2020 Presidential Awards for Outstanding Staff

2020 Presidential Awards for Outstanding Staff

Thank you for joining us for 
a virtual awards ceremony on

Wednesday, February 17th at 10:00 am

Congratulations to the nominees!

Congratulations to the Individual Nominees!

Naimah Baaith
Senior Staff Specialist, School of Information, GCCIS

Naimah is completely focused on fostering student success and teamwork. She works with the staff to make sure students' needs are met and to develop, improve and streamline processes so the focus can be on serving students. She is quick to follow up and to respond to student, faculty and staff needs or requests. She is always cheerful and pleasant and demonstrates an amazing ability to go with the flow when things get crazy. Naimah is good at helping staff explain why policies and procedures are beneficial to students.

Larissa Barresi
Academic Advisor, College of Science Dean's Office

This is only Larissa's second year at RIT, but she has handled the COVID transition, and all transitions, with such calm and strength. Larissa's willingness to work collaboratively with colleagues and university constituents has been evident from the beginning. Larissa's most outstanding quality is that she is the calm in the storm, a great role-model, benefitting our students greatly along with the whole RIT community.

Lisa Boice
Assistant Dean of Student Services, Saunders College of Business Student Services

Lisa went above and beyond to ensure her staff of 16 were all healthy and their spirits were high. She held daily meetings to share important information, ending each meeting with something to make her team smile. 

Kerrie Bondi
Assistant Director, Honors Program

Kerrie consistently goes above and beyond in her job to make sure that every student she comes in contact with has the best experience they can at RIT. Kerrie helps run the orientation program for incoming freshmen, open houses for prospective students, meetings to maintain contact with our Alumni and help assist them in their endeavors, and much more. Kerrie is always working to make sure that the Honors Program is moving forward and continuing to provide a great experience and a home away from home for our students.

Chris Brown ’89, ’93
Systems Administrator and Lab Manager, College of Engineering Technology Electrical, Computer, and Telecommunications Engineering Technology

Chris is very hardworking and dedicated. Students describe him as kind, supportive, friendly, and funny. Throughout his career at RIT, Chris has had a big impact in delivery of RIT courses, the education of RIT students, and the enrichment of their overall RIT experience.

Donna Burnette
Executive Director, K-12 University Center

Donna truly is a champion for the students we serve. Many of our students come from underrepresented communities, and she goes above and beyond to ensure they are at the forefront of every decision we make as a department. Whether it's locally through our STEP, LPP, and recently ended GEAR UP grants, or nationally through our AEOP program, Donna works hard to ensure equity and opportunity for all. 

Katie Bush ’15
Instructional Technologist, Innovative Learning Institute

Katie is a joy to work with and brings a level of flexibility seldom exhibited in the workplace. The department certainly would not have achieved all that we have in the support of teaching and its impact on the student experience were it not for her contributions.

Matt Campbell ’03, ’12
Manager Systems & Datacenter Technical Services, Information and Technology Services

Matt has been the go-to guy during the COVID response for all things IT-related. He has been instrumental in the design and deployment of the many IT-related systems and data feeds, primarily the Daily Health Screen and the Daily Health Audit. He has had to do this with extremely short timeframes and competing priorities and requirements. Not only has he been key in the decision-making but he also has worked closely with all levels and members of the RIT Community. Through it all, he has maintained a calm demeanor and can-do attitude which spills over to the other team members.

Cynthia Cappa
Scheduler, Department of Access Services

Cynthia has a strong passion and determination for her position. Every day she comes in before the sun rises, works to make sure that deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing people are provided with interpreters. She makes a difference in the lives of people who she works with and for. 

Isabel Chandler, LMHC
Mental Health Therapist, Counseling and Psychological Services

Isabel helped launch Real Talk, a crucial place for our Black and Brown students to process the racial trauma they experience at RIT. She has moved the department forward in conversations about systemic racism. She brings warmth, curiosity, and her own unique skills to our work.

Kim Clingerman
Service Desk Analyst, Information and Technology Services

Kim directly interacts with students, faculty, staff, retirees and alumni. She has an understanding of the technologies used by different departments throughout the campus and knows how those systems are supported behind the scenes. When requests come in with vague terms, Kim is able to deduce what is required and provide assistance. She is extremely capable in solving difficult technical issues under time pressure. Kim is a tremendous asset to the RIT Service Center and the RIT Community.

Monica Cormier
Instructional Technologist, Innovative Learning Institute

Monica played a large part in helping faculty feel comfortable with the technology needed for teaching during this pandemic, hosting dozens of Zoom training sessions. Monica assists faculty with Zoom, myCourses, and pre-recorded video questions, which has allowed other members of the department to focus on other faculty-assistance initiatives and broaden the department's offerings. She is especially patient and positive during this stressful time.

Carrie Deglans
Senior Staff Specialist, Office of Graduate Education

Carrie has gone beyond her daily responsibilities to take on two major projects in the Office of Graduate Education: project management of the office renovation and taking on the role of site safety manager. She constantly looks for ways to ensure efficiencies, cost savings and innovative processing. She also works to build teams to support the infrastructure of OGE, graduate students, graduate directors and graduate admins.

Nancy Drum
Senior Constituent Engagement Specialist, University Advancement

Nancy understands that if she can cause a ripple through her good work, there is no telling how many positive outcomes she can help influence. It is this passion that drives Nancy’s persistence, and has ultimately served as the catalyst for the establishment of numerous endowed scholarships, professorships, programmatic expansions, and even building renovations at RIT. It’s a known fact within University Enrollment that if Nancy can’t reconnect a constituent, no one can. 

Cara Dugan
Staff Assistant, Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology

Cara is the sunshine of the department – she is bubbly, kind, caring and goes above and beyond what is expected of her. She is always willing to help faculty and staff with whatever they need.  We all appreciate Cara and everything she does to make the office atmosphere pleasant and welcoming.

Kathy Ehrlich-Scheffer ’20
Director, Women in Engineering (WE@RIT)

In response to the COVID pandemic, Kathy has done an outstanding job in pivoting WE@RIT programming from a traditionally in-person mode to a virtual mode. Under Kathy's leadership, WE@RIT was one of the very first groups on campus to conduct a virtual panel. Kathy has conducted a comprehensive needs analysis, and has outlined a plan for transforming WE@RIT and is leading the team to see that through.

Nathan Felton
Sr. PC Systems Administrator, ITS Enterprise Support

Nathan's efforts were at the heart of getting the Dining GoMobile! project off the ground. His continued support of the project has eased the burden of replacing a critical RIT system during a pandemic and in a shortened time frame.

Jennifer Fichtner
Strategic Sourcing Specialist, Research & Education, Procurement Services

Since the moment that Jen started at RIT, she has been creating meaningful connections across campus. She has shown an exceptional ability to switch between acting as mentor, project manager, and policy enforcer, often with the same client. Her versatility and professionalism allow her to continually pivot according to the needs of her customers. It’s Jen’s personal touch that sets her apart and makes her a true joy to work with. 

Michelle Fitz
Marketing Manager, Office of International Education and Global Programs

Michelle consistently goes above and beyond in the support of students studying abroad. As our only marketing professional, she has profoundly professionalized and customized our outreach efforts, which have directly led to an increase in study abroad applications, increased number of scholarship applicants and awardees and record numbers of students studying abroad each year. 

Kerry Foxx
Director, Center for Civic Leadership & Engagement

Kerry is an authentic leader who is committed to preparing students to become global citizens and active members within their communities. Kerry has transformed the Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement (CLCE) from a small center with limited reach to a growing entity that consistently exceeds organizational expectations.

Janette Frank
Operations Coordinator, Saunders College of Business

Janette has gone way above expectations in her role as Site Safety Monitor, ensuring our building is safe and clean for students, faculty and staff during this pandemic. She is very helpful in communicating pertinent information to the appropriate audience to adhere to compliance and safety concerns.

Megan Fritts ’08, ’18
Office Manager, Computing Security Department

Megan embodies the term “teamwork”. She is the first to lend a hand when staff or faculty ask for assistance, and has helped our program navigate the many challenges that have come up with remote work, huge growth in enrollment numbers and a large office/space move into our new building. She is an effective communicator, and is often thinking several steps ahead of everyone to anticipate any issues that may arise.

Di'Monique George
Associate Director, Student Engagement, Center for Campus Life

Di'Monique is a tireless advocate for students and goes above and beyond to support them. She has been a mentor and role model for students and other staff. She is also active in the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices that will benefit our student clubs and organizations.

Pam Gurbacki
Sr. Staff Specialist, Electrical, Computer, and Telecommunications Engineering Technology

On a daily basis, Pam mentors, tutors, and collaborates with the faculty and staff of ECTET and the other departments of CET. She is continually searching for better and more efficient ways to conduct the day to day business of the department. She has developed multiple processes that have not only been adopted by the department but also the college and University including an inclusive and fair method for evaluating student applicants for scholarships, methods for tracking grant expenditures, and auditing departmental purchases. She is a pleasure to work with and always has a warm smile for all who enter the ECTET office. 

Stephanie Haynes
Supplemental Instruction Coordinator, Academic Success Center

Stephanie personifies the qualities of leadership and generosity. The relationships that have been fostered in our community are a direct result of her encouragement and efforts to make our job meaningful and enjoyable. She acts as a great mentor and is able to empathize. 

Valerie Hemink
Senior Staff Specialist, Color Science Program – College of Science

Val consistently performs her work beyond normal expectations. During this time of COVID, she ensured that the Color Science program and building were operating smoothly by making certain the needed supplies were on hand. She continually asks the students and faculty if there is anything she can do to help, and often takes care of tasks without having to be told. She monitors student progress and lets the faculty know when she sees concerns. She makes certain that the students have what they need both programmatically and personally. She is abslutely an invaluable contributor to the overall success of the program and its students.

Elizabeth Herrmann
Residence Coordinator, Center for Residence Life

Elizabeth has relentlessly advocated for special interest housing and the betterment of the conditions in dorms. She is a fantastic mediator, quick to give very needed wisdom in situations where students may not know what to do. She is a joy to be around, and has brought so, so much to many people's days. 

Dr. Christopher Hinesley
Assistant Director, The Q Center, Center for Campus Life

Chris is an outstanding employee and colleague, who exemplifies and models RIT’s Core Values and has been a tireless advocate for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, faculty, and allies and promoter of pluralism. He is one of the brightest, most sincere, and most dedicated men his nominator has known throughout their career in higher education. His commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community is steadfast and he continuously works to advocate for fair and just practices.

Joseph Hoeltke ’14
Web Programmer/Analyst, ITS Application Development

Joe always goes the extra mile to bring an idea to life, and if the idea is beyond what is possible he will find a way to explain why, how, and provide alternative solutions. While he works with your team, he also keeps the user (students, faculty, staff) in mind and finds a way to merge both user needs and stakeholder objectives. The patience and collaboration he shows as he works with vastly different skill levels is exemplary. He always goes above and beyond to bring a project to the point where it is better than you expected and always on time!

Georgeanne Hogan ’13
Administrative Assistant, College of Science - Dean's office

Georgeanne's impeccable attention to detail, adaptability, and conscientiousness have cultivated an environment of confidence among the administrative staff throughout the College of Science. She is an extraordinary leader, a quality made visible through her talent for listening to and attention to people's needs and concerns, and she exhibits a captivating quality for analytical problem solving and solution-seeking.

Amanda Hughes ’13, ’18
Technology Manager and Studio Systems Specialist, MAGIC Center

Amanda is strongly dedicated to student service. She genuinely loves the MAGIC mission and goes above and beyond every day to make sure RIT students are welcomed and supported. Her attitude and demeanor, even in the face of criticism or conflict, are steady and supportive.  As a SOFA alum, she has a special appreciation of the student experience at RIT, and she is making a real difference, treating each of them as professionals-in-training. Amanda also goes above and beyond to get things done on behalf of the filmmakers, photographers, designers, game developers, and media researchers who call MAGIC home. 

Amelia Hugill-Fontanel ’02
Associate Curator, RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection

Amelia is an extraordinary 21-year RIT employee and alumna from the School of Printing. She consistently and passionately exceeds expectations as Associate Curator of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection, a supporter for student success across campus, and an ambassador for RIT both on campus and beyond. She is a curator who is esteemed by her library teammates, valued by her faculty partners, and admired by students. She does so very much for RIT out of a deep love for our university.

Firoza Kavanagh ’87
Senior Staff Specialist, NTID Academic Affairs

Firoza’s attention to detail and her work ethic are gifts to Academic Affairs and to the college of NTID. She has acquired and honed strong American Sign Language proficiency as a hearing employee. Her inquisitive approach to documents and processes has led to her enhanced expertise in handling the responsibilities outlined in her position description. Moreover, she has taken the initiative to create drafts, brainstorm solutions, and convey information that needed to be done in the past by department or committee chairs. 

Laura Kleiman
Project Manager and Senior Technical Writer, Office of Graduate Education

Laura is an active member of RIT Staff Council and serves on the Steering Committee for Graduate Education Week. She continually looks for opportunities to support programs and initiatives. Additionally, she routinely takes part in training workshops offered at RIT as a way to influence/improve her day to day responsibilities. Laura works across the university with various faculty groups as they work to develop proposals for new PhD programs. She is always willing to go beyond her day to day responsibilities to support the mission of RIT.

Sarah Klein ’00
EHS Programs Manager, Facilities Management Services, Environmental Health and Safety Department

When COVID-19 was just beginning to affect the US, Sarah stepped in and started to coordinate Facilities' response to the pandemic. She has spent many nights and weekends not only responding to safety and health concerns but also writing safety pandemic safety procedures and coordinating the logistics of providing masks and thermometers to all on campus. Her tireless work is a huge part of our early semester success.

Sharon Kompalla-Porter
Associate Director, Center for Residence Life

Sharon is an exceptionally devoted staff member who tirelessly supports students and collaborates across campus to help make RIT a better place.Sharon ensures the 100's of student outreaches completed by the Residence Life Staff are appropriately completed and recorded to complement the work of the rest of the team. Sharon has been essential in building some of our campus-wide financial literacy education for students. Sharon may be most proud of is the work she has done in support of the RIT FoodShare. A project to reduce food waste on campus has been cultivated into the RIT Foodshare center that serves RIT community members year-round. 

Stephanie Krebbeks ’09, ’12
Academic Advisor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering Department

Stephanie is the kind of person who will step in and help out with whatever tasks need to be completed. She is a great listener and really cares about her relationship with our students. She is a great organizer, and takes on extra activities such as adopting a family in need at the holidays, or organizing team lunches so that our advising staff can engage on a more personal level.

Donald LaFlam
Senior Director of Operations, RIT Dining

Don is the ultimate “can do person” – over the course of his 10-plus years at RIT he is constantly pushing the envelope to give the best service possible to our students, staff and faculty but also is a strong collaborator and advocate for his staff. He works hard without asking for any recognition and is willing to help in every aspect. He was instrumental in our preparation for COVID before the university officially shut down, during and after we re-opened. 

John LaFrance
Assistant Director, Retail Systems, Auxiliary Services Technology, Business & Analytics

John took on a massive project which has had many bumps along the way. In a very short timeframe, he successfully built, tested, and deployed a brand new campus-wide system.

Len Levaskevich ’14
PC Systems Administrator, ITS Enterprise Support

When RIT had to close during the pandemic, Len made sure that staff and faculty were able to work remotely from home. He helped graduate students to gain remote access to computers so they could continue to perform research from home. He is always professional and is very competent in the knowledge to perform his job.

Jan Maneti ’09
Operations Manager, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Jan always goes above and beyond the call of duty! He worked tirelessly all summer long to ensure that the faculty, staff and students of the ME department had all the needed protection, PPE and cleaning products for the Fall semester. He is thorough and detailed in everything that he does.

Sarah McCormick ’05, ’07
Senior Staff Assistant, NTID Student Life Team

Especially since the start of the pandemic, Sarah routinely checks on everyone, including students, to make sure they are doing okay. She works closely with NTID club leaders and organizations on their budget requests and event planning. Sarah has taken it upon herself to make sure safety measures are in place in the Student Development Center. 

Lyndsey McGrath ’06
Director of Global Programs and International Partnership, Office of International Education and Global Programs

Lyndsey is a remarkable individual, employee and a huge asset to RIT Global campuses. Lyndsey demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to her global university community, as well as to the general public. Lyndsey takes it upon herself to provide exceptional support and service to Global campuses. She discerns quickly our individual needs and moves efficiently to provide key information, recommendations, or direction. Beyond this and during times of transition due to COVID-19, she has made herself available around the clock to make sure that we have all the support needed for proper operation within the international locations and their respective regulations. 

Renee Milliken ’17
Senior Staff Specialist, Biomedical Engineering

Renee is one of the most integral and important members of the BME department. Renee has stepped in and helped student organizations on multiple occasions even though it may have been late notice. She is always available for student questions and concerns, and follows up if she does not know the answer. Renee embodies the values of RIT, always willing to extend a helping hand. She is easily one of the most hardworking people I have ever met, and the department is able to grow and perform because of her exceptional work. 

Paul Muenzer
Interim Co-Assistant Dean and Academic Advisor, Student Services, College of Art and Design

Throughout all of the unknowns and changes over the summer, Paul was instrumental in maintaining efficiency supporting students in the virtual environment. He collaborated with several departments to help ensure a smooth transition for students.

Amy Ortiz
Assistant Director of Community Outreach for Veterans Upward Bound, Department of Diversity and Inclusion

Amy is a thoughtful and detailed oriented staff member who makes consistent, meaningful contributions to the success of the veterans she serves, as well as the VUB program as a whole. She is always willing to do what needs to be done to help the program reach its goals. 

Cindy Papaleo
Senior Staff Assistant, Venture Creations Incubator

There are 20 different companies in the RIT Venture Creations Incubator, each with their own sizes, head count, and issues. Since the start of COVID-19, Cindyhas been doing amazing things to help each of them meet whatever regulations they need to meet to comply with state and federal mandates. Her rapid action and overtime help is instrumental in keeping many of these businesses alive and saved numerous jobs with her help here in Rochester!

Elizabeth Polmateer
Senior Staff Assistant, Air Force and Army ROTC

Beth is a tremendous asset to RIT. She consistently performs duties and responsibilities levels above and beyond normal expectations. She fosters collaboration, communication, and cooperation among colleagues at RIT as well as other local universities. When our students graduate they will always remember their time at RIT, and they will always remember Beth!

Heather Roth ’03
Academic Advisor, KGCOE Department of Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering

Heather goes above and beyond her responsibilities and works very hard for the EME Department. She gives her students the utmost care and attention and really supports their academic journey. She is a great colleague and friend, and her students truly appreciate her and value her input and experience.

Katey Sackett ’16
Data Analyst, College of Health Sciences and Technology, Physician Assistant Program

Katey quickly made a major positive impact. She has an amazing grasp of statistics, qualitative and quantitative research, curriculum mapping, accreditation standards, and many other competencies that have dramatically enhanced our educational effectiveness. Katey has led the RIT Research Spotlights: Health & Life Sciences research symposium into its fifth year, rapidly switching to an online showcase. As a club advisor, she provides a lot of insight, and she also works with charity organizations. 

Gina Shevchuk ’04
Assistant Dean for Student Success, GCCIS Advising

Gina supervises 16 academic advisors, one of the largest advising teams at RIT. Gina is an amazing supervisor who demonstrates that not only does she want the best for us professionally but personally as well. Gina gives her employees individual attention and relentlessly advocates for their best interests. She is extremely student-centered and has been a champion of the student perspective during the pandemic. 

Lauren Shields ’18
Manager of Administrative Services, GCCIS Dean's Office

Lauren consistently goes the extra-mile for the betterment of the college and her own edification. She has earned the respect of the GCCIS college leadership as well as many of the faculty and staff due to her capability to communicate effectively at all levels, and her ability to problem solve on the fly. The staff in our college are also fortunate Lauren's many interests include organizational management, leadership training, and policy implementation.

Poonam Sial
Senior Staff Assistant, College of Liberal Arts, School of Communication

One of Poonam’s strengths is being concerned about the personal lives of our student workers. She makes it a point to check in with them and act as someone they can share their concerns or frustrations with. Poonam is also really invested in supporting other staff in the College of Liberal Arts. When it comes to the budget, Poonam is really helpful at providing suggestions for solutions.

Jeff Siegel ’15
Associate Athletic Director, Intercollegiate Athletics

Jeff helped develop the COVID surveillance testing on campus. He brought organizational ability, a can-do attitude and infectious enthusiasm. He quickly assimilated the needed medical information and IT knowledge. Building relationships across the University, he implemented a standing surveillance program which can quickly be leveraged to respond to need within 24 hours.

Rona Skinner
Executive Director, Auxiliary Services Technology, Business & Analytics

Rona has been the behind the scenes genius ensuring processes supporting students affected by COVID-19 since Spring 2020. She created the information-gathering processes for students regarding travel, including creating systems to support students' travel quarantine in preparation for their arrival. Rona's systems mindset and solutions-oriented collaborations have helped keep senior leadership up to date with vital information.

Ken Snyder ’92
Facilities Manager, KGCOE Electrical Engineering Department

Ken consistently goes above and beyond the norm to support not only department faculty, staff, and students, but all of KGCOE. Given the challenges presented by COVID-19, he has not skipped a beat. 

Stefanie Soroka
Senior Advisor, CET in Graphic Media Sciences & Technology, Engineering Technology Exploration & Packaging Science

Stefanie consistently outperforms her job expectations. She has a great ability to understand the needs of students and advise them through their academic career path here at RIT accordingly. She is passionate about her role and her work and looks for innovative ways to interact with students and get them engaged with the curriculum and the courses they are enrolled in.

Louis Spiotti, Jr.
Executive Director Intercollegiate Athletics, Student Affairs

Lou has been at RIT for over 40 years developing a first-class athletics program. He has guided the men's hockey program to Division I and competition in the Frozen Four. He also helped guide the RIT sports program from 15 sports total (10 for men, 5 for women) to 24 sports with an equal split of 12 each for men and women with over 650 students participating. He encourages student-athletes to excel in the classroom and to be community leaders, encouraging them to become better people serving others when they leave RIT.

David Stevens
Director, Center for Recreational Sports

Dave began his career at RIT as an intern. Over the next 15 years Dave would be progressively promoted. Dave’s professionalism, quality of work, ability to foster collaboration, and contributions to students and the collegiate community are outstanding. His commitment to RIT is unparalleled and all who know him will agree that he gives his all to our students, his staff, and his colleagues every day.

Brandon Stroud
Residence Coordinator, Residence Life, Student Affairs

The truest impact that Brandon has on us as a community is the space he provides for EVERYONE to exist, grow, and thrive in their full identity with the default understanding that there is room enough for us all as we are. There is so much to learn about how to live a life of inclusive pluralism, Brandon leads that charge by being authentically himself, modeling behaviors and attitudes of pluralism, and lovingly eliminating the excuses that have kept us stuck in destructive and exclusionary ways.

Michelle Teal
Assistant Director of Customer Relations, RIT Housing

Michelle has made an outstanding contribution to the Housing department in the year she has been part of the RIT community. Michelle has fostered a strong spirit of collaboration with other departments as she worked diligently on high profile projects such as moving Housing services online within the RIT Service Center and creating a "contactless" move-in process. Michelle's nonstop work ethic and the positive energy she brings to RIT and Housing have already resulted in numerous process improvements and made daily operations run more efficiently and smoothly.

Peggy Tirrell ’95
Senior Associate Director, Graduate Business Programs and Admissions, Saunders College of Business Student Services

Peggy deeply influences students and their experience at Saunders. She knows practically all current students, many prior students, and even has social media links with many of our famous alums. She values the student connection above all and works hard at it. Peggy's influence extends beyond her direct responsibilities, including a collaboration with faculty and academic advisors.

Charles Van Maldeghem
Environment Building Services Supervisor, FMS Environmental Building Services

Chuck has done an outstanding job of training staff to create consistent cleaning processes across campus. He has been instrumental in working with programs to make every individual's work assignment equitable and fair. He has overseen the ordering of supplies and chemicals systems that were put in place and are crucial to keep the students and staff safe during this time in RIT's history. He works tirelessly and moves at lightning speed and sets very high expectations for himself and others. Chuck encourages people to be their best and to set goals for themselves while giving them the tools they need in order to excel. 

Lana Verschage ’02, ’09
Director, Women in Computing

Lana has gone above and beyond helping students. At every turn, Lana has made time to assist students with both personal and professional questions. She has been a vital resource within GCCIS.

Wayne “Kip” Webster ’78, ’80, ’96
Manager, NTID Interpreting Team for SCB and GCCIS, Department of Access Services

In managing a team of as many as 30 staff, Kip has gone above and beyond to introduce a formal apprenticeship program, bringing in new interpreters from all over the country. Kip also introduced the ASL Consultants program, giving students gainful employment and fostering relationships between students and staff interpreters. He is very sensitive to the fact that he is a male supervisor in a strongly female field of service and works to overcome perceived barriers in communication with his workers. 

Wendy Wheeler
Real-Time Captioning Coordinator, Department of Access Services Real-time Captioning and Notetaking

Wendy is responsible for assigning 50+ captionists to cover the hundreds of student captioning requests that are received each semester. Her organization abilities are extraordinary, and she has always risen to that task with patience, grace and understanding. With classes suddenly going remote in March and a blend of instructional modalities this fall, Wendy has gone above and beyond, rising to meet this scheduling challenge.  

Ben Willmott
Operations Manager of Performing Arts, Department of Performing Arts College of Liberal Arts

Ben has not only been indispensable in organizing the many necessary parts as RIT moves into restructuring and reimagining performing arts on campus, but his wealth of knowledge of and keen awareness in developing collaborations, organizational structures and strategies needed in the development of clear and definitive goals and objectives has exemplified true leadership. Ben uses his tremendous wisdom and expertise to instruct, inspire and empower those around him. He fosters a welcoming environment of inclusivity in his day-to-day work at RIT.

Shelley Zoeke
Assistant Director, Disability Services Office

Shelley brings immense expertise, professionalism, and care for students to her role. Her history as an educator carries forward into her work with RITs students with disabilities. Rather than taking a methodical approach to coordinating student accommodations, she treats each student interaction as an opportunity for learning and mentorship. Shelley has displayed admirable leadership and dedication throughout a major staffing transition, data management system upgrade, and global pandemic.

Congratulations to the Team Nominees!

Academic Success Center

Sammy DiSalvo, Glen Dornsife, Stephanie Haynes, Dan Hickey ’91, ’98, Suzanne McMillan, Inge Meffert, Justyna Oldziej, Kathy Rochette, Cha Ron Sattler-Leblanc, Julie Walsh

The staff of the ASC consistently and diligently work to help students to become learners, both at RIT and beyond. Acknowledging that not every student comes to campus prepared to plan their time and academics, the ASC staff make available a variety of services from academic coaching, to study strategies and technique courses, but also assist students in finding the right services and resources on campus when necessary.  

Alternate Grading Option (AGO) Team

Thad Billig ’04, Mikel Brown ’86, Mike Bruckner ’12, ’15, Clay Cooper, Matt DeMayo ’09, ’13, Chris Dumlao ’19, Khanh Ho ’16, Joe Hoeltke ’15, Eric Meddaugh, Steve Mihm ’18, Caitlin Nairn ’04, Sven Opdyke ’15, Dave Pecora ’13, Jason Pitoniak ’00, Jon Podeszek, Allen Sabernick ’04, ’16, Mike Toczek ’06, Rick Myles

The RIT registrar came to ITS with a very challenging problem on April 21. RIT needed a means for students to report grades with an alternative option of pass/fail as an option versus traditional letter grades, in order to account for COVID-19 challenges. A cross-functional team from the registrar and multiple ITS teams met together in an agile fashion and provided an automated solution within 9 working days.

College of Engineering Machine Shop Staff

Craig Arnold, Rob Kraynik, Jan Maneti ’09, Rick Wurzer

This team puts in hard work every day to help facilitate the ideas and creations of students and faculty. They are always willing to go out of their way to help with a project.

College of Science Dean's Office “Dean Team”

Melanie Green, Karin Harriman ’16, Georgeanne Hogan ’13, Christie Lutzer, Cassandra Nickels, Mary Pryor

Staff from COS Dean’s office lead and/or participate in COS events. Their can-do attitude and keep-moving-forward mantra promotes teamwork and inspires excellence in other members of the RIT community. Their daily performance personifies RIT's Core Values. 

College Scheduling Officers

Michele Allis, Sara Bayerl, Abby Cantwell, Linda Chamot, Lisa Dammeyer, Heidi Davis, Teresa DeClerck, Karin Harriman, Megan Henry, Trish Herkimer, John Koegel, Jill MacBeth, Rita Micciche, Kristy Mooney Graves, Gail Quartieri, Stephanie Romanet, Rachel Scott, Rhonda Sliker

Preparing each semester’s course schedule is an operation that requires careful synchronization, planning, and attention to detail. It also historically has relied on consistency and stability. The pandemic shutdown of March 2020 and all of spring semester wreaked considerable havoc on this university function, adding unexpected tasks and pressures. The team of college scheduling officers rose to this chaotic occasion by addressing new elements and requirements never before experienced; they worked heroically throughout the summer to support the Office of the Registrar in revising the processes normally used for scheduling to be prepared for fall.

Coordinators of DAS

Cheryl Bovard ’86, ’91, ’11, Cindy Cappa, Brenna Cialini, Cynthia Collward ’85, Barb Fagenbaum ’77, Wendi Gammon, Monique Harris ’10, ’13, ’19, Jennifer Horak ’89, David Krohn, Catherine Lyon-Wilson ’93, Joyce Pemberton, Sheila Ryan, Jessica Swallow, Wendy Wheeler

The Access Services coordination team did an amazing job scheduling interpreters and captionists, which allowed deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing people to effectively communicate with one another in classes, meetings, and other events both remotely and on campus. They provide a behind-the-scenes function that must happen smoothly, efficiently, and effectively for all those classes and programs to go well. Their collaboration, communication, and cooperation with every unit at RIT made the scheduling process proceed effectively in the very short time provided. 

Enrollment Management Virtual Adaptation Team

Katie Beczak, Sheila Chabot ’05, Kathy Curry, Danielle Dankey ’08, Sally Douglass ’07, SueLynn Hauer ’06, Michelle Kline ’03, Cindy Kohlman ’90, Devin Lamb ’12, ’19, Lindsay Lewis, Jolee Main, Mariah McLane Giardino, Elise Miklich, Mark Muenzer ’97, ’00, Troy Robinson ’12, Abhi Somaskanda, Roch Whitman ’81, ’86, Jen Zirnheld

COVID-19 had a major impact on the work of Enrollment Management this fall. This team was tasked with creating ways for admitted students and prospective students to interact with RIT in new ways. This meant creating and hosting dozens of webinars, creating new platforms for virtual student/family visits, and helping work out all of the kinks with students enrolling remotely. 

Facilities Management Services

Sara Y Abera, Elisha Abrams ’13, Jeremy D Adams, Zemam D Adhana, Demelash Haile Alemu, Wayne O.C. Alexander, Zachery D Avies, Brett A Baldwin, David L (Dave) Baldwin, James L Battles, Brian K. (Brian) Baxter, Michael C Bice ’14, Charles Blackshear, Joseph Taylor Bolger, Neveen A Botros, Cedric Bowen, William J Brinklow, Darin P Brooks, Clifton M Brown, Petrina Brown, Claudia Browne-Marsh, Charles R. Bruno, Francesco Bruno, Keith A Bryant, Matthew E Buckman, A Tori (Tori) Budgeon-Baker, Amanda Burns, Christopher J Buyck ’88, ’98, Chelsea Cahalin, Joshua Callon-Vargas, Rodolfo Candelario, Robert Carey, Jose L Carrasquillo, Christopher Carter, Robert L Cassano, Luisa Latese Castro, Michael J Cavuoto, Kenneth P Chaffer, Deron John Chapman, Michael D Clark, Marcos Cobo ’10, Willie J Jr Collier, Nicholas Condello, John Connelly ’97, Albert J Conner, Ian J. Conway, Michael L Covington, Todd M Crandall, Michael Ryan (Ryan) Crittenden, Michael J Culhane, David Paul Czeck, Mark F Darkwah, Edward Davin ’16, Casandra Davis, Anthony A DeBona, Katie DelDuca ’14, Michael P Dellefave ’16, Patrick DeMay, Robert A. DeSanctis, Marta Diaz, Charles Clifford Dickinson, Robert E Donatella, Paul M Drozdziel, William R Drum, Ali Dutal, Chad M Edens, Vance H II Edwards, James W Elliott, Donald L Farnsworth, Isiah J Founchious, Aaron R Fouquet, Richard W Franklin, Michael A Fuchs, Chris A Furnare, Yolanda Garcia, Thomas P Garland, Tsirah G Gebregiorgi, David K Gerould, Merris M Gibbs, JoeAnthony J Gibson, Robert D Glitch, Anthony J Gondoli, Dameon S Graddic, Donald L Gray, Reggie A Green, Michael T Halpin, Jacqueline Hansmann, Justin E Hargrove, Lawrence D Harris ’83, ’93, Valarie Harris, Alonso Harrison, Ms. Kawonna N Hayes, Megan J Hellaby, Adam F Helmer, Brian W Herke, Ms. Roxanne M Hill, Karl Holtz, Charles (Josh) J. Quick ’02, Alberto Jeres, Cicero J Jr Jones, Harvey L. Jones, David R Katter, Marvin Keller ’05, Zachary A Kemp, Eric Kimball, Daniel D King, Sarah E Klein, Shawn W Lamb, Ms. Donna M Lambe, Debra R Langdon, Brooks R Langkans ’11, Ms. Lucille M LaRocca ’06, Edwin J Layz, Mickel Leonard, Jeffrey T Lewis, Mark A Lindenmuth, Melvin L Linthicum, Ornella M Lomonaco, Lashonda S Lovett, John Macaluso, Michael Maher ’03, Janine Marchner, Craig Marsh, Michele N Martin, Jonathan Jake Martinez, Katherine C Mason, Rocky Phillip Massara, James E Maynard, Joel R (Joel) Mazeika ’05, Joseph McDonald, Michael D McDonald, Maureen P McGrath ’98, Raye A McHugh, Jennifer McKee ’04, ’10, Adam M McNally, Jevon S Mitchell, Pierre J Monette, Marc J Montgomery, Nancy M Moore, Samuel M S Morcos, Jeremy A. Mosman, Andrew M Nichols, Eric S Northrup, Savannah C Odom, Ms. Kathryn A Ostrosky, Oscar Otero, Gregory Ott ’10, Jonathan H Pacheco, Theodore N Passarell ’95, Terry L Penders, Tammy Perrine, Martin E Pigott, John W III Ponder ’19, Anastaisa C Porter, Nicholas Paul Poulin, Kenneth D Sr Preston, Joseph Provenza, Nyomie S Quinones, Alexander Jr Ramos, Barbara Randall, Steven T Rhodes, Ripley Lynn Rickman, Alan Jacob Rivers, Jeannette A Rodriguez de Diaz, Jeffrey Michael Russell, Barbara A. Rutley, Kathleen M Rydelek, Martin Santiago, Marielle C Santoriello, Adam P Schell, Bradley Michael Schell, Domingo J Serrano, Amy Moneer (Amy) Shehata, John Sheridan, Bryan L. Smith, James Lee Smith, Donald M Smith, Scott R. Smith, Brian Howard Snyder, Sandra K Spoor, Ms. Lynne J Stocum, Derek A Sylvester ’18, Messeret M. Tadesse, Trever W Talavera, James F Taylor, Brian C Terheyden, Bruce E Teuscher, Monica R Thompson, Patrick A Thompson, Genet G Tiba, Alvin W Toe, Long K Tran ’95, David M Travaglini, Ryan Matthew Vankouwenberg, Charles E. VanMaldeghem, Ms. Nereida Vargas, Charlie Velazquez, Michael Vinci, Michael D Vink, Yauncey E Viruet, Abbey L Webb, Edwin L Weymouth, Rodney Alexander Wilkinson, Miss Aletha (Aletha) Williams, William M. (Mark) Williams, Diamond J Wilson, Jerard R Wilson, Ms. Theresa A Wilson, Hans J Witt, Eugene L Wood, David Sr Woodhams, George A Wright, James R. Yarrington ’76, Michael J Yonko Retired: Alan Anderson, Johnny Brown, Willie Davis, Rosa Morrell, Marilyn Princehorn, Magda Ortiz, Johnny Roland, Souphanh Senamountry

These dedicated staff are the lifeblood of the RIT campus. Throughout the pandemic, this group has put aside their personal feelings and anxiety and came to campus every day to perform vital services. In addition, they provided creative and innovative ideas to help RIT be better prepared, safer and more cost effective. Many of these ideas were implemented through the Fall Planning Committee.

GIS PPE Rapid Response Team

Brandon Baker ’14, Kimberly Bawden ’90, ’96, ’13, Kyle DePalma ’19, Chuck Faisst, Andrij Harlan ’82, ’96, Brian Hilton, Randy Jones ’00, Michael Leaty, Allen Luccitti ’08, Domenic Maiola, James Meyer ’01, Scott Nichols ’98, Sandy Noto ’95, Chris Piggott ’02, Ken Schlafer, Marty Schooping, Kristi Sisak, Christopher Valant ’15, ’18, ’20, Mark Walluk, Jay Wheaton ’12. Faculty contributors include: Peter Martin, Nabil Nasr, Nenad Nenadic and Michael Thurston ’88.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this team of GIS researchers, staff and students collaborated on the development of 3 innovative projects to address the critical PPE shortages at Rochester Regional Health other health systems in the state. The team came into the RIT office/labs every day, often working with new people, around the clock, to put their creativity, technical know-how, and problem-solving skills together to help the urgent needs of our state and communities.  

ITS Enterprise Support

Rick Barnard, Alan Blumenstock, Edgar Buffan, Kimberly Clingerman, Shaair Codner, Hanna Darr, Gloria Dupree, Nathan Felton, Knycos Ferguson ’20, Debb Fitts ’95, Michael Good ’18, Sarah Haberbusch, Charles Hall, Christopher Helming, Vincent Incardonia ’85, ’97, Char Ipacs, Larissa Kolupski, Leonard Levaskevich ’14, Cheryl Lomedico ’96, ’03, Paul Magnani ’17, John Mander, Kathy Marcus, Kelly McLaughlin, Julie Means ’96, ’99, Greg Miller, Christopher Nardi, Jennifer O'Toole, Steve Parish ’04, ’12, Ardelia Parker-Killings, Joanna Prescott ’05, Timothy Reagan, Catrina Sapp ’18, Evan Seary, Jill Stackpole ’07, Eric Thompson ’21, Logan Thompson ’15, Doris White-Singletary, Scott Williams, Todd Williams ’97, Ethan Wingenback ’18, Kristi Ziehl ’91

What began as an idea to provide a one-stop resource to provide technical support has become a center where RIT students, parents, faculty, and staff can find answers to so much more, including the latest COVID-19 guidelines. This team was critical in the implementation of the RIT Service Center.

NTID Counseling & Academic Advising Services (CAAS)

Eileen Contestabile, Lisa DeWindt- Sommer, Julie Diaz-Poore, Maury Ferreira, Dominique Flagg, Jessica Hurd, Vicki Liggera, Bryan Lloyd ’90, Mary Pat Magde ’80, Laurie Mousley ’80, TJ Sanger II ’04, Kelsey Wall ’12

This group of individuals has a tremendous impact on the success and retention of our deaf and hard-of-hearing students at RIT. While they serve in a role that deals with academic advising, they also serve as personal counselors and career counselors. They are the first faces our potential new students see. They help the high school students see themselves pursuing a college education and show them a home that they may never have known they were missing. This team is the epitome of what it means to be dedicated to students and live and breathe the RIT/NTID mission and vision. 

Office of Assessment, Technology, and Communications for Student Affairs

Joanna Adams, Sara Bayerl, Jessica Bowen ’08, Jenn Bronakoski, Kathryn Eble ’14, Jill Emmighausen, John Kinnicutt ’10, Jennifer Maltby

ATC (Assessment, Technology, and Communication for Student Affairs) is made up of three teams who work seamlessly together and with others to solve problems at the department, division, and university level. They work together to bring diverse perspectives to the table and reflect heavily on how the tactics and outcomes affect students, families, staff, and faculty – paying particular attention to the nuances affecting marginalized and our most at-risk community members. Many service and administrative offices across the university have had engagement with this team in the past year and have acknowledged their professionalism, work ethic, and importance to conversations about how we best move forward.

RIT Orientation

Chelsea Petree, Eric Pope, Jacqui Stack

This team has consistently been a model of support and understanding for their student employees and incoming new students, year after year. A typical Orientation program takes months to plan but, given the circumstances of the pandemic, this team pulled off a near-perfect Orientation program. Orientation is the program that sets the tone for the academic year, this year even moreso. And the tone for this year is confidence, performance, and achievement.

School of Individualized Study Advising Team

Michelle Firnstein, Wendy Giuliano ’05, ’12, ’17, Melissa Piciulo

The SOIS advising team integrate RIT’s core values into their daily work and all three members excel in their advising duties, their communication and collaboration as a team, and also the projects they lead for the entire SOIS department. This team not only ensures a unique and individualized educational experience for SOIS students, but also are committed to their roles as student advocates and supporters.

Student Health Center

Cheryl Augustyn, Poonam Bhatt, Terri Cooper, Kelly Coppeta, Dara Doane, Michael Edelman, Tiffany Faison, Mindy Fletcher, Nadine Grove, Gale Jones, Amy Kieliszek, Philip Lavine, Miriam Lerner, Alan Lorenz, Patricia Lysko, Patricia Maillet, Melissa Maschoff, Angela McKnight, Hayden Orr, Emily Osgood, Carolynn Patterson, Lindsay Phillips, Ancelin Quinones, Kelly Read, Maggie Reilly ’04, Vincent Saieva, Molly Scharf, Brittany Tehan, Jill Travers ’08, Betty Vickery, Jodi Wheeler ’98, Sara Whitwell, Rebecca Wilson

RIT‘s response to the pandemic could not have been delivered at the outstanding level that it has been without the focus and hard work of this team. This team set exactly the right tone and shepherded this Herculean and ongoing effort to respond in a top notch manner to a global pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetime.