You Rock! Awards

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You Rock! Awards

The You Rock! Award was created as a way to recognize and honor unusual dedication and outstanding contributions by the staff members of the College of the Liberal Arts. You may nominate any one person in the College.

Here's the criteria we're looking for:

  • Outstanding achievement on the job
  • Exceptional contributions towards the effectiveness and efficiency of operations
  • Outstanding service to other employees or visitors
  • Special efforts in promoting workforce diversity
  • Distinguished efforts in staff development/recognition

We know that our College is filled with exceptional staff members, and we would like to publicize some of their great accomplishments.

Submit a You Rock! nomination

Previous You Rock! Award winners

February 2017

Marc Kepler - Mark Kepler, a technology consultant in Information Technology, was selected as the You Rock Award recipient for February because “not only was he extremely knowledgeable, he provided outstanding customer service while supporting staff…He was always responsive to questions that we had and spent valuable time troubleshooting with us.” The entire Staff Advisory Committee congratulates Marc and the work that he does to help the college run more smoothly. (Submitted by Nicola Kiver and Cathy Dittman)

November 2015

Nicole Force - Nicole Force is our "driving force" behind the School of Languages and Literatures.  Nicole is serving as the main point of contact for the move back to Burrowes Building on the SLL side of life.  She approaches her duties as if she were the Maestro of the Metropolitan only her orchestra consists of ~230 faculty, staff, lecturers, and grad students.  I can't even begin to list the many details (large, small, and eben smaller) she works with on a daily basis and does so with a smile on her face.  Many would have thrown their hands in the air but not Nicole.  Nicole is still the first to say "what can I do to make your part of the move easier".  For that she deserves a "you move mountains" award, not just a "you rock" award. (Submitted by: Becky Bressler)

October 2015

Tracy Jackson - With unbelievable speed, creative vision, and patience, Tracy created a handout for LA Advising to use at an event for prospective students.  Not only was Tracy gracious and enthusiastic about our last-minute request, she had a refined and incredible draft of the document for us to proof in less than 48 hours.  Her creativity, flexibility, and collaborative nature made the fast-paced task stress-free and enjoyable.  Tracy was a remarkable contributor to the recruitment event (Scholars Day) with her expeditious and wonderful creation, and we are so grateful for her creativity, talent, and team-oriented spirit. (Submitted by: Margaret Hammond and Jamie Brenner)

September 2015

Dean-Susan Welch and the Dean's Office Staff-Nicola, Jessica, Maryam, Faye, Sean, and Chris - The staff at the Dean's office has made me feel so welcome and part of the team from my very first day on the job (the welcomed me with breakfast!).  They all deserve a "You Rock" award fro their ability to train new staff, their positive attitudes, their patience and their hard work at creating such a pleasant work environment every day.  Thank you all so much! (Submitted by: Stephanie Whitesell)

Jeff Foltz - The Jablonski Lab, Department of Anthropology, nominates Jeff Foltz for a You Rock award for all of his wonderful IT help at the start of this semester.  With a new graduate student and post-doc, our lab needed a lot of new equipment and software, often in a hurry.  Jeff managed all of our requests quickly and with a smile; even when our crotchety printer acted up during a busy week!  His constant good humor and expertise are vital to making our lab run smoothly.  Thanks Jeff!  -Nina Jablonski, Tess Wilson, Elizabeth Wright, Sandy Koch, and Tina Lasisi (Submitted by: Tess Wilson)

August 2015

Amy Schmoeller - Due to a staff departure, we were shorthanded just as the spring semester was wrapping up.  The staff in Sociology is exceptional and everyone pitches in, but due to the nature of the vacant position, Amy picked up many additional duties fro several months.  Amy was a HUGE help to me training the temporary employee, coordinating moves, serving on the search committee, and assisting with the orientation and training of our new full-time staff member all while performing her own duties in undergraduate studies support.  Amy, thank you for all your efforts - YOU ROCK! (Submitted by: Kim Smith)

Joshua Zong - Joshua does an excellent job managing the web team helpdesk tickets through the ticket lifecycle.  I've received numerous unsolicited comments from faculty and staff complimenting how quickly Joshu acknowledges, manages and follows up to confirm his solutions support the requester expectations.  Joshu also provides the majority of the department website admin training.

In addition to Josh's core helpdesk responsibilities, he also helps support the college photo requests, monitors/manages the college digital signs, initiated web team website Google analytics project, and performs website development content transfer tasks, thus improving the department website development productivity. (Submitted by: Greg Giles)

July 2015

Kenny Gutshall - While the majority of support staff were out, Kenny Gutshall worked hard to assure departments were taken care of.  Kenny met with an external rep to address a request from the Hemingway Letters Project. -Morgan (Submitted by: Morgan Wellman)

May 2015

Ned Balzer, Travis Freehauf, Kenny Hwang, and Sean McCurry - Thank you to Ned, Travis, Kenny, and Sean for designing and delivering a new Intranet for the college.  Not only does it lok more attractive, but the new structure makes documents and links easier to find.  It is also much easier to add section headers and upload documents.  Thank you so much for providing such great design and functionality.  We really appreciate it! (Submitted by:  Nicola Kiver)

Kathie Alterio - Kathie went above and beyond in the month of April help me close five gifts for the college before my departure on May 1.  Each of these gifts had unique aspects that she diligently worked through with a smile on her face.  Kathie's behind the scenes role in moving paperwork is critical to the fundraising success of the College.  Kathie kudos to you for always doing a great job with a positive attitude especially this past month. (Submitted by: Kelly Stazi)

April 2015

Jessica Fatica, Nicola Kiver, and Maryam Sinawa - Thanks to Jessica, Maryam and Nicola and the rest of the Dean's Office staff who have spent countless hours trying to decipher the new background check system. Their hard work is making a potentially difficult process much easier for all of us in the College. Thank you! (Submitted by:  Kim Keller)

Jillian Balay and Holly Beaver - Jillian and Holly teamed up to organize a very successful Liberal Arts Graduation Open House. The intent of the Open House was to ensure that Liberal Arts graduates had all the material they needed for graduation and to encourage them to fill out the Senior Survey, which is an important part of our data collection strategy to measure how effectively we are helping our students navigate a path to a meaningful professional or academic careeer after graduating. 

Jillian and Holly, along with the entire Student Services and Career Enrichment Network units, organized a very successful open house in which over 1000 liberal arts graduates participated. The entire staff of the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies unit was involved, but Jillian and Holly truly rock for their collaborative work on this.  (Submitted by:  Chris Long)

March 2015

Kathy Andrusisin - Kathy is nothing short of efficient and amazing. So many times I am caught with last minute UEd. requests that I need to pass along and I always feel so bad asking Kathy to rush something for others and she always comes through. Today I had to put in a request because I had planned poorly for a conference that I was going to in 2 days and went to Kathy with a request. Not only did she get back to me right away, but she did so with her usual professionalism and kindness that I really appreciate. In a world where "a lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine", Kathy is one in a million!  (Submitted by:  Jessica Steele)

February 2015

Benjamin Bryan - On behalf of DSAC, I would like to nominate Ben Bryan for a You Rock award. Ben served cheerfully for an extended term as the chair of DSAC, and during his tenure he was professional, organized, supportive, and unflappable. He contributed significantly to DSAC's new employee orientation, with all of the IT support for creating the presentation framework, setting up the registration, and loading all of the new thumb drives. He also made everyone from new employees to our presenters feel welcome, at ease, and appreciated. Ben has a gift for working with a diverse group of people and making it seem easy and fun. Thank You Ben -- You Rock! (Submitted by:  Claudia Horner)

December 2014

Nicole Force - Nicole Force is the School of Languages and Literatures "Unsung Hero and Rock". I speak for all of the SLL staff when I say, without her, we would be lost. Nicole comes in early, stays late, and works many lunch hours to be sure the job is complete. She assists faculty, grads, and staff on a daily basis with a smile and good cheer (even when we know she is very bogged down with her own duties). Nicole is full of original ideas, is always willing to pitch in and help on a project, and makes the staff shine. The staff as a whole share in nominating Nicole for this award. Speaking personally, I have never worked for anyone as amazing as her.  (Submitted by:  Becky Bressler and ALL of the SLL Staff)

November 2014

Jessica Fatica - Jessica Fatica deserves a 'You Rock' award for the exceptional job she does in the Dean's office. An accomplished event planner, complicated events this Fall such as the new faculty reception and the named and distinguished faculty reception have gone flawlessly. The coming holiday season brings many more parties and events for her to organize. But the reason Jessica particularly deserves a 'You Rock' award this semester is because along with all these events and her many other duties she has also done a wonderful job training and mentoring our new receptionist, Maryam Sinawa, who joined us in October. I am grateful to work with such a talented and hard-working colleague. Jessica definitely rocks!  (Submitted by:  Nicola Kiver)

Kathy Andrusisan - On short notice Kathy helped proofread and edit the Political Science Board of Visitors meeting packet. Without Kathy's sharp eye we would have gone to print with many inconsistencies in our packet. Kathy, thank you for making the time to go above and beyond. Your effort is greatly appreciate and deserves recognition! (Submitted by:  Kelly Stazi)

October 2014

Marc Kepler - While I've always found Marc to be pleasant and helpful when it comes to IT related issues, he really went above and beyond a couple of weeks ago for a faculty member in our area. The faculty member called the Help Desk right before 5:00 and she was told that she needed to show her ID in person in order to fix the issue. She was in the middle of a class at the time so Marc was quick to respond. In fact, as I was leaving in my car for the evening (after 5:00) I saw Marc RUNNING down the sidewalk toward our building. The faculty member stated "He was tremendously helpful and fast when he arrived. He had me up and running within minutes." Marc deserves major kudos for going above and beyond in this situation while maintaining a positive attitude. (Submitted by:  Trisha Everhart)

August 2014

Becky Bressler - I would like to recognize Becky Bressler for stepping in to handle the huge number of faculty appointments while SLL was short a staff member this summer. This was in addition to her own workload, which already includes a large amount of appointment processing. Not only did she process these additional appointments, but she took the time to solve quite a few complex issues that came up along the way. Becky’s help and expertise proved to be invaluable. For that reason, I want to say, Becky Bressler-- you rock!  (Submitted by:  Nicole Force)

June 2014

Becky Bressler, Becky Cross, Carol Ritter, Bonnie Rossman, Sarah Denes, Laura Shaffer, Courtney Robison, Cortnie Showers - I would like to take the opportunity to give a much belated thank you to the staff of the School of Languages and Literatures: Becky Bressler, Becky Cross, Carol Ritter, Bonnie Rossman, Sarah Denes, Laura Shaffer, Courtney Robison, and Cortnie Showers, for their hard work and good humor before, during and after the move from Burrowes Building to our various swing spaces on and off-campus, while the building renovations are underway. Each of these amazing women worked tirelessly during the fall and early spring semesters to pack, unpack, organize, measure, move, and make countless trips in arctic weather conditions to ensure the temporary office spaces were made comfortable for faculty and students, putting their own needs last. Despite our cramped, yet cozy, quarters in Ritenour and Old Botany, the SLL staff  have certainly made these offices warm and welcoming. It’s been nearly 6 months since we moved and the SLL staff team continues to pioneer new approaches to accomplish the many new challenges that we now face with having to provide remote support to faculty and grad students in five different locations across campus and town. 
I am very fortunate to have the pleasure of working with such an ambitious and caring team and feel that each of them should be recognized for their continued dedication to SLL.  Nominated by Nicole Force

Casey Fenton - Casey Fenton was asked to help with the printed program for graduation, and with assistance from Holly Beaver and Vicki Fong, did an excellent job designing all the print materials for graduation under a tight deadline. The Student Marshall posters looked amazing, and helped the College look its best on graduation day despite the construction. Casey's willingness to work cooperatively and tirelessly on projects to meet high standards aided in making graduation a great event.  Nominated by Kate Miffitt

Holly Beaver, Andrea Crews, Barb Edwards, Billie Moslak, Debbie Pyatt, Laurie Shirey, and our excellent Liberal Arts Advisers - This year, the College had a record number of graduates walking this year - 1269 students - which made graduation preparation more complex for the LAUS unit. But despite the challenges, the team worked together and went above and beyond to ensure that graduation went smoothly for our students and their families. It is an important and special time for all of us. The LAUS staff is terrific, and am grateful to work with a team that definitely rocks.  Nominated by Chris Long

May 2014

Jodi R. Ripka - Jodi is our A.A. at the PA Commission on Sentencing. She has a wide variety of duties, and does them all extremely well. She has brought our department through a few moves on campus, and took over duties when staff left for other positions. She is highly valued here in our department, and I would like to see her recognized for the great job that she does.   Nominated by Catherine W. Dittman

April 2014

Lynn Hepfer - I would like to nominate Lynn Hepfer because quite frankly, she rocks! Lynn and I have been working together for almost two years in the History Department. This is my first position at Penn State, and Lynn has helped me to navigate the many policies & procedures without hesitation. Whether it's a friendly smile or an offer to help, she has this incredible ability to make your day! Lynn is amazing at her job, and has been a fantastic mentor to me over these past two years. Nominated by Leah Pawlicki

March 2014

Kathie Alterio - I’d like to nominate Kathie Alterio for the integral role she played in helping the college secure several gifts by February 28, the deadline to be invited to the University’s Campaign Celebration.  February, a short month, coupled with several school closings and delays, meant that time was of the essence in helping donors make several last minute commitments to the College to be part of the April festivities.  Kathie went above and beyond by submitting guideline requests and revisions in a timely manner, keeping me updated on their progress with the Office of Gift Planning, preparing mailings with multiple components for donors, and tracking UPS replies.  She communicated efficiently and effectively throughout the entire process, which helped me to keep donors in the loop every step of the way. Kathie, thank you for all you do to make the gift officers look good in the eyes of our alumni. Nominated by Kelly Stazi

Tammy Cecil, Maxine Laslo and Georgine Mihalenko - Tammy, Max and Georgine have done an amazing job of taking on extra work while Emma's position is being filled.  At the beginning of the semester they not only took on the duties of helping extra faculty but also took on the organization of extra workshops and conferences.  Thank you to Tammy, Max and Georgine for helping out during an already busy time for your positions.  And also a thank you for the anticipated help you will provide Amy as she learns the new position. Nominated by Michele Moslak

Ned Balzer - Ned was given the challenging task of creating a program to enable department staff to quickly and easily submit background check requests to the Dean's office for processing.  He created a web-based application housed on the Intranet that is user friendly for both the background check requesters and the administrators.  Ned helped us transform a time-consuming and complex process involving paperwork, emails, and spreadsheets into a streamlined, easy-to-use program that collects and tracks this sensitive information with the entry of just a few pieces of information and the click of a button.  Ned developed this complex new application in just a few days to ensure the College was ready to comply with the University's new background check process.  Thank you for your hard work.  You rock, Ned! Nominated by the Dean’s Office Staff

February 2014

Christine Foster and Lori "Micki" Bower - Chris and Micki are the first approvers in the Moore and Carpenter Financial regions.  They have done a fantastic job keeping the regions’ workflows moving during the last 6 weeks, especially considering the size of their workloads and the fact they have been down 2 out of 3 staff members during that time.  I interact with them on a daily basis and they have remained calm, cool and collected (as far as I can tell!).  Not to mention they are both relatively new to their positions and still learning as they go!  You two definitely ROCK!Nominated by Abby Benkiran

Natashia Richardson - Natashia is a financial assistant in the Carpenter Financial region, supporting 3 different departments.  She has only been in her position for a few months and has done a fabulous job.  Also, during the last 6 weeks, she has been a HUGE help to Chris and Micki assisting with the workload in the Moore financial region.  She is definitely a hard worker, quick learner and team player! Nominated by Abby Benkiran

Cathy Holsing - On behalf of the entire College of the Liberal Arts Online Education staff, we would like to nominate Cathy Holsing for the YOU ROCK award. Cathy Holsing is the director of our area and is the glue that holds it all together. There are many moving parts to online education; meeting with the World Campus, working with Department heads, collaborating with instructors, participating in university wide committees and leading a group of Instructional Designers, Instructional Design Assistants and Multimedia support staff. Somehow Cathy makes it all look so seamless. Cathy is an amazing manager who leads by example, everything she does and everything she says is based on what is best for our unit and ultimately what is best for Penn State. Cathy strives to continue our reputation as a quality online course developer for the College of the Liberal Arts and for Penn State World Campus. We all have the utmost respect, admiration and appreciation for Cathy. Simply put, without Cathy we would be lost. Thank you Cathy, for being OUR ROCK! Submitted by: Lisa Byrnes, Stephen Tuttle, Teri Noll, Kurtis Steele, Ryan Murray, Brian Smith, Tracy Wallace and Rox Toto

Holly Beaver, Robin Robinson, Andrea Crews, Debby Pyatt - I nominate the Liberal Arts Student Services staff for working so effectively as a team to transition the office through Robin Robinson's move to the LionPATH project and through the restructuring of roles and training of new staff. They have devoted time and energy beyond what was asked of them to share information, learn new roles and brainstorm innovations to improve interaction with other units and service to the students. Holly, Robin, Andrea and Debby have navigated smoothly a challenging transition thanks to their dedication to collaboration and focus on efficiency and excellence in processes. Our students in the Liberal Arts are the direct beneficiaries of their dedication.  Submitted by: Chris Long

Jamie McClintock Benner - Since Jamie has started she has worked diligently to make strides in making connections throughout the University and her hard work has been paying off! The Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) requested representation from the College of the Liberal Arts for a new project in revising the new advising at Penn State web page. This is a huge undertaking and prior to Jamie’s arrival the College would never have been considered. Our team already knew Jamie was amazing and it was nice to hear that others outside of our College see her hard work as well. DUS kept mentioning our College as being top notch in advising, a leader in technology and cutting edge of innovated ways of advising and communication with Penn State students. 
The Undergraduate Advising team would like to recognize Jamie for her hard work since she started at Penn State. She is an amazing team leader and we are so very happy to have Jamie as our team leader! What an amazing year of growth for our advising team. We cannot wait to see what happens for us in 2014!   Thanks Jamie!  Submitted by:  The Liberal Arts Advising Team

Mary Kay Hort, Katy Heltman, Sherri Bumbarger, Kathie Alterio and Helen Miller - This week the Donor Relations team, comprising of Mary Kay Hort, Katy Heltman, Sherri Bumbarger, Kathie Alterio and Helen Miller, mailed over 230 invitations to our donors inviting them to our campaign closing celebration. This was a monster of a job requiring different parts for separate groups and included in-house design, printing and assembling. It was a great effort and a demonstration of their harmonious team work. Only one of many tasks in preparation for the big event. Great job!  Submitted by: Amanda Pruss

Karen Sones, Ben Whitesell, Beth Brown, Katelyn Perry - Karen, Ben, Beth and Katelyn spent the ENTIRE fall semester revamping the College's Accepted Students Program presentation to better answer students' and parents' questions about an education in the Liberal Arts at Penn State. They worked over lunches at least one day almost every week of the fall in addition to using their administrative time to reach out to faculty and staff throughout the College to collect details and to refine the presentation. All of the effort is culminating in the first ASP presentation on 2/17. I am so proud of the energy and creativity that they gave to this endeavor to better serve prospective students and the College. Submitted by: Jamie Brenner

December 2013 / January 2014

Chris Hort - I have never witnessed anyone who can juggle as many tasks as Chris Hort! I am amazed by how he talks on his cell and work phone at the same time, and then excuses himself to answer his office door and at the same time keeping on track! How does he do it? I think he needs to share his secrets :) Chris has this facilities coordination thing down to a "T".....he made the entire transition to swing space effortless for me, my staff and my colleagues. Thanks, Chris! Nominated by Kim Keller

Mike Riden, Tracey Jackson, and Lindsey Marshall - Mike Riden, Tracey Jackson and Lindsey Marshall have demonstrated the true meaning of hard work, dedication, and teamwork during the recent move of the Burrowes Building Staff to Swing space locations across campus and town. They have spent many, many extra hours and extra efforts to make sure that our faculty and staff were set up with their computers before the start of the semester. They should be commended for the amount of work that the three of them accomplished in such a short amount of time. I certainly appreciate all their hardwork while maintaining a positive and fun attitude! They are a pleasure to work with and I personally can't thank them enough! Nominated by Kim Keller

English Dept. Staff & LA Regional Financial Office - (Amy Barone, Steph Cramer, Karen Davis, Sharissa Feasler, Kim Johnson, Laurie Meyer, Cheryl Mohr, Lynn Setzler, and Wendy Shaffer). I can't say enough about the teamwork I witnessed during the recent move out of Burrowes Building. The English Department Staff and the LA Regional Financial Office Staff were nothing short of amazing. During such a chaotic time, I heard no complaints, only offers of assistance and suggestions for solutions! I am very proud to work with such a wonderful group of people and I can't thank them enough! Nominated by Kim Keller

Jamie Featherer - Jamie has helped tremendously by keeping our undergraduate student support operations running for the last few months while we have been short-staffed. Jamie has taken on additional responsibilities as well as training other staff. She has worked with faculty across our departments' to maintain our undergraduate student's needs, while keeping up with her own graduate student responsibilities. Thanks Jamie for all of your effort! Nominated by Sandi Rockwell

Angela Hill/Kristy Boob - Angela Hill, undergraduate assistant and Kristy Boob, graduate assistant in the Department of Political Science did an outstanding job with the course scheduling for Fall 14. Kristy and Ang both worked extremely hard to make sure the faculty requests and preferences were taking into consideration and worked diligently on providing the best options for our students. This is just one of the many reason's Kristy and Ang rock!!!!! Nominated by Stephanie Rossman


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