Six employees received the University’s 2013 Outstanding Staff Awards last week during a reception in the Student Union Ingman Room.The event honored some 20 nominees from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2415, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4319, and the Professional Staff Association (PSA).
The top winners from the three groups were:
• AFSCME — Jane Lawrence, secretary in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at UT Medical Center. She has worked at the hospital for 27 years. “I have worked closely with Jane for many years, and the positive qualities that I have witnessed are her patience and warmth toward our patients,” one nominator wrote. “It can get pretty overwhelming with the work load and the many tasks thrown at her during the day. Even if she is having the worst day ever, a patient would never know it. She greets the patients with a warm smile and is willing to help with whatever they may need.”
Karen Whitmer, social worker patient care coordinator in UT Medical Center’s Outpatient Rehabilitation. She has worked at the University 25 years. “Karen’s role in rehab services has evolved from being mainly rooted in the Outpatient Rehab Clinic to sharing her time with the Coughlin Rehab Unit as well. She handled this transition with grace and continues to juggle patient caseloads in both areas,” a nominator wrote. “She is always willing to help when it comes to any and all patients. Karen is willing to listen to co-workers and patients and provide advice or even just share a smile to brighten their days.”
• CWA — Brenda Young, administrative assistant in the Student Union. She has worked at the University since 2007. “She puts her heart and soul into making each event, whether small or large, as smooth and successful as possible,” one nominator wrote. “She seeks out teachable moments, realizing that the mission of the University is to improve the human condition and that all students are here for an education. This education includes their functioning as an employee. She leads by example, always demonstrating patience and courtesy — even with difficult clients. Brenda defuses tense situations by using humor and creative thinking to offer options and choices whenever possible.”
Lynda Obee, records management officer in the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women. She joined the UT staff in 1992. “Lynda has worked different jobs at the University; this experience has made her very knowledgeable. Because of that knowledge, students and staff approach her for help with problems. If Lynda has no answer, she will find the help you need. She does this with a smile,” a nominator wrote. “Lynda is always willing to help at University functions. She has put countless hours in on weekends and evenings. She also manages to attend classes to further her education. She’s done all this despite some difficulties in her own life.”
• PSA — Sara Clark, assistant director of the Center for International Studies and Programs. She has worked at the University since 2007. “Sara began at UT as a residence hall director; she lived in the residence hall with her husband and daughter for three years. She welcomed students as part of her family. Now she is working with a new international-focused living learning community with students moving in this fall,” one nominator wrote. “Sara brings a genuine caring and calmness to the busy atmosphere of the center. She understands the joys and difficulties international students face when transitioning to live at UT and in the United States.”
Nancy Hintz, assistant director of admission operations in Undergraduate Admission. She joined the UT staff in 1993. “She is thorough, forward-thinking, gets results, and follows through,” one nominator wrote. “She is the first to arrive each morning and the last to leave each night. She often spends a portion of her weekend in the office and during the critical orientation season, during heavy workload periods, during project development and implementation timelines, and simply to provide the customer service for which she is known. And she does it all with kindness and a positive attitude; her patience is endless. She is a fearless, logical and understanding leader.”