kindly letting students know when time is up. After a student completes their exam, Hollie says goodbye and asks if they need to schedule their next test when appropriate. Hollie returns the exam to instructor in a timely fashion. In addition to maintaining excellence in the Testing Center, Hollie provides essential support to Disability Services. Hollie makes each student feel welcome as they arrive for an appointment. She is skilled at providing accurate and detailed information that helps students be successful. Hollie has the highest of work standards and ethics. She shares and teaches these values to the student employees she supervises. It is a rare moment when Hollie is not at her desk. Hollie is an employee of whom everyone can be proud to have as a represent of Westminster College.
Winner: Michael Harris
Nominated by: Tony Russell
Over the past year, Mike has been one of my most dependable and hard working employees. He has routinely volunteered to cover shifts ( since we are down an officer), and has come in early to relieve other officers. Specifically, I am nominating him for his actions during this last month. We have had a few vehicle burglaries in our lots and I have asked our graveyard officers to patrol the lots a little more often than usual. I have routinely seen on our cameras, Mike in the lots for hours upon hours patrolling them during the middle of the night. Last week, around 5 a.m. Mike was in the office doing paperwork and watching the cameras at the same time. He noticed a unknown male enter the underground parking lot attempting to enter unlocked vehicle doors. Mike recognized him from prior thefts and quickly responded to the area. He arrived and quickly located the male suspect. He announce his presence which scared the suspect off. He did not get into a confrontation with the suspect, which is our policy, but he still thwarted the suspect from entering or stealing anything from our parked vehicles. For these reasons, I am nominating Mike for employee of the month. Thank you for your consideration.
Winner: Mary Edmonds
Nominated by: Glenn Smith
Mary has recently taken residence in Student Affairs and is doing the challenging job of care, outreach, Title IX and conduct with our students. This job is at the heart of student development. Mary has brought expertise, grace, and wisdom to an extremely difficult position. A typical day might include 2 conduct meetings, an intervention with a student in crises, and a visit to a hospital with a student who has been sexually assaulted. Mary has taken these challenges head on and our students have benefited from her skill, compassion, and knowledge. I recommend Mary for this honor with all confidence that she deserves this recognition and so much more.
Nominated by: Ian Troost
There's not enough room to list everything needed here, but Mary has gone above and beyond for our students countless times this entire semester, but particularly in February. Not only is she balancing multiple roles, but the nature of her work often leads to long days and nights, putting students first, and doing so while navigating nuanced and complex situations. Not only has Mary supported our students completely selflessly, but has also supported her coworkers simultaneously. Mary truly deserves staff of the year, for the seemingly never ending work which requires so much care and patience. We are so lucky to have Mary, her experience, and her expertise at Westminster and in the Dean of Student's office.
Nominated by: Jessica Brazell-Brayboy
During her time as Title IX Coordinator, Mary has significantly increased the visibility of the Title IX support services at Westminster while maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of students who contact the office for support. This has been possible because of the warmth and care Mary extends to students who are in crisis. In some cases this also includes supporting students' families. The very nature of Mary's work is to meet students in crisis. As Director of Student Care and Conduct, Mary works with students who find themselves at a crossroads of their own personal development and their impact on the community of which they are a member. At this intersection the student must examine their choices, how they contribute to community, and set a path for positive change. Mary helps them consider these things while prioritizing the dignity of all involved. The work takes heart and smarts. Mary has it in spades.
Nominated by: Oliver Anderson
Mary Edmonds has truly gone above and beyond for our students and community. The month of February may be the shortest month in the year, but I doubt it felt like it for Mary. I witnessed first hand the back-to-back student emergencies and concerns from faculty/staff that stacked Mary's workdays. Most of which involved early mornings and extended evenings for Mary (including weekends). However, Mary didn't just put in the hours. She put in the deep care and compassion needed to support students in some of their darkest and most difficult moments. Mary handled a range of student situations with pose and intentionality. I don't think our community fully understands how unbelievably fortunate we are to have Mary with us. Mary's skill set, wealth of knowledge, and commitment to our students honestly makes our student lives better here at Westminster and we own her so much gratitude and appreciation. Mary, thank you. I can't imagine how our community would attempt to thrive without you here with us. Thank you for giving the community your time, energy, and compassion. I see you!
Nominated by: Jannel Snow
Mary was faced with a difficult Student-Athlete conduct situation this month. She handled the situation professionally and with grace. She is a sharp leader with great communication skills and a kind heart. As a new employee, and somebody who typically only works with athletics staff members, I am constantly meeting new personnel. Mary helped me feel welcomed and supported.
Nominated by: Lauren Jones
Braden has challenged and supported me in the past six months in a new role and I'm so grateful for his leadership. He makes the words good. He is the supervisor that I've always hoped I'd stumble on: he never faults me for making a mistake and encourages me to keep trying, even when I feel anxious. He is funny in a way that invites you in for a laugh, sneaky and kind and refreshing. He shovels snow endlessly and without complaint, he takes care of his community and his ward, and he finds seasonal Redbulls outside their seasons and then gives them away. Braden's, quite literally, the best.
Nominated by: Maddie Hayes
Braden Thompson is a fantastic supervisor! He leads the admissions communications team with professionalism and kindness. It is a unique combination, and I have not encountered a similar supervisor in my work experience - I know I am fortunate to work with Braden! He expects our team to do our best work and keeps us accountable. However, he gently guides us along the way and elevates our strengths, encouraging us and occasionally bringing in baked goods or our favorite drink to keep our spirits high. He constantly is trying to be a better supervisor, frequently asking what is working well in our workload and what could be better. He is willing to try new things and keeps the work fresh. Recently, he established weekly opportunities for professional development on our team, giving each of us an opportunity to lead the meeting and seek material to share with each other. This not only helps us develop our leadership skills but is a great opportunity to come together and learn something new. Cheers to Braden! Raise your Red Bull if you have one, reader!
Nominated by: Rebecca Riley
Lauren is an amazing member of the enrollment management communications team! Lauren is so creative and brings our communication projects to life. If you don't already follow @westminsteradmissions on Instagram, you should! She is the mastermind behind the account and creates amazing reels, posts, and stories to engage prospective students that are relevant, informative, and fun! She has recently been collaborating with the graduate admissions team to improve their email communications and make them more engaging and personal. On top of all her incredible communication work, she is the leader of our department's DEI Action Team and is dedicated to promoting that important work in our department and around campus.
Nominated by: Rebecca Riley
Julie joined our graduate admissions team in October and has been an incredible addition to the enrollment management team! She has worked hard to learn as much as possible about our systems, processes, programs, and community. She is always eager to take on a challenge, help colleagues with projects, and collaborate with others. She provides exceptional customer service to our prospective graduate students and makes them feel at ease and comfortable during what can be a stressful process. She is responsive, friendly, patient, and constantly strives for excellence. Recently, she has taken the lead on a hiring committee for our team and has shown incredible commitment to fair and equitable hiring practices.
Nominated by: Jessica Johnston
Jeff's efforts to identify and approach organizations with a passion for financially supporting students' interest in STEM allowed us to offer two successful Science Saturday events. Between the fall and spring event, 58 middle school and high school students spent a day on Westminster's campus engaged in hands-on science and math workshops. Jeff raised almost $9000 for these events, which allowed us to both offer a significantly discounted fee for every student who enrolled and financially support the faculty and Westminster students who were involved in the camp. Jeff is so easy to work with, always enthusiastic, and so humble about the amazing work he does. I am so grateful to him for his efforts to improve access to STEM education in our community.
Nominated by: Robyn Hyde
Jeff has been instrumental at helping Meldrum Science develop a new program, "Science Saturday". In the past we had a summer science camp that was put on hold and Jeff helped us to restart the conversation about camps, helped us imagine Science Saturday and this year Meldrum Science hosted two successful camps, one for Junior High girls and another for High Schoolers. He went above and beyond his role to help us develop the camp. Not only did he do all of the fundraising, which allowed us to only charge a $25 fee for a camp costing approximately $150 per participant, he also helped with the logistics of getting the day-camp off the ground. As someone who has been involved in several campus events, he provided his extensive knowledge and linked us to other experts that helped us plan the events. We are so grateful that he encouraged us to re-imagine what a camp could look like.
Nominated by: Olivia Morfas
Walter always goes above and beyond what is asked of him and what he can do for his fellow admissions team. There have been many times during our hectic spring traveling season where my director or supervisor were out and Walter stepped up as the main point of contact for questions and direction. He is probably one of the most dependable people I've ever worked with and definitely deserves to be recognized for it! He is a big reason why the admissions team continues to run smoothly.
Nominated by: Chris LeCluyse
Karen has been holding down double duty in both Enrollment Management and Financial Aid and does her work with grace and diligence. She is always approachable and responds to requests with an eagerness to get the job done.
Nominated by: Julie Hildebrand
Rebecca comes to work every day with a smile on her face. She contributes to a fun office environment while being incredibly productive. Not only is she dedicated to helping prospective students and applicants, she works hard to assist many members of her team every day. Rebecca checks in on her colleagues and always asks if she can help in any way by taking something off of someone's plate, even though her plate is quite full! She always meets deadlines and stays organized. She is an amazing note-taker and documents each meeting, providing detailed notes afterwards and asking thoughtful follow-up questions. Rebecca also thinks very long-term, and is already writing out details and starting to work on projects that wont take place for several months. She is prepared, thoughtful, and resourceful. I am inspired by Rebecca's contagious optimistic attitude and approach to our work in admissions.
Winner: Brittany Hansen
Nominated by: Debbie Tahmassebi
The McNair Director position has been open for a few months. During that time, Britany has stepped up and provided exceptional support for our McNair students and the program. Britany is so obviously committed to our program (the only one in the state!) and its students. She worked hard to ensure that the most recent report had accurate and up-to-date information and played a key role in the search process to hire the new director (who starts soon - yay!).
Nominated by: Shari Duckworth
Piper has taken on additional responsibilities and has provided great leadership as we are going through a transition period. Through her leadership we have become an example of what a group of individuals can accomplish when they come together with the goal of helping each other be successful in a challenging time. Piper has a wealth of knowledge in all areas of the accounting and student accounts offices. I have watched as Piper has built our team members up and has always been respectful and willing to provide assistance when asked. We are appreciative of Piper's dedication and are thankful that she agreed to step up when we are faced with great challenges. I am amazed and so proud of everything we as a team have accomplished with Piper's leadership.
Nominated by: Doreen Espinoza
Jovana has a passion for everything she does. Whether it is student education, tax preparation or just working with others that also help in the community. She is there promoting Westminster and developing important relationships. I cannot speak too highly of Jovana as she is an inspiration to many of us to be the best we can be and using our education and skills in a positive and impactful way.
Winner: Sophie Caligiuri
Nominated by: Debbie Tahmassebi
Sophie is a Westminster alum and a relatively new staff member on campus. She took a lead role in organizing interviews and visits for two different dean searches. She had to coordinate with external search consultants, our internal search committee, and myself. She was incredibly professional, a great host to visiting candidates, and clear with her messaging to candidates and to campus. This was her first time doing this kind of work and she was a star. She did a great job presenting Westminster College to our candidates.
Winner: Ian Troost
Nominated by: Jessica Brazell-Brayboy
Ian plays an exceptional role in Student Affairs and does it with professionalism and a humble stance. As a team member in the Dean of Students Office, Ian often plays a first line role in responding to students in personal and active crisis. He does this gently and respectfully, particularly with students and colleagues with whom he does not share identities. Such an approach is of note because it not only requires focus, the work takes an emotional toll when a student is upset and seeking support. Nevertheless, Ian consistently and notably demonstrates respect for diverse people and perspectives.
Ian is a collaborative person and hard worker. As the saying goes, you can't teach hard work. Ian has worked diligently to develop an attitude of personal and social responsibility while serving students.
Nominated by: Bri Buckley
Ian is a great collaborator and is committed to fulfilling every responsibility completely and to the best of his ability. His hard work supporting students in so many different ways is a real contribution to student life on campus and the quality of the campus community. He's willing to step in to help in any way he can, and can always be counted on to support whatever needs doing.
Nominated by: Oliver Anderson
Ian is an outstanding colleague and member of the Westminster community. This month started with an increase in residential student covid cases after months of little-to-no cases. Ian didn’t skip a beat or stall once. As soon as the cases were coming in, he jumped on the procedure and begin assisting each student in their situation. Leading with care and confidence, Ian singlehandedly placed majority of the students who needed to enter isolation with precision and speed. He ensured that all parties were up to speed on who was in isolation and what support they needed. From meal deliveries to room assignments and sanitation, Ian ensured each student was informed and supported from start to finish. This all took place on top of his day-to-day responsibilities, which didn’t lighten up during this month. He balanced all of this without complaining or neglecting any projects. And with it all, we still found him asking the team, “how else can I help?” Ian is a true Griffin and valued member of our team and community. Thank you, Ian!
Nominated by: Rebecca Penerosa
Kim works tirelessly to further the work for arts education on campus and throughout the state of Utah. She goes above and beyond in advocating for our graduate and undergraduate programs while facilitating the continuing education work as well. She always maintains a spirit of optimism and has a joyous character while being professional. We really couldn't do this work without her!
Nominated by: Kelly Asao
Molly exemplifies the best of Westminster. She is dedicated to helping our students and supporting them through their mental health journeys. Students have raved about the quality of care at the counseling center, but particularly from Molly. She is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion for all of our students. I know she has run groups for our BIPOC students in First Scholars and supports events for our LGBTQIA+ community, such as Westminster Pride. Molly is exceptional and makes the campus a safer, more inclusive space. She very much deserves this recognition.
Winner: Maddie Hayes
Nominated by: Braden Thompson
Maddie has been part of the enrollment management team for just over a year, but she quickly became someone who people trust to take on all kinds of responsibilities. Recently, she stepped into a leadership role on the enrollment management team's onboarding and professional development action team-creating streamlined procedures for onboarding new staff and assigning professional development topics and facilitators for the monthly all-enrollment meetings.
In her day-to-day work, she has become an integral part of our database (Slate) team, working to develop new procedures and diving headfirst into all kinds of technical problems. One of her first Slate projects was leading an initiative to add personal pronouns (for admissions counselors who chose to do so) that populate automatically in the variable signature lines on outreach emails to prospective students.
Outside of her official responsibilities, Maddie helps cover the admissions front desk when staffing is short, and you can always find her among the last to leave campus gatherings. (If you've been to any of the happy hours, you've likely seen or met Maddie.) And did I mention she does all this while pursuing a Master of Arts in Community Leadership and being the best dog mom to a rambunctious little pup named Goose?
Nominated by: Jessica Johnston
Jeff was instrumental in fundraising for a new STEM outreach event called Science Saturday. He spent countless hours in planning meetings with Robyn Hyde, Jessica Johnston, and members of founding sponsor AAUW. The inaugural event for middle school girls was a huge success, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants.
I don't think this event would exist if not for Jeff. He is passionate about supporting girls in science and identifying like-minded donors. He is easy to communicate with, supportive of his colleagues, and clearly excited to be part of this event (that hilariously excludes people of his gender).
Nominated by: Jon Worthen
Andrea is the frontline person that perspective students and the public meets when interacting with Nursing. Andrea is kind, enthusiastic and treats each perspective student with a personalized experience helping them with their individual questions and assisting them to find the resources they need to complete the application process or resolve any questions. Students and perspective students have repeatedly told me of the positive experiences they have had while working with Andrea.
Andrea has the ability to connect with others quickly and help others understand why Westminster is different. She is a vital part of our department and team!
Winner: Keaton Schrank
Nominated by: Debbie Tahmassebi
Keaton went way above and beyond and submitted materials for the the STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Assessment Rating System) which is a self-reporting process that measures campus sustainability efforts. We received a Silver status. It's a lot of work to submit all of the materials that need to be considered as part of this rating system and this was not an expected project that Keaton had to do. This was completed based on her initiative and commitment to campus sustainability work.
Winner: AJ Kerns
Nominated by: Lizette Lyon
With recent staff losses, GSB is restructuring staff responsibilities. AJ has assumed responsibility for student advisement for all the GSB graduate programs, providing great student support while still learning her new role's responsibilities. In addition, during the two weeks before the start of fall semester, GSB doubled the number of newly admitted students. AJ has worked tirelessly to meet with these students, provide advisement, get them registered and onboarded. She's also met with all existing GSB students to ensure a seamless advising transition. She's willingly done evening appointments and come in on Saturdays to meet with students. During a time when AJ is still learning the nuances of her new role, she's continued to put our students first and ensure each one has everything they need to start fall semester. I appreciate the hard work AJ has done, her amazing positive spirit and attitude during a stressful time, and her commitment to Westminster and our students. Thank you SO much, AJ!!
Nominated by: Debbie Tahmassebi
Haley has worked hard over the last several months, partnering with several collaborators across campus, to upgrade our student employment processes in significant ways. These include an increased pay scale for student employees along with new process that integrate better with our Human Resources processes. This work was challenging and required some steps back and then forward again. Haley's patience, collaborative and can-do spirit helped make the project successful.
Nominated by: Pamela Shields
Ian really exemplifies the collaboration and teamwork, as well as university-wide excellence. Ian is always the first to jump in and help where ever he is needed. His roles on campus include admissions, student services, and soccer yet he still has time to jump in for any group that needs help. Over this week of Orientation, his team has been busy the entire time and he still is willing to jump in and help our team with tables, chairs, moving folx around campus. He really does show that teamwork and collaboration really make a huge difference on this campus!
Nominated by: Doug Schooley
Jerad is the solid glue that helps Campus Patrol excel. He has many roles, as follows:
- Let's start with Jerad being a very aware, competent, and conscientious Campus Patrol Officer.
- Expanded are his duties of supervising, training, and organizing training and schedules for all Campus Patrol Officers.
- Jerad also acts as our main campus locksmith and key maker/issuer.
- Jerad's teamwork willingness has him covering all three shifts (days, swings, overnight) to ensure Officer vacation requests.
- Jerad's versatility has him able and prepared to cover last minute sick or unexpected emergency situations for proper campus coverage.
- Jerad has excellent communication skills and very often relays important issues needed from our Director Tony Russell.
- Jerad's compassion for the safety of the students and the overall mission of Westminster University is exemplary.
- Jerad is comfortably friendly and social, also being polite to differences and situational needs.
- Even after 10 years employed here, Jerad offers today increasing levels of dedication regarding campus safety and success.
He is an absolute delight to work with and work for. With superb work ethic, he offers continuous loyalty to Westminster University.
Nominated by: Jess Sweitzer
Trisha Jensen, Director of the Career Center, is an individual I think of when I think of university-wide excellence. Trisha uses her position to create educational opportunities for our students and has their futures in mind when making decisions within her department. Recently, Trisha led her team through some very challenging changes that were outside her control. Through these changes, I saw Trisha act with grace and professionalism. At no point did I see Trisha blame anyone or try to minimize other departments' experiences or feelings. Trisha models both personal and professional responsibility for students, staff and faculty alike. Trisha's professionalism and positive attitude is one that that I try to emulate in my professional responsibilities. For these reasons and so many more, I believe that Trisha Jensen is extremely deserving of staff member of the month. Thank you!
Nominated by: Kara McShane-Hefley
Virginia is not only knowledgeable about all sorts of IS matters, she is also professional and prompt when responding to help desk requests. Virginia is a friendly and kind person who actively works to assist folks all over campus and I want her to know she is appreciated!