Innovation Award

This award is given to a staff member who has generated novel and valuable ideas, and has used these ideas to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, programs, or services. The award recognizes creative ideas that have made UChicago a better place to live and work.

2018-2019 Winner: Nickolas Seamons

Nick joined the University in Autumn 2017 as the Director of the Office of International Affairs. In the short time that he has provided strategic and visionary leadership for OIA, he has gained respect and appreciation from students, the OIA staff, and the larger campus community. He is seen as an expert in his practice area and an outstanding collaborator, advising University leadership on issues around immigration and compliance. 

Nominators praised his many achievements since coming to the University, which include establishing a new and improved annual admissions process, which involves creating immigration documents and providing guidance to more than 1,600 incoming international students; creating a blind application review process to hire new staff members; fostering new partnerships and opportunities for collaboration with International House, which led to the launch of the Global Mentorship Program; and identifying and successfully procuring a new database management system that will enhance efficiency and the services provided to the international population.

A nominator wrote, “I have already learned so much from him within the short time he has been with us, and I think anyone else paying attention will learn so much from him as well. They will learn what it means to look at things from a new perspective, to engage in human-centered deisgn, to try something different (with purpose), and be flexible enough to make adjustments and improvements along the way.”

2018-2019 Innovation Award Nominees:

  • Jennifer Connor-Smith, Student Health Service
  • Shanelle Taylor, Athletics and Recreation
  • Charnessa Warren, Student Disability Services
  • Gregory Whitmore, Housing and Residence Life

Outstanding Newcomer Award

This award is given to an outstanding staff member who has worked at least six months but no more than three years in their current department. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in overall job performance; show willingness to assist beyond normal expectations; and show initiative and creativity in his or her work.

2018-2019 Winner: Casey Talbot

Casey joined the Center for Leadership and Involvement in April 2017 as a Student Involvement Advisor, and her hard work and diligence led to her promotion to her current position as the Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development. She was praised for taking ownership of and elevating signature programs within UChicago LEADS, including the Women's Leadership Book Club series and the Student Leadership Institute, and for being a bridge builder between offices. Directors of other offices across campus often call upon her to lead professional development sessions for staffs focused on teamwork and collaboration. 

Casey also works closely with many student leaders and RSOs as an advisor. Many of these groups have ambitious goals and complex initiatives, and Casey is consistently invested in their success and works tirelessly to develop meaningful relationships with the organizations. One student nominator wrote that Casey “has gone above and beyond to support my organization with excellent advice, a listening ear, and availability above and beyond reasonable expectations.” Another student added that she feels valued working with Casey, and through her advice has been better able to work with other students as a leader.

2018-2019 Outstanding Newcomer Award Nominees:

  • Hannah Barton, International House
  • Becky Benson, Athletics and Recreation
  • Jessica Bychawski, Student Counseling Service
  • Max Evert, Mandel Hall
  • Kappy Fahey, Student Disability Services
  • Elvis Guzman, Center for Leadership and Involvement
  • Bria Kaufman, Campus and Student Life
  • Yu-Yun Liu, Student Counseling Service
  • Layla Matariyeh, Health Promotion and Wellness
  • Tracie Pape, Student Counseling Service
  • Kate Robinson, Athletics and Recreation
  • Nickolas Seamons, Office of International Affairs
  • Shanelle Taylor, Athletics and Recreation
  • Sarah Tolman, Office of International Affairs

Outstanding Service to the University Community Award

This award is given to a staff member who has demonstrated concern and commitment to fulfill needs and ensure satisfaction when providing services to members of the University community including faculty, staff, and students.

2018-2019 Winner: Anne Hartman Raether

Anne is the communications manager in the Office of Campus and Student Life. She is the person responsible for the messages and communications that go out to the University, as well as many of the University websites.

This particular award requires that the nominee identify and react to the needs of the University community; that she considers the impact to the University when taking action; and that she advances the mission of the University through actions and attitudes that are consistent with University values. Anne meets all of those criteria, but her work contributes to the University in many more ways. 

Anne's work goes beyond simply delivering a particular message - her collaboration across departments and her deep commitment to being a model University citizen creates linkages across various university communities. All her stories for the Campus and Student Life website not only make their subjects and the University shine, they also serve as reminders for all of the amazing things happening within CSL and across campus, and they help reconnect community members with the purpose of their work. 

Anne was also praised for her methodical oversight and creative approach that always, as her nominator put it, “improve whatever it was that previously existed.”

Her nominator also wrote: “Anne's willingness to help others and her commitment to her work permeates throughout the University. Every day, Anne exhibits concern for others and the University community at large. She is kind and thoughtful in all of her actions, and the University community is better for it.”

2018-2019 Outstanding Service to the University Community Award Nominees:

  • Kimberly Gardiner, Student Disability Services
  • Kymm Green, Housing and Residence Life
  • Crystal Szewcyzk, Housing and Residence Life
  • Charnessa Warren, Student Disability Services

Outstanding Service to Students Award

This award is presented to the staff member who has provided outstanding service to individual students or student groups on a consistent basis, whether through personal advising, development of programs, or improvements to university systems and policies that affect students.

2018-2019 Winner: Martha Sosa

Martha is an Event Service Worker for the Student Centers. In her position, she executes event set-ups, assists students and event clients, and maintains the physical presentation of Ida Noyes Hall and now the Reynolds Club. While assigned at the Reynolds Club, her contributions have deeply affected the success of the Recognized Student Organization (RSO) Community. Her positive work ethic is recognized and sets the tone for many other staff members and students in the Reynolds Club. 

Nominators noted that Martha thrives in an environment where she can make an impact on the lives of students, and consistently thinks about ways to improve the student experience. She can often be found greeting students wih a smile or in conversation with them.

Another nominator wrote, “almost all RSO events in the Reynolds Club are touched by Martha in some way, and the success of those events starts with a smooth operation and incredibly customer service to students, both outwardly and behind the scenes.”

2018-2019 Outstanding Service to Students Award Nominees:

  • Alisa Crandol, Office of the Bursar
  • Sandra Fernandez, Student Disability Services
  • Kymm Green, Housing and Residence Life

Stephen P. Klass STAR Award (for Service, Teamwork, Attitude, Reliability)

In honor of Stephen P. Klass, who served as Vice President and Dean of Students form 2002–2006, this award is given to the staff member who has, with a positive and forward-thinking attitude, consistently excelled, made outstanding contributions in the area of service, promoted teamwork and collaboration, and worked quietly behind the scenes to improve the unit or their department.

2018-2019 Winner: Anne Brody

Anne Brody is the Associate Director of Clinical Operations at the Student Counseling Service (SCS). She has been a member of the SCS staff for more than 20 years, and her work includes both individual and couples psychotherapy with students as well as supervision of the SCS clinical staff. Anne was praised for consistently going above and beyond to treat her patients, and for being expertly attuned to the needs of students, parents, and the campus community in general. 

One nominator wrote, “Anne routinely fields the most difficult phone calls from students, parents, staff, and faculty, offers an empathetic ear when necessary, works to find solutions to problems, and dives into the middle of the most complicated situations.”

Beyond her work with students, Anne was praised for being “eternally patient, kind, and positive,” and an “unparalleled champion of the staff.” Nominators noted the time and attention she devotes to SCS staff and her willingness to make time to speak with staff both as a group and individually, checking in on their well-being.

Nominators wrote that “Anne's attitude spreads throughout the center and encourages all of us to find joy in our work" and that “without Anne, our work would be much more challenging and far less fulfilling.”

2018-2019 STAR nominees:

  • Sandra Fernandez, Student Disability Services
  • Kimberly Gardiner, Student Disability Services
  • Felissa Nealon, Housing and Residence Life
  • Deborah Pratt, Student Counseling Service
  • Velvette Price, Student Health Service
  • Kate Robinson, Athletics and Recreation
  • Heath Rossner, Housing and Residence Life
  • Crystal Szewczyk, Housing and Residence Life
  • Charnessa Warren, Student Disability Services

UChicagoSocial: Campus and Student Life