University Awards & Recognition

2015
Distinguished Staff Award

The Distinguished Staff Award recognizes 12 staff members, who have had five years of continuous service, for exceptional accomplishments, leadership, and service to the university community by significantly improving or enhancing the quality of worklife in ways that make a substantial difference for their colleagues; contributing to outstanding and sustained improvements in customer services; and developing creative solutions to problems that result in significantly more effective and efficient university operations. The Office of Human Resources awards honorees a $1,500 cash award and a $700 increase to their base salary.

Nominations

 

Eileen Mehl Boelcskevy

Associate Director, Medical Education
College of Medicine

Eileen Mehl Boelcskevy

Eileen Mehl Boelcskevy believes in achieving balance in future medical professionals: one part skill and knowledge; one part humanism and compassion. It is not a stretch to say Boelcskevy is the purveyor of the latter in the College of Medicine.

Though her role for the past six years has been to oversee the college’s special events — Orientation and its White Coat Ceremony, Student Clinician Ceremony, Hooding Convocation and other graduation celebrations — Boelcskevy has made it her mission to add a humanistic touch to each student’s academic journey.

Boelcskevy teamed up with faculty and staff to develop a touching memorial ceremony to honor those who donated their bodies to medical education and science. “Under her guidance, this ceremony has grown to a large, poignant and moving service that teaches the students to respect the sacrifice and lessons of their ‘first patients,’” a faculty nominator wrote.

Boelcskevy pays special attention to mind and body. She facilitated wellness activities for the students, helping students equip a small gym in the main medical building and arranging exercise and healthy cooking classes and mindfulness practices. As chair elect of the Medicine and the Arts Board, Boelcskevy works after hours to create a robust worklife environment, bringing in speakers and artistic productions in collaboration with other colleges and departments.

“From my own perspective as a faculty member, Eileen is a trusted colleague, a source of wise advice and a person who can see the possibilities,” another nominator wrote. “She often reminds me that the students have amazing talent — and that sometimes we just need to step to the side. The students’ success is her success, and she takes pride in helping create the physicians of tomorrow.”

Amy L. Carey

Senior Assistant Director
East Asian Studies Center

Amy L. Carey

A pioneer of ideas and a master of efficiency, Amy Carey has garnered the respect and admiration of everyone she has worked with and for. Those who have called her supervisor note her encouragement and constant praise for their contributions, respect for their opinions and mentorship that’s second to none. One nominator noted six instances in a four-year span where Carey’s direct reports, all women of diverse backgrounds and skills, were guided professionally and instilled with such confidence that they became managers themselves.

“Without Amy’s leadership and support, I would not have developed my own leadership skills, and it is quite possible that my career would not have expanded and flourished in the university environment,” a nominator wrote. “… Anyone reporting to her would achieve job enrichment.”

With the East Asian Studies Center since 2006, Carey intimately knows its ins and outs. She has stewarded it through the last two rounds of competitive U.S. Department of Education Title VI renewal funding, helping secure more than $5 million for the EASC, third-most in this last round among the 18 national centers. Her collaboration ideas have sparked new partnerships, instructional initiatives for K-12 teachers and specialized tracks within the center’s master’s program.

Carey was the influence in making the master’s program a success, always soliciting feedback to optimize the student experience and create a diverse pool of scholars. “She is the constant and unifying presence — the administrative linchpin — in a program comprised of East Asian specialists spread across the university,” a faculty nominator wrote.

In addition, Carey lends her talent to the University Staff Advisory Committee as vice-chair – treasurer/recorder, volunteering her time while advocating on behalf of all staff with university leaders.

“Unfailingly modest and cheerful, it is with a spirit of infectious generosity, openness to change and thoughtfulness that she has rendered exemplary service to the university and the state of Ohio,” another nominator wrote. “Ms. Carey personifies the highest standards of integrity, dedication, excellence and leadership.”

Karen Carroll

Chief Fiscal Officer
Ohio State Marion

Karen Carroll

Karen Carroll is a big-picture thinker who strives to have a diversity of voices heard on major initiatives at Ohio State Marion. One of her major projects was the Marion Campus Strategic Planning Steering Committee, and she fought to ensure that a broad range of voices were selected to be a part of the effort.

“The result has been wonderful,” a committee member wrote. “Having eclectic voices around the table has led to some very careful and houghtful discussion.”

When projects seem destined to die on the vine, Carroll has the wherewithal to break through the silos and bring the right people together. A student housing project didn’t have the proper market analysis to move forward, so Carroll involved Enrollment Management to get incoming student data and Student Life, which gathered survey responses from students during finals week — enough to build a quality analysis.

A consummate professional, Carroll listens intently and always has an open mind. She is adept at getting individuals to sort through any issue, helping them come to solutions on their own by guiding them with carefully crafted questions.

“I have seen many individuals both staff and faculty be very appreciative of her approach as she has helped them sharpen their own skills,” a nominator wrote. 

Carroll’s outlook is always positive, she carefully listens to others and garners their perspectives to better inform her own. And while she already has attained a top role at Marion, she never stops trying to improve her leadership skills, investing her time in learning how people and systems work and how they can work better together through reading, seminars and conferences. And if that knowledge can help others, she shares it willingly.

She immediately transformed Marion’s business office into a user-friendly entity, nullifying the often-confusing systems and procedures and training the staff to be generalists who can tackle any problem and are patient, helpful and instructive.

“Karen’s work ethic and commitment to the campus community enhances the quality of work life on campus, exudes excellence in service in a variety of ways and makes our campus a better place through her creative problem solving and embracing of the university core values,” another nominator wrote.

Susan Chess

Music Supervisor
Department of Dance

Susan Chess

Of the many roles Susan Chess has performed during her 38 years with the Department of Dance, one thing has never changed: her desire to be the best and bring a cheerful and passionate disposition to her work. Originally hired by Helen Alkire, the department’s founder, as an accompanist for the dancers, Chess has evolved to become a performer, teacher, administrator and trainer of musicians, course scheduler, rehearsal-space liaison and mentor and friend to many.

More than one nominator lauded Chess’ musical skills with a piano and percussive instruments but even more so her ability to train dancers and dance faculty on how to better translate the synergy between dance and music. “Few musicians sense, as she does, the various types of music that physically and kinesthetically support a dancer’s leap, help propel a series of turns, sustain a dancer’s long lyrical line or create the propulsive spring necessary to execute quick, darting footwork,” a nominator wrote.

Chess has willingly devoted hours to researching, rehearsing and performing — so students could have the best complement of dance and music.

Chess earned her bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in music education from Ohio State and she teaches a Dalcroze Eurythmics class within the dance department. She has served on a search committee to hire a new movement practice faculty member and oversees the disposition and care of all the department’s musical instruments. But her witty and playful demeanor are treasured as well, leading one nominator to call her, “the emotional glue of the department.”

“She asks good questions, gives ideas generously, offers to help others, brings laughter and honesty, and adds a level of detail and care to all she touches,” another nominator wrote.

Suzanne Dantuono

Director of Academic Advising
College of Engineering

Suzanne Dantuono

In the College of Engineering, Suzanne Dantuono provides quality academic advising for one of the university’s most challenging programs.

Serving as the college’s director of academic advising since 2011, she directly supervises five advisors and strives to provide the highest quality of academic advising for engineering students. 

The college’s Academic Standards and Progress committee oversees the academic progress of students, and Dantuono is tasked with overseeing the academic progress of undeclared and re-exploring students. She also advises struggling students to help them get back on the right track. As one nominator wrote, “Suzanne has a remarkable ability to present difficult information in a way that makes students realize she is looking out for their best interest.”

Dantuono also has worked to make the academic advisors more data-driven and technologically savvy to accommodate students who take courses that use online modules. In an effort to improve communication, Dantuono also initiated the development of an engineering advising website which serves as a centralized source of information for current students and their families. She also developed a pre-orientation Carmen site for incoming freshmen that helps students and families prepare for summer orientation.

As one nominator noted, Dantuono’s most impressive skill set is that, “she is phenomenally adept at querying the student information system for enrollment trends, student performance and retention.” As a result, she has been the go-to person to ask about student enrollment in service courses such as math and chemistry. In addition, Dantuono represents her college at the college secretaries meetings conducted by the registrar and at the College Advisory Committee meetings and advising administrators’ meetings coordinated by the assistant provost for undergraduate education.

Dantuono is, “the epitome of the One University concept,” a nominator wrote, and faculty and students alike benefit from her guidance.

Pete Gosser

Machine Shop Supervisor
Department of Physics

Pete Gosser

Pete Gosser is as handy with a tool as he is at teaching undergraduate and graduate students the hands-on skills that will assist them in their future research careers.

Gosser uses various specialized and computer-controlled machine tools and other equipment to bring a rough concept sketch to life. As one nominator wrote, “Pete’s machining work is consistently of such intricacy and beauty that the word ‘artisan’ could perhaps more comprehensively describe Pete’s abilities.” 

With the reductions of machine shop courses throughout many departments, Gosser’s expertise is highly valued and he is often sought-after across campus. He also instills the importance of safety with his students as they complete course projects. 

Gosser also is known to assist faculty with their students on larger engineering projects. In one nominator’s experience, “He assigned homework, discussed materials, fasteners, safety, and had the students carrying out a series of increasingly sophisticated projects using drills, end mills, lathes, etc. Frankly, attendance at his classes was somewhat better than it was in my own weekly student meetings, and the results have been incredibly gratifying.”

Gosser has more than 15 years of exemplary service in the physics department and offers his more than 30 years of manufacturing experience to all colleges at the university. For example, he helped out the Nuclear Reactor Laboratory in fabricating and machining replacement test equipment pieces. 

Wrote a nominator: “Pete is a self-motivated, highly competent craftsman and respected leader within his group and within the department.”

Jeffrey Grabmeier

Senior Director, Research and Innovation Communications
Office of University Communications

Jeffrey Grabmeier

Jeff Grabmeier has been directly responsible for countless faculty members getting the attention they deserve for their research.

Grabmeier has provided almost 30 years of detailed news releases and promotion of research that has been published by Ohio State faculty. His news releases have led to hundreds of thousands of news stories about Ohio State research that enhance the institutions’s reputation as a comprehensive public research university.

Faculty members trust Grabmeier to write clearly about their research in a way that the general public can understand. “Jeff’s press releases have led to news stories in newspapers, on radio, on local television and on national television,” a nominator wrote.

One of Grabmeier’s most notable accomplishments was his leadership in the planning for the ScienceWriters2014 conference, the national meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Through his seamless planning and executing of the conference, hosted by the university for the first time in 30 years, 35 Ohio State faculty members made presentations about their research during the event, and prominent news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Wired, CBS News, Scientific American, Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today and many others reported on the Ohio State research presentations directly afterward.

As noted by a nominator, “His efforts in planning and executing one of the most successful ScienceWriters meetings ever have given the university a great gift in enhancing our reputation as a top research institution.”

Kathy Krajnak

Assistant Director of Student Activities
Program Coordinator, Mount Leadership Society
Office of Student Life

Kathy Krajnak

Kathy Krajnak has been active in the lives of students for the past 22 years and has been a driving force to provide more and better experiences for student scholars.

Starting as an assistant director of residence life in 1993, Krajnak has been a professional mentor for hundreds of staff members in residence life and student activities, advising the Residence Hall Advisory Council and contributing to the residence life organization. She served as president of GLACUHO, a regional association of college and university housing professionals. 

From her commitment to her leadership positions, Krajnak was in 2000 given the responsibility for overseeing Ohio State’s first scholars program, the Mount Leadership Society. The Mount Society differs from other scholars programs in that most are structured as two-year experiences. As program coordinator, Krajnak developed a four-year experience to give upperclassmen additional leadership and co-curricular experiences. 

As one nominator wrote, “Kathy provides visionary direction for the program and pours every ounce of herself into building relationships with her students, teaching leadership and creating an unparalleled experience for them.”

Krajnak has been recognized by both students and faculty for her contributions to residence life. She has received honorary membership in student organizations and received awards from student leaders. She also received recognition from international and regional professional associations such as ACUHO-I and GLACUHO. 

Buts as one nominator wrote, “Far more important to her than these types of accolades has been the satisfaction of knowing that her efforts have gotten Ohio State students involved in creative and meaningful ways that ultimately make them better graduates, citizens and leaders.”

Laurie Spadaro

Administrative Associate
Fisher College of Business

Laurie Spadaro

In a department (Management Sciences) that comprises nearly four dozen faculty members and graduate students, Laurie Spadaro single-handedly manages all of its administrative tasks — from organizing seminars to managing travel to placing book orders and more (on occasion she has even served as an emergency cat-sitter) — and does it all in a cheerful and friendly yet professional manner that has drawn universal admiration.

“Laurie is a catalyst in enhancing almost every aspect of the daily operation of the department,” a nominator wrote. “Her devotion to giving 110 percent effort has been instrumental in the overall effectiveness of the entire faculty, staff, student workers and PhD students.”

Nominators say she consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty, not only staying late or coming in on weekends to finish important tasks, but also by helping new faculty figure out what part of town to live when they arrive in town.

“Her kindness is as much a part of what she does as is her knowledge and efficiency in getting things done,” another nominator wrote. “She helps make our department feel like a family as much as a professional office.” Another nominator echoed that sentiment, calling her, “the matriarch of the department.”

“Laurie is the glue that holds us together,” wrote another nominator. “She is reliable in getting things done without letting things slip through the cracks (and) friendly and approachable when someone needs help. She also is creative and willing to try new things when other staff might just give up.”

Anna Stephenson

Officer, Division of Police
Department of Public Safety

Anna Stephenson

Anna Stephenson is one of the most recognized members of Ohio State’s Police Division, serving as the protective detail for university presidents and other dignitaries and VIP visitors to campus.

But simply doing that job has not been what has earned Stephenson the universal respect of her colleagues. 

“As law enforcement officers, we enforce the law, manage chaotic situations and respond when people are at their worst,” a nominator wrote. “But as university employees, we encourage growth, foster learning and teach skills that carry our students into their future lives. No one exemplifies this overlap more than Anna Stephenson.”

She works on the Crisis Assessment Team, responding to hundreds of events in various stages of chaos or crisis in a compassionate way that balances the needs of all parties involved. She also mentors younger officers and other employees — not only encouraging them to continue to better themselves but walking that walk herself by earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working full-time.

“She is just as comfortable assisting students (sometimes in crisis) as she is working with the Board of Trustees,” another nominator wrote. “There are very few places on campus or in town where you will not run into someone who knows her and has a story about how she helped them.”

And as visible as she can sometimes be in her work, much of her work itself remains behind the scenes and not easily apparent to others.

“Anna epitomizes the concept of service that makes Ohio State University such a special organization in which unity of purpose supersedes individual ego,” wrote a nominator. “She is a model of selfless and exceptional commitment to this wonderful university.”

Jamie White

Assistant to the Associate Dean
Ohio State Newark

Jamie White

Jamie White is a talented professional who is always willing to go go the extra step to help others, whether in the workplace or in the community at large.

In her role as assistant to the associate dean, White’s responsibilities are numerous and ever-changing — many of which are part of the job but others she takes on simply out of loyalty to the university and to the Newark campus. 

She is equally likely to play a part in improving technology — she worked on the implementation of the new Newark Portal, communicating with IT, advising and admissions to make sure her colleagues understood the new system — as she is to create and implement “National Ice Cream Float Day” on campus.

White is also part of a small team of volunteers called the “Work-a-Joylics,” who create fun activities while also connecting staff to service opportunities.

“She also has taken the lead on some large community service projects, contacting every charity in Licking County to see if there was any way our office could be of assistance to them,” a nominator wrote. “She took the time to work with all who responded and coordinated our activities to help them.”

White also spurred the creation of Newark’s Staff Advisory Committee and building its relationship to the wider USAC to make sure Newark campus issues were raised at the university level.

“Jamie is a natural leader on the Newark campus. She is respected by faculty and staff here. She is so admired because she is highly skilled and also friendly and open. People trust Jamie — they know that she works hard, she is knowledgeable and she is helpful.”

Lawrence Williamson Jr.

Director, Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center
Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Lawrence Williamson Jr.

Larry Williamson could well have been honored with a Distinguished Staff Award for work he does that is not strictly part of his job description.

After all, two annual campus-wide events — the day of service and celebration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Thanksgiving Dinner that has grown to serve more than 3,000 international students annually — came about directly because of him. He serves as advisor to three student groups. He is the curator for art exhibitions (including the annual Staff Arts and Crafts Exhibit) in Bricker Hall. And he serves on numerous campus-wide committees that nominators say all benefit from his presence.

But it has been Williamson’s work as director of the Hale Black Cultural Center that has been truly exemplary. Attracting more than 100,000 visitors a year and open 24 hours a day, the center is one of the top-rated of its kind in the country.

It is to his credit that the operation of the center did not miss a beat when its former home was razed and the center relocated, despite the fact that it went from having an entire building to occupying a single floor in another building. It could have been a volatile situation, but Williamson diplomatically pulled it off for the greater good.

“We made the transition happen in a way that would still accommodate all the functions of the previous building and without students losing any services,” a nominator wrote. “The renovation plans worked, saving thousands of dollars, and the center even gained a Civil Rights Library.”

“Larry serves passionately and far beyond his university title,” another nominator wrote. “He has distinguished himself as a credible, honorable and authentic leader based on the simple belief that he can and should make a difference. And indeed — he has.”