RIT Presidential Awards for Outstanding Staff honor employee service

Staff members recognized for exemplary service, commitment and involvement




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Raquel Bateman

RIT honored employees for outstanding service and dedication to the university during its annual Presidential Awards for Outstanding Staff ceremony. Awards, presented Oct. 8 in Ingle Auditorium, were given based on commitment to student success; integrity and ethics; respect, diversity and pluralism; and teamwork and collaboration.

Excellence Award winners are:

Raquel Bateman, staff psychologist and training coordinator, Counseling and Psychological Services department. Bateman joined RIT in 2012 and, according to her nomination form, “in the short time she has been here, she has been a transformative addition to the university’s primary mental health facility.” One colleague stated, “her work supports students in achieving their goals, staying healthy and avoiding suffering. Raquel is glad to have contributed to a student choosing not to hurt themselves, or being able to raise a hand in class to ask a professor a question for the first time because they experienced crippling social anxiety, or seeing a student stay at RIT for a full semester, which they were not able to do in the past due to a chronic eating disorder.”

Margaret’s House staff. One nominator wrote, “So many of RIT students, staff and faculty entrust to the Margaret’s House crew, the precious loves of their lives. They are able to get to their classes and offices everyday and concentrate on their work because they know that those whom they love most in the world are cared for, attended to, protected, and nurtured.” And another stated, “One only needs to spend a few minutes in this facility to quickly observe the extraordinary passion and love for this challenging work that is so clearly demonstrated by each and every member of this team. Collectively they have successfully established a deeply caring and professionally enriching learning environment that continues to distinguish the center from other local childcare providers.“

David Lake, Gosnell Hall building manager. According to his nomination form, Lake is “a responsive, diligent and highly respected member of the College of Science staff, and has been so for over 20 years. He is indispensable to the activities and functions of the college.” A colleague stated, “Dave steps up to help solve problems and anticipates things that need to be addressed so they do not become problems. He takes a very systematic approach to solving problems and challenges, and is guided by doing what is right for our students, faculty and staff.”

Sponsored Programs Accounting team. One nomination form read, “The Sponsored Programs Accounting team is integral to the research component of the student experience at RIT. While their contribution is often in the background, it is of the utmost importance to the success of the university’s sponsored research program. Sponsor funds make it possible for faculty to pursue research initiatives and provide numerous opportunities for students such as graduate and undergraduate research assistantships, a variety of research experiences, co-ops and other student jobs.” In addition, “The accountants and analysts on the team serve as trusted points of contact for both the researchers on campus and the external sponsors. They are their allies in ensuring that the administrative and financial side of research projects is handled both accurately and promptly.”

Peggy Tirrell, senior associate director, Graduate Programs and Admissions, Saunders College of Business. Tirrell, who has been with RIT since 1977, provides services, direction and counseling to graduate students. “Peggy is a very personable individual with excellent interpersonal and communication skills,” said one nominator. “She has an ability to connect people and to network in order to facilitate action. She has excellent crisis management and counseling skills. Faculty often turn to Peggy when confronting difficult situations in their classes when dealing with students in crisis.” Another nominator stated, “Talking with young students, helping them clarify the direction of their career paths and coaching them through many major decisions gives her great satisfaction.”

The Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Staff Pluralism Award recognizes a staff member who demonstrates passion and commitment to spreading the goals of diversity and pluralism across our campus and into the greater community. This year’s recipient is Thomastine Sarchet, associate director for the Pre-College Education Network, National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Sarchet has been described as “the go-to person for the international students who have enrolled in the Master of Science in secondary education program. She mentored these students to navigate our American cultural ‘quirks’ and made them feel welcomed and supported. Regardless if they are deaf, hearing, LBGT, of different races, she will make every effort to make everyone feel valued in our community.” Another supporter shared that “Ms. Tommie is an approachable person, always gives 110 percent of herself to anything that comes her way.”

The Dancy Duffus Award for Outstanding Citizenship recognizes staff members who demonstrate creativity and innovation, imagination and integrity that embodies the RIT spirit. This year’s recipient is Faye Modeste. Modeste provides budgetary support, and coordinates operations and programs for the Center for Bioscience Education and Technology, including finance and budget support for the College of Health Sciences and Technology academic programs and faculty. One nomination form stated, “She quickly became an exceptional member of the CHST team. She fosters a culture of professionalism and collaboration and inspires others to do the same, with her work ethic, her commitment to excellence and her integration of RIT core values in her daily work.” More than five years ago, Modeste assumed full responsibility for managing all aspects of CBET’s summer bioscience exploration program, offered annually to middle- and high-school students. Added another nominator, “Faye is committed to seeing a diverse set of students have this experience and she has successfully registered students with a wide range of abilities, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The program is successful because Faye embraces the creative, innovate approach to education that RIT is known for.”

For more information on the awards, go to the RIT Staff Council website at www.rit.edu/staffcouncil/awards.

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Raquel Bateman

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Margaret’s House staff

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David Lake and Peggy Tirrell

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Sponsored Programs Accounting Team

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Faye Modeste and Thomastine Sarchet