April 2024 Nominees   

LaTonja Wright 4/16/2024 --   Phyllis Haynes

Ms. Wright has served in various roles within the T/TAC organization with integrity. This year marks five years of service as a VCU employee. In the past five years of her tenure, she has served individuals with disabilities well, worked collaboratively with colleagues, and proved training and technical assistance aligning with the goals, and mission of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Brad Williams 4/12/2024 --   Lillie Lattimore

On April 11 the Wright Center had a research presentation for VCU Research Weeks. Brad gave me valuable feedback on how to effectively run a successful hybrid event. His suggestions contributed to the success of the research presentation for those who attended in person and virtually. He was also very helpful in giving me backup, which I greatly appreciated.

Jayda Tinsley 4/4/2024 --  Jay Bolling

Jayda goes over and beyond to assist customers resolve their issues.

Mariah Taghavie-Moghadam 4/2/2024 --  Jenna Lenhardt

Mariah has been a steadfast, creative, positive and thoughtful leader within her department and in collaboration with recruitment initiatives with my office. In the last year she has taken on additional responsibilities across SOE to support acute operational items across departments. She serves as an informal mentor and trainer for new staff members to department level roles- she does this without prompting or request. Mariah's initiative, respect for others, and willingness to support her fellow colleagues is a model to be showcased widely. SOE is better with Mariah on the team, and I am constantly impressed with her ability to connect individuals across departments to support students holistically. Thank you, Mariah!

Recognize a colleague – employee recognitions for 2023

Employees at VCU are encouraged to fill out the employee registration form anytime a colleague has gone above and beyond. Review the latest recognitions here to see what employees across the university have been doing to help out their colleagues.

March 2024 Nominees   

Isaak Hopson 3/29/2024 --  Danielle Terrell

Happy VCU Service Anniversary Isaak! At Massey we so appreciate your skills, service, and drive in support of our mission and stakeholders. It is true that teamwork makes the dream work! You have done an excellent job at tackling your new role and bringing your best every. single. day. We thank you for your dedication to Massey and the larger VCU community!

Silvana D'Ettorre 3/21/2024 --  Samara Reynolds

Silvana has been with the VCU Career Services team for few years now in two different roles -- one on the Career Advising side and one on our Employer & Experiential Development side, in addition to serving as Chair of our Cohesion Committee. I want to give a special shout out to Silvana for her responsiveness, responsibility, and initiative displayed in a few different areas of recent note. First, I received an inquiry from the VCU Government Relations team regarding several alumni on Capitol Hill that expressed interest in connecting with and sharing insights with students. I shared this information with Silvana and she worked quickly and effectively with alumni/employer contacts and campus partners (faculty/staff) to design and market an official panel event this semester -- turning an idea into reality and supporting students, colleagues, and VCU alumni in the process. Second, this year Silvana took on new responsibilities related to the VCU First Destination Survey, supporting administration and tech systems behind the scenes to take things on that had previously been on my plate for the project, coming up with process improvements and great questions along the way, and also making sure we had staffing for the recent Grad Fair event to collect data and support the VCU Alumni team. Lastly, when a colleague had to be out unexpectedly and needed a student-facing presentation covered for a campus partner, even though Silvana no longer serves on the Career Advising Team, she was willing to step in and up to take this request on last minute, making sure her colleague felt supported and that students were served. All three of these notable contributions have happened in the last few weeks, while Silvana has been concurrently doing an awesome job with her primary responsibilities and balancing a great deal. I want to thank Silvana and recognize her for all that she makes possible for our team, employer partners, and campus community.

Tiffany Pignatello 3/20/2024 --  Christina La Rosa

Tiffany Pignatello always goes above and beyond in her work. She arrives early and stays late and still somehow manages to interact with everyone- participant and colleague alike, with mindfulness, empathy, and intention. On one notable instance Tiffany not only counselled and provided a research participant with resources to access substance use treatment care, but also went out of her way to physically walk with the participant to the motivate clinic. The participant was so touched they were in tears. She is the epitome of subject first research and we are so lucky people like her are involved.

Cameron White 3/10/2024 --  James Draper

My main goal as building manager for the department of Psychology, is to make all occupants feel comfortable. To that end, I have submitted tickets for the many ac units I have spread out among my properties. Cameron is always responsive with timely maintenance - from cleaning and repairing old units to installing new ones. Cameron also carries himself with integrity and will keep me posted on the status of the work he is performing. I can always count on the ticket being closed properly when I know Cameron has the ticket.

Chante Holt 3/4/2024 --  Nick Fetzer

I had a tight turnaround with a sponsor and Chante was responsive, knowledgeable, and kind. She helped figure out an error and got the invoice in on time. 

February 2024 Nominees   

 Sarah Briland 2/23/2024 --  Stephanie Tignor

Sarah Briland has gone above and beyond to support an international student experiencing a very serious personal challenge. She has coordinated with multiple units, including GEO, to support the student, and has show the student and their family incredible empathy, support, and care during a very difficult time. Sarah has gone beyond the role of academic advisor and has proven herself to be an incredible advocate. GEO is grateful for Sarah's utmost care and attention and for stepping up in the way she has.

Roger Butler 2/5/2024 --  Jenna Lenhardt

I could nominate Roger for all of the items on this form: initiative, integrity, respect and responsiveness. Roger is a thoughtful and proactive colleague who gives his all in each interaction. School of Education is a complex admissions operations school, with different needs for different audiences in the admissions process, and Roger works with us as a dedicated colleague as we support future students. He is responsive and takes initiative to think of potential challenges down the road as we solve problems together. I appreciate his leadership and his perspective in each interaction. When we have an issue, he is quick to respond and support. VCU is lucky to have Roger.

Carla Dannouf 2/5/2024 --  Mindy VanDevelder

Carla provides incredible fiscal grant support and goes way above and beyond in making sure my NOAA grant stays on track and that all information is accessible for a non-fiscal person to understand. She's amazing!

Jamie Simmons 2/1/2024 --  Marjorie Nesmith

I recently had to have a contract signed immediately because the requesting department was under a tight timeline of having the contract and deposit submitted to hold the date for an upcoming event. I emailed Jamie (who was out of the office for a few days) regarding this urgent matter and she responded. She took the time (although being off) to review the contract, send to John McHugh for signature, and return it to me. I just want to acknowledge Jamie for going above and beyond to help me get this matter resolved on her days off. I am so appreciative. THANK YOU JAMIE!!!

Nathan Hilsenbrand 2/1/2024 --  Dana Rajczewski

Nathan has been assisting me with a few different website-related tasks, and I am definitely in good hands! He has advised me on photo sizes needed for Portfolio, as well as a bunch of different things on the back end of T4. With whatever assistance he providers, he strikes that difficult balance of knowing when to teach me how to do certain tasks and when to do the more advanced tasks himself, but he explains what's happening in a way that makes sense so I know what's basically going on (even when the mechanics are way beyond my understanding!). His office hours are super helpful, and I feel much more confident in my skills knowing that he is available for questions (or a quick fix if I've really made a mess of things!) and is very patient and understanding - he's a great teacher. Believe me, this goes a very long way! He also follows up to be sure I have the resolution I need to any given problem. Nathan is an awesome colleague, and I'm glad I get to work with him in the School of Medicine!

Jake Franko and Greg Eskridge 2/1/2024 --  Deborah Baines

Jake and Greg received an urgent 7:30 AM request to provide crucial information to a functional team member before 8:00 AM, ensuring timely processing of a highly important process. Collaborating seamlessly, they went above and beyond VCU's regular operating hours to promptly address the user's needs and meet the extremely tight deadline. Recognizing the importance of preemptive action, they revised existing processes to automatically provide the requested information as a part of daily communication in case of future occurrences. Furthermore, they requested to engage with the technical team to investigate the root cause of the issue, exploring preventive measures for its recurrence. Jake and Greg's outstanding responsiveness and proactive approach are truly commendable. Kudos for your exceptional efforts!

Kathryn Bunce 2/1/2024 --  Alex Josephs

I cannot stress enough how grateful my team is for Kathy and everything she does for us, the Procurement Team, and VCU as a whole. She is always there to lend a han


January 2024 Nominees  

Chris Parthemos 1/31/2024 --  Meghan Depue

Chris had given an overview of Looker Studio at a session a while back, and I had remembered it when I encountered a need to display qualitative data in my own work. I had not remembered how to do use Looker Studio, so I reached out to Chris with the hope that he would help me out. Chris quickly responded to my email and set up a Zoom meeting with me to walk me through how to accomplish my goal. He showed up to the meeting prepared, used our time efficiently, and answered all of my questions with helpful comments and a smile. I am very appreciative of his efforts to support me as a fellow colleague!

Nery Prera 1/29/2024 --  James Draper

This recognition is for Nery's tireless efforts, as I have observed from Fall 2023 until now. Nery shows integrity, initiative, respect, and responsiveness. Nery always goes above and beyond when called upon for a service request in the 15 Psychology spaces I am building manager for. My most recent request was to paint a faculty office. Not only did he assist in suggesting color selections, he also provided valuable insights on how to paint the office to make the room seem bigger. Nery kept in contact with me during the entire process and the result was impressive for me and the faculty member. This is just one example of how Nery doesn't just show up to do the job, he understands the problem and educates on possible solutions. He is a master of his craft and I could not let the opportunity pass to express my gratitude for the work he has consistently done.

Delores Armstrong 1/26/2024 --  Cathleen Finnerty

Delores has been at VCU for over 20 years and has been in the OVPRI for over 2 years as the Assistant Director of Finance and Administration for our Division of Animal Resources. For the past 7 months she accepted the responsibility of serving as the Interim Director of HR for the OVPRI as well as all the duties related to her permanent position. Her dedication and expertise supported the entire OVPRI with superb HR and finance guidance while the office recruited for a permanent HR Director. Her leadership and attention to detail have been instrumental in keeping our HR and Finance responsibilities on task. Delores, I and our HR team appreciate the time an effort you’ve taken to support our progress and growth. Personally, I can’t thank you enough for your support during this very busy time. Your numerous contributions to the OVPRI have not gone unnoticed and I want to openly acknowledge your efforts.

Jay Draper 1/25/2024 --  Kim Case

This kudos spans Jay's tireless efforts across fall 2023 and into January 2024. And even though I could only mark "initiative" on this form, Jay also exemplifies integrity, respect, and responsiveness. My gratitude for Jay cannot be stated in words, but I will try. Jay always keeps a positive, can-do attitude no matter how many curve balls and unexpected needs comes his way. Honestly, his role requires flexibility, patience, internal motivation to tackle the huge challenges, and a supportive approach to working with staff and faculty. Jay could not be more perfect for bringing all of those traits and skills to our department, but also just makes everyone feel seen and heard. I always know Jay is working hard behind the scenes to make everyone's work life a little less stressful and more pleasant! Thank you, Jay, for finding a way. And specifically, thank you to Jay for helping move into a new office that will support my work for years to come!

Atlantis Johnson 1/24/2024 --  Carla Dannouf

Atlantis has been an amazing addition to OSP. She is very professional and highly responsive. She articulates all phases of OSP involvement in RAMS-SPOT and is willing to go that extra mile to make sure that the department's needs are met. I just want to take a moment to recognize her level of work and say thank you. We are all in this together and Atlantis makes us feel that way. She has even worked after hours to submit a very important grant for Dr. McKnight and we appreciate it. Everyone at OSP is helpful, but Atlantis is golden!

Jennifer Carleton 1/24/2024 --  Scott Stech

Jennifer recently responded to an immediate organizational need in routing contracts for adjuncts within one of our departments. She was able to quickly prioritize the drafting of the contracts and initiate the hiring process for the department in record timing. Jennifer is a valued member of the team and her responsiveness, attention to detail, and ability to be agile is truly impressive and I'd like to recognize Jennifer for her efforts. Thank you, Jennifer, for all you do for the School of Education!

Christy Farmer 1/4/2024 --  Dana Rajczewski

Christy has been working on a bunch of schedules (often juggling availabilities from committee members and candidates that don't always align), and she is keeping everything organized and clear for everyone involved. I don't know how she does it! In the midst of doing all of this work and working on another large logistical project, she helped me with a large project I was working on and took some of the stress off of my plate. This was a seemingly small task that made a huge difference, and this is very typical of the work that Christy does for so many of us. She's an awesome colleague in Family Medicine!

Ken Simon 1/4/2024 --  Evan French

I've had several interactions with Ken this year and in every one of them, he's been so responsive and helpful. Yesterday morning, my computer refused to let me log in, which prevented me from being able to work. I submitted a ticket and all before lunch, Ken emailed me, tried troubleshooting over a virtual session, and finally fixed the problem with an in-person consultation. I was back to being able to work that afternoon, which was a huge relief. I really appreciate Ken's help getting my issue resolved FAST!

December 2023 Nominees 

Alantis Johnson 12/21/2023 --   Jose Alcaine

Huge thank you to Alantis for helping us even when the time was tight, the deadline was looming, and we were pressed to the last minute. We cannot be successful with our grant work if we don’t get those applications in and Alantis was most helpful in getting this US Department of Ed submission over the line. Thank you for your continued support and for supporting the School of Education and the research mission at VCU. We appreciate it.

Sabrina Lumpkin 12/21/2023 --   Jose Alcaine

Special thanks to Sabrina for going the extra mile in helping us submit a grant to the US Department of ED. The application had some technical issues and challenges during the submission process and she was willing to help us at the 12th hour minus minutes. She went beyond the call and we appreciate it. Thank you for all your help in supporting the research mission at VCU. My colleagues and I really appreciate your work and help. Thank you.

Rita Crawford 12/19/2023 --   Michael Kyrychenko

Rita is a lifesaver! I procrastinated on Christmas cards (as usual) and needed to rush over to Scherer Hall in the middle of the day to drop them off before the University closed for break. Rita picked up the phone when I called ahead and we made a plan—she even ran outside and picked them up from my car so that I didn't have to pay for parking. Cards delivered just in time. Next year I will plan ahead so that I don't have to abuse her kindness again, but in the meantime I am very grateful for this holiday hero!

Alexis (Lexi) Jefferson 12/14/2023 --  Kirsty Dixon

Alexis Jefferson (‘Lexi’) consistently performs well above average, going above and beyond what might be expected of her in her normal duties. This has had an extremely positive effect on the successful operation of my team’s studies and I am very grateful that she is on our (collective) team. On every interaction Lexi has been knowledgeable on what needs to occur and when that needs to happen, and has even assisted me with organizing things when I have been less organized than I would like. And she has done this with an outstandingly positive attitude. I cannot stress how much this has contributed to the success of our current studies.

Kenneth (Ken) Simon 12/14/2023 --  Kirsty Dixon

I nominate Ken Simon for outstanding job performance. In general Ken is always extremely responsive to any IT needs that arise and able to handle these situations in a professional and timely manner. Recently there was an unusual incident that required Ken's immediate assistance, for which he jumped right in to troubleshoot and resolve without hesitation, going above and beyond what might be normally expected of him. He should be commended for this. Thank you.

Nicole Nielsen 12/14/2023 --  Kirsty Dixon

I nominate Nicole Nielsen as an outstanding employee. This is not just for any one single incident but because of her desire to want to provide the best possible service possible every single day. Nicole shows initiative to get the things done that need to get done on a daily basis, has integrity to want to do those tasks at the highest quality possible, and respects those around her while achieving this level of greatness. Nicole is also quite literally the fastest of anyone to respond to and assist with, requests from faculty she works with, no matter the size of the issue. And did I mention both her competence and being a team player yet? Well I should have because these are possibly Nicole's biggest strengths. Her ability to competently manage requests from those faculty she works with even when there are looming deadlines. But she works hard to successfully help push the team forward. She needs to be commended on her outstanding performance.

Amanda Jabri 12/14/2023 --  Kirsty Dixon

I nominate Amanda Jabri for her outstanding job performance throughout the duration of her employment. Amanda routinely manages difficult situations with respect, integrity and apparent ease (I do not know how she makes things look easy and effortless even when they are clearly not). She should be commended for her unwavering positive attitude, commitment to her duties, and the respect and compassion that she shows all individuals around her. Thank you.


November 2023 Nominees 

George Artis 11/21/2023 --  Shanea Raj

George provided exceptional customer service and responsiveness by working tirelessly to ensure that my PC would run the file needed to complete a key business process. Throughout the entire process, George remained upbeat and patient as he worked to find a solution. Thank you, George, for going above and beyond.

Ian McCoy 11/9/2023 --  Eliza Robinson

EMC was trying to purchase an app for our Social Media team's iPhone, and after looking into using a VCU P-Card for the purchase but being advised we couldn't leave a card on file within an iCloud account, I submitted a ticket to desktopit@vcu.edu asking for advice. Ian quickly replied, saying Tech Services could purchase the app through Apple School Manager, port the app over to EMC's iPhone then bill EMC using a JV in Banner. It was an efficient solution to what seemed to be a complicated request. Ian always goes above and beyond to provide EMC quick, exceptional service and we're thankful for him!

Barbara Payne 11/8/2023 --  Modestine Carter

Barbara reached out to the Travel team with an encumbrance question. Due to her inquiry we discovered an issue that had been impacting the posting of Travel encumbrances for 2 months. It had gone undiscovered because Travel was receiving the daily Encumbrance Reports. However, only the liquidations were posting to Banner. As we worked to resolve the matter, Barbara was kind enough to work with us through this process, confirming the posting of data, etc. She was very understanding and her due diligence really helped us. We are now putting into place some type of notification method with IT support to prevent this from occurring again.

Taryn Traylor 11/6/2023 --  Jenna Lenhardt

Taryn and I have been working closely on a project for the past few months and her initiative and responsiveness to the needs of our community partners is inspiring. Taryn knows her stuff and she is always ready with a helpful hand and creative ideas on how to best serve our education colleagues across Virginia. She physically took handouts to districts across Virginia over the past few weeks, chatting with partners, and spreading the word by utilizing and leveraging her robust network of colleagues. This type of hands-on and time consuming work is essential to the growth of our academic programs, and Taryn has gone above and beyond to support our academic programs. I have learned a great deal from Taryn and I look forward to continuing to collaborate and build more resources for special education teachers!


October 2023 Nominees 

Tanya Smith 10/31/2023 --  Keyetta Tate

Tanya always goes above and beyond to get the job done. I email her often and she is always helpful and responds quickly. I just wanted to take a moment to let her know she is appreciated.

Danny Habura 10/31/2023 --  Ellie Meyer

The new math exchange's projectors have had quite a bit of difficulty functioning to their full ability. Danny has been a truly amazing contact for assistance. As soon as there is an issue reported he responds, makes a physical visit to inspect the space. Treats all of the faculty and staff with kindness and patiences. He is talented at explaining the issues, the next steps, and communicating timelines. The instructors of Math 151 feel a great sense of gratitude for such an effective and pleasant team member.

Sanjur Brooks 10/30/2023 --  Lisa Ballance

At the early hour of 6:45 a.m., Sandy Brooks arrived for a meeting to talk about the VCU Human Research Protection Program Transformation with clinical chairpersons. After a brief kick-off and introduction, she demonstrated impressive value-driven leadership. Specifically, I would like to express my appreciation for how clearly Sandy conveyed a message of quality improvement as the goal, specifically in alignment with our values:
COLLABORATION - Foster respect, collegiality, and cooperation to advance learning, entrepreneurship, and inquiry -- and this is how you really made a difference - being personally committed and available. SERVICE - Engage in the application of learning and discovery to improve the human condition and support the public good at home and abroad -- and you served well by empathizing and sharing your own impressions of timelines. INTEGRITY - Adhere to the highest standards of honesty, respect, and professional and scholarly ethics. Sometimes this means telling the truth, even when it isn't as planned. Change is hard. But leaning on our shared values and focusing on our commitment to serve game across to those in the meeting with the perfect mixture of boldness and grace. While you have a great team supporting this transformation, you are typically the one answering the hard questions. Thank you!

Jamie Simmons 10/27/2023 --  Sania Marcoccia

Jamie Simmons ALWAYS goes the extra mile. She always 100% professional even when your own mistakes or mistakes made by your department make her job harder or more stressful. She never passes judgement or complains, she simply gets it done and regardless of business hours. She is always helpful and shares her knowledge. I appreciate Jamie so very very much.

Sania Marcoccia 10/25/2023 --  Em Griffith

I'd like to convey my deep appreciation to Sania for her unwavering kindness, prompt responsiveness, and remarkable commitment to supporting her colleagues. Her exceptional assistance and guidance, most recently, in aiding my understanding of VCU's new travel booking process, have been indispensable. The work Sania does is truly remarkable!

Ziaire Prevard 10/24/2023 -- Isaiah Moore

Ziaire has been nothing less than professional in my interaction with him concerning the ElevatED LLC. He is always punctual for meetings and last meeting remembered to set the room up for game night. He took all of the responsibility on himself and made the program a success. He is definitely one who can be depended on. His early success is made even more astounding by the fact that he is new to campus and is still becoming acclimated to the environment. He is a great representation of VCU housing. Kudos to him!

Amber Jackson 10/18/2023 -- Dana Rajczewski

I'm so glad that Amber is a member of our department! She is our HR Coordinator and she works hard to make everyone - potential and current employees alike - feel welcomed and heard. She is extremely responsive, and she won't stop working on a task until each person involved has a workable solution. She's been a huge part of ongoing recruitment in our department, and I know this goes a long way to making candidates feel comfortable during the whole process; she serves as a central contact for them and goes out of her way to make the process as smooth as possible. Thank you, Amber!

James Henderson 10/18/2023 -- Rochelle Jordan

James was instrumental in implementing a solution for process improvement in my unit. He provided information on API integration, answered the many questions that I had, and was responsive to my needs. I appreciated his input and suggestions.

Eric Doersch 10/18/2023 -- Rochelle Jordan

Eric was instrumental in providing a solution for process improvement in my unit. He provided information, answered the many questions that I asked, and was quick to suggest alternatives to meet my needs. Eric is always willing to talk things through and assist me with implementing the best solution possible.

Dorothy Walsh 10/17/2023 -- Carla Dannouf

Dottie supports CTL and the residents. Her commitment to the work, her ethics, and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the work done is exceptional. She is a team-player with all who come into contact with her. Her integrity provides a level of sureness to the CTL department. She is rapidly responsive in all that she does.

William Crehore 10/13/2023 -- Rochelle Jordan

Will has been exceptionally helpful in assisting me with endpoint computing needs. His guidance on MACs/JAMF has helped reduce my stress level for having to learn a new set of skills. His responsiveness and time extended to my requests are greatly appreciated especially knowing that he has an extremely busy workload.

William Crehore 10/11/2023 -- Travis Greene

Will recently stepped into the role of macOS System Administrator at VCU, assuming a critical position that was previously held by a long-term veteran in the field. As is often the case with established IT roles, Will had substantial shoes to fill right from the start. Not long into his tenure, our campus experienced a significant outage affecting all Apple-managed devices. This disruption could have been catastrophic, but Will instantly took control of the situation. He collaborated diligently with various internal and external partners, navigating through complex challenges to restore stability to our Apple device environment. However, Will's commitment didn't stop at merely resolving the issue at hand. Instead, he delved deep into the underlying causes of the outage, asking the essential question: "Why did this happen?" Proactive and foresighted, Will is already devising strategic plans to forestall similar incidents in the future, safeguarding the campus from potential disruptions. Transitioning into a new role is invariably challenging, and many individuals might falter when faced with the immediate and daunting responsibilities that Will encountered. Yet, he not only met but surpassed expectations, demonstrating resilience and proactive communication every step of the way. While some organizations tend to minimize communication, Will ensured that the campus community remained informed and updated, sharing crucial information promptly as developments unfolded. Through his exemplary actions and steadfast commitment, Will has assured us all that he is not only the right fit for the role but is also a dependable asset to the VCU community. We can confidently look forward to more of his contributions, secure in the knowledge that our Apple device environment is in capable and caring hands.

Serra De Arment 10/3/2023 -- Jenna Lenhardt

Serra is the picture you see when you look up "teamwork" and "collaboration". She is responsive and supportive of new ideas and making things happen to support student success. When I am trying to connect the dots and figure out a way to solve a complex problem, Serra is there with ideas, good questions and a positive perspective that helps see the opportunities in the challenges. We have a million moving parts in supporting a ton of new initiatives all at once in an environment where everything feels urgent and the top priority. I feel lucky to work with a responsive and thoughtful colleague like Serra.


September 2023 Nominees

Patricia Shazer & Valerie Washington 9/29/2023 -- Eliza Robinson

Last week, EMC was made aware of three overdue vendor invoice payments. Although receipts had been created for these invoices in early August, due to a system error during import, the invoices were not properly matching in Realsource and payments were not issued. Monica Jackson suggested I reach out to Valerie Washington and Patricia Shazer for assistance. Valerie and Patricia both quickly jumped in, reviewing the PO, receipts and invoices, and made the updates needed to allow the payments to be processed and included in the next upcoming check run. I'm so grateful for their responsiveness and attention to detail which allowed EMC to reassure the vendor the overdue payments were now in process. A big thank you to them both!

Cathleen Finnerty 9/28/2023 -- Brandon Seigel

Cathleen has been such a rockstar since Day 1 in my new role. She has been the most reliable and responsive point of contact for any form of support, help, or guidance and is incredibly kind and understanding in her communication with others. She frequently checks in to make sure I have all of the resources necessary to succeed in my role and is quick to respond to any inquiry with substantive, meaningful information. Not only is Cathleen a great HRA, she is a great role model for emotional intelligence in the workplace and deserves all of the recognition she can get. Thank you Cathleen!

Nina Exner 9/28/2023 -- Roy Brown

I meant to do this several weeks ago, but this thank you is in reference to several things Nina has done over the past several months. This year, I have been the chair of the VCU Libraries Peer Review Committee and have aimed to improve the process for those who apply. While I talked to members of the committee, Nina has always made herself available to help me think through and understand the benefits and drawbacks of anything that the committee decided to do. Her counsel has been invaluable and something that I have really appreciated. Over the past several weeks, VCU Libraries has also had several candidates come to campus for interviews. As part of these interviews, the candidates meet with a member of the VCU Libraries Peer Review Committee to gain an understanding of the promotion process. Because of some family emergencies and other circumstances, there were times when a member of the committee could not meet with a candidate. In those instances, Nina never hesitated to step in and fill in as a part member of the committee to meet with the candidate. I just wanted to thank Nina for being such a great colleague and helping out in a pinch. Thank You!

Megan Holt-Smith 9/25/2023 -- Sara Rafuse

We had a student crying in the lobby of the CLC and Megan not only took the initiative to bring her to her office and help get her calmed down, but also build a genuine and caring relationship with the student. Over the course of an hour I listened to their interaction build from wanting to drop out of college to putting together an action plan for the German course that was giving the student anxiety. Megan did not HAVE to meet with the student, but she took it upon herself to be responsive to this student and their needs. She continues to go above and beyond with care and compassion.

Virginia Damron 9/21/2023 -- Samara Reynolds

Virginia joined the VCU Career Services team less than a month ago and has already had a positive impact on the lives of her colleagues and our students. With a number of staff members currently out on both planned and unplanned leave, we have put out a number of internal requests for support and Virginia has since stepped up to deliver a unique presentation, help staff a career fair, substitute teach in one of our career courses, represent our team on committees, and more. Virginia genuinely cares about her colleagues and the student experience, and when she becomes aware of an opportunity to fill a gap or make someone's load easier to carry, she raises her hand to volunteer. I have enjoyed working with Virginia as a colleague for a few years now (when she was in other departments at VCU), but having her on my team has been a true blessing during this busy season, and we are lucky to have her here. A heartfelt thank you to Virginia for her kind, positive, helpful approach to our work and for bringing her energy and experience to our team at VCS.

Hayley Darwin 9/21/2023 -- Erin Nocon

Hayley joined our team when we had been without procurement and finance help for several months. In the short time that she has been with us, she has brought all of our outstanding orders up to date and helped me clean up the department reconciliations. She is always pleasant to deal with and so many staff members have mentioned to me how glad they are to have her on board.

Hillary Parkhouse 9/14/2023 -- Tomika Ferguson

Over the last 3-4 weeks, Dr. Hillary Parkhouse has assumed chair level duties in the absence of the interim department chair. Working with her on time sensitive issues and complicated university requests may not not have been easier for her to balance. However, Hillary has been incredibly responsive, highly efficient, a great team player, and has done this without complaint. Her willingness to jump right in and be a great leader has been much appreciated. I am grateful to have her as my colleague in the School of Education! She is an incredible asset to VCU.

Bob Young 9/11/2023 -- Dana Rajczewski

Bob has been in our department for a year, and he is absolutely awesome to work with! He is a great leader for our administrative team, and he is extremely responsive to any of our questions, suggestions, etc. He is very encouraging of us all to work together to come up with solutions to any issues we may have. He has a really positive attitude, and that makes some of the tasks that seem insurmountable significantly easier to tackle. Thank you, Bob!

Polly Roberts 9/8/2023 -- Dana Rajczewski

Our department has been working with Polly on a pilot newsletter project, and to say that she has been helpful is an absolute understatement! She is very organized, and she is helping me to stay organized and on-target as well, and she does all of this with patience, kindness, and expertise. Any time I've had questions, she has been ready to answer, either via email or by hopping on a Zoom call, and this project would not be possible without her guidance. She has a way of making things that seem intimidating much more doable, and I can't thank her enough for all of her help. I'm enjoying learning more about communications work as well, and she's been instrumental in that learning process. Thank you so much, Polly!

Kathryn Wright 9/1/2023 -- Javeria Kazi

Kathryn exemplifies premier customer service and responsiveness. Late on a Friday evening before a long weekend, Kathryn helped troubleshoot an urgent issue and all with a smile. She was pleasant to interact with and went above and beyond for our team. We are grateful for her assistance, partnership and expediency in this instance and on a regular basis.


August 2023 Nominees

Em Griffith 8/31/2023 -- Nominated by Sandra Mazzoli

In Em's current role supporting the Dept. of Teaching and Learning , they have been instrumental in ensuring requests for late registration are processed in a timely fashion. This responsiveness ensures our students are not negatively impacted. Em is a consummate professional, always ready to learn new tasks and ask questions when clarification is needed. They are a wonderful teammate and colleague!

Jessica Watson 8/17/2023 -- Nominated by Stephanie Tignor

I would like to recognize Jessica Watson for her excellent work coordinating and leading VCU's International Student Orientation yesterday. She stepped up during a time of need and took initiative to plan a very complex, important event for new international students to the university. It was an incredible all-hands-on-deck team effort that went incredibly smoothly thanks to her hard work-- well done, Jessica!

Cameron Delarosa 8/17/2023 -- Nominated by Stephanie Tignor

I am writing to share my sincere appreciation for the great work that Cameron Delarosa has done to create a welcome guide for international students living in WGN. Cameron identified a need among international students and visitors who reside in West Grace North to receive helpful information tailored to their unique needs upon arrival in the dormitory. He took initiative and in a month's time he coordinated with colleagues in OMSA and GEO to create a beautiful, thoughtfully designed booklet that was printed and distributed to the international students who are living in the building. I saw a copy of the guide today and was extremely impressed with the end product as well as how Cameron worked collaboratively with colleagues in Student Affairs and GEO to bring his idea to life. He should be commended for taking this initiative, and working so quickly and collaboratively to see his idea come to fruition! We would love to take this idea campus-wide!

Scott Stech 8/17/2023 -- Nominated by Jenna Lenhardt

Scott regularly goes above and beyond in initiative, integrity, respect and responsiveness. Today was similar to many other days in my experience with Scott. He listened, reflected, and showed an endless amount of respect and dignity to me when sharing concerns and ideas. He has been an incredibly positive, proactive, and supportive sounding board and thought partner when managing an increasingly challenging recruitment market. He shares ideas, asks critical questions, and I trust that he drives positive change for SOE. I am thankful for him as a colleague and appreciate all that he brings to our school and me professionally. Thank you, Scott!

Michael Lay 8/1/2023 -- Nominated by Angie Wetzel

Mike has so much on his plate with our small but mighty communications team. Recently, we asked for his help in updating our website on a fairly tight timeline to accommodate some upcoming meetings that would be using information from our site. Mike worked tirelessly, above and beyond, to get it updated and responded to our tweaks very quickly. I know he had many other things to do, but I appreciate his responsiveness in helping us have our information up to date to serve our school.

Sherrie Dabney-Washington 8/1/2023 -- Emily Olszewski

Sherrie has consistently gone above and beyond her designated role, proactively seeking out opportunities to improve daily processes and maintain efficiency while assisting both VCU's IRB and IACUC offices. She has incredible ability to identify areas that require attention and then takes the lead in proposing and implementing innovative solutions that has had significant impacts on the OVPRI's productivity and success. Sherrie doesn't wait for instructions; she actively takes on various responsibilities for both departments and takes the initiative to tackle them head-on. Her willingness to take on additional responsibilities and support her colleagues without hesitation demonstrates her exceptional dedication and selflessness. Moreover, Sherrie has been a driving force behind several successful inspections and events, showcasing her leadership qualities and ability to adapt to novel situations. Her commitment to the continuous improvement of our department here at VCU and her eagerness to learn and grow make her a valuable asset to OVPRI and VCU as a whole.


July 2023 Nominees

Jennifer Tennison 7/17/2023 -- Nominated by Angie Wetzel

Jennifer Tennison demonstrates initiative and motivation for learning and growth consistently in her role with the Office of Data Analytics. Jen took a leadership role in making the dashboards we use to display admissions, enrollment, and student success outcomes infinitely better. Jen identified challenges with our existing dashboards, in terms of display, end-user experience, and efficiencies. She researched and self-taught features and tools in SAS Visual Analytics to bring new layouts and designs to the dashboards. She also is working with our stakeholders to get feedback and continue to ensure the best design for their needs. All of her efforts resulted in much improved analytics from our office. I am excited to see how these better serve our faculty, staff, and leaders in planning and decision making.

Cathleen Finnerty 7/14/2023 -- Nominated by Elizabeth Fortune

I would like to recognize Cathleen Finnerty (and the entire the VPR HR team for that matter) who stepped up to the plate to assist us with our HR and staffing needs during a period in which our HR generalist position was vacant. Ms. Finnerty took on a large workload of multiple HR functions - ranging from start to finish staff recruitments, graduate student reappointments, affiliate faculty renewals, and other related tasks for our two busy research centers. Ms. Finnerty is always helpful, responsive, resourceful, and demonstrates that she is truly invested in the success of our department. I value her as a colleague and a new friend. I look forward to our continued association.

Katie Cappuccio 7/12/2023 -- Nominated by Samara Reynolds

Katie wears multiple hats and supports our department in many ways as a financial specialist for the SEMSS Division and has been a joy to work with ever since VCU Career Services joined SEMSS. This particular recognition note is regarding how Katie helped our unit, along with Student Financial Services and VCU REAL, to successfully apply for a SCHEV grant this week focused on Transforming Federal Work-Study, which could bring $100K to the University in support of student success and experiential learning. As we began drafting our grant proposal earlier this summer, Katie reached out to offer support and expertise in working with the Office of Sponsored Programs and the RAM Spot system to formally submit our proposal through the proper VCU channels and on to the funding agency. This was my first time serving as primary PI on a grant at VCU, so much of the process was new to me, but Katie provided insight, leadership, and thoughtful guidance, using her keen relationship building skills and attention to detail to make things easy on me and my fellow PI's, while ensuring that our grant proposal was submitted correctly and on-time so we could meet the SCHEV deadline this week. We couldn't have done it without her, and I am very grateful for her dedication to this project, setting us all up for success. I want to send a special thank you to Katie for all she does, but especially for the major part she played in VCU being able to submit our grant proposal for this important effort.

Cheyanne Ferrell 7/5/2023 -- Nominated by Allissa Wolf

This PCT always goes above and beyond for me even when they have other responsibilities to attend to. She does things without me even asking her to, and has been more helpful than any care partner I have ever worked with in my career with 3 different hospitals. She is about to graduate nursing school and she is going to make an absolute amazing nurse and this hospital is lucky to have her. Families and patients already love her and I know they are so lucky to have her!

Alaina Patterson 7/5/2023 -- Nominated by Allissa Wolf

Alaina is an absolutely amazing nurse and I have worked with her multiple times and have noticed how great she is. The compassion she has for these patients and their families is amazing. She cares so much and I can tell how thoughtful she is in her care. Families and this hospital are so very lucky to have such a thoughtful and careful nurse!

Sabrina Evans 7/6/2023 -- Nominated by Jenna Lenhardt

Throughout the past year of working with Sabrina, I have learned a great deal about the challenges facing teachers in our highest needs schools. Her passion for community and the work of education is inspiring and it engages others in the work in a way they feel seen and heard. Sabrina has an incredible amount of integrity in all that she does. She leads with care, compassion and creativity and I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with her. Go Sabrina!

June 2023 Nominees

Amber Paulus 6/29/2023 -- Nominated by Shelley Conroy

Since joining the School of Nursing, Amber has taken consistent initiative across the university tripartite mission. While only one 'recognition characteristic" can be selected, Amber also consistently exhibits the others- integrity, respect and responsiveness. As PhD Program Director, I can say that Amber has without fail responds to every request sent to her- recruiting students, participating in PhD applicant interviews, sharing her expertise and experiences with PhD students during immersions as well as working to engage them in research, updating our courses in alignment with the AACN recommendations, and working with us to strengthen and streamline our On Campus Immersions. As a graduate of our program, she has valuable insights with regard to what works, what doesn't and she brings unique, inspired ideas and solutions to improve our program. Each of these activities serves to make our program the best it can be. I am most grateful to have Amber in our community.

May 2023 Nominees

Talia Anderson 5/1/2023 -- Nominated by Sandra Mazzoli

The School of Education has a number of Summer 2023 admissions submitted this week. Talia has been wonderful about uploading documents that were received after submission of said applications. I truly appreciate her responsiveness and professionalism while we work to get these students admissions applications processed in a timely fashion.

Mariah Taghavie-Moghadam 5/16/2023 --  Nominated by Maryanna Stufflebeem

Mariah and Em initiated the proposal for the reorganization of support staff roles within the School of Ed and put in a lot of work to coordinate efforts and make the presentation as good as it could be. I'm grateful for their leadership!

April 2023 Nominees

Candice Tam 4/11/2023 --  Nominated by Sania Marcoccia

Candice Tam is discerning, insightful and well-informed which is why I tend to lean on her with questions, ideas and perspectives. She is ALWAYS gracious with her time and consideration. She is huge asset to VCU and GREATLY appreciated. Thanks for all that you do Candice!

Lora Bailey 4/12/2023 --  Nominated by Kim McKnight

I am writing to recognize the contributions of Dr. Lora Bailey. She has made many contributions since joining the School of Education. There is so much to navigate when it comes to licensure and accreditation and her leadership has supported the successful submission of apprenticeship grants, Surry RTR expansion, and all Masters of Teaching-Elementary Education program change documents, including the construction of all syllabi, matrices, and program rationale and narrative requirements.

Your commitment to igniting student success through curricular innovation is evident in the quality of work that you have produced. Your efforts to transform the curriculum so that more students engage in inquiry and experiential learning to prepare them for the future of work are truly inspiring. Additionally, your focus on care and responsiveness is commendable.

I would also like to acknowledge your dedication to retaining and attracting a diverse community of highly qualified educators that reflects a culture where everyone matters and belongs. Your commitment to ensuring that students have high quality teachers is essential for building a thriving community. Once again, thank you for your help and support. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated.

Krista Scoggins 4/19/2023 --  Nominated by Katherine Atran

Krista Scoggins has been the most helpful and biggest support to DAR Veterinary Service program. She has been going above and beyond her duties since I've started in DAR to support all her colleagues as well as maintaining her own duties as the clinical veterinarian. She is innovative, encouraging, respectful, professional, and above all compassionate with both animals and humans. The animals at VCU and the staff would not have succeeded without her support and care. She is one of the amazing people that makes VCU a Great Place to Work.

Jada Wright 4/26/2023 --  Nominated by Angie Wetzel

Recently, a conflict came up that prevented me from attending and presenting at a scheduled meeting of our undergraduate recruitment team. It was a very last minute change to the planned agenda. Jada Wright jumped right in, with no hesitation, offering to stand in for me and present the prepared summary. I appreciated her willingness to pinch hit, her understanding of me, and her initiative to keep the momentum moving to ensure data review and use in our recruitment and admissions. THANK YOU JADA! I appreciate you so much!

Holly Monger 4/26/2023 --  Nominated by Elise Nicewick

Holly Monger has been extremely integral in quick reaction and training new Health System members as well as quickly volunteering to come to fit testing events to help out when she can. She also stayed late to help out.

Suzanna Levey 4/26/2023 --  Nominated by Felicia Harris

Suzanna has gone above and beyond to assist her new team members with pre-award duties. Recently, there were a lot of NIJ grant proposal submissions going in with dual deadlines which complicated the process. Not only did Suzanna schedule multiple meetings with her new team members to show them the process, she continued to check in with them to stay on top of the deadlines and guided them on what to do for the next steps. She also assisted when some of her team members had issues with the web based sponsor portal. Suzanna even took the initiative when a PI didn't route their proposal in enough time to meet the grants.gov deadline for her NIJ proposal; Suzanna suggested to the PI to rework their proposal and submit to a similar grant announcement. Suzanna's quick thinking averted a potential dire situation. Her hard work and expertise not only makes her an asset to the CHS-SPO team, but to CHS as a whole. Thank you, Suzanna, for all that you do!!! The team is extremely grateful to have you!!! Keep up the good work!

2023 Recognitions

Felicia Harris 1/2/2023 --  Nominated by Elizabeth Fortune

Over the winter break, our primary federal sponsor submitted a request for documentation with a nearly impossible deadline. Ms. Harris was able to actively manage the JIT process in an organized and effective manner, working work effectively with Office of Sponsored Programs Special Teams, SOM Research Administration and all the named key faculty participants throughout the process, all while keeping the Principal Investigator and me fully informed. With her help and unwavering commitment, we were able to make that deadline, which will hopefully secure the next stage of grant funding for our Center.

Diane Bowman 1/10/2023 --  Nominated by Chuck Alexander

Diane sets the example for responsive and respectful administration, especially at the beginning and end of each semester. Her patience with multiple demands for course registration is unparalleled and I am so grateful and privileged to work with her. When I commit an oversight with course registration, she helps fix the issue in a timely manner. Ultimately, her acumen helps me deliver the best possible course content for our learners, enriching their learning experience. Diane deserves to be recognized for her hard work.

Andy Kollmer 1/10/2023 --  Nominated by Rochelle Jordan

I reached out to Andy for guidance on the purchase and set up of an Apple computer for a faculty member transitioning from his unit (school of Business) to mine (Graduate School). Dealing with Apple computers was new to me and Andy went above and beyond to walk me through the basics. He provided product information and specifications so that I could recreate a similar computer set up for our interim dean. Andy's responsiveness and thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated and helped me navigate an area that I was unfamiliar with.

Sonja Johnson-Blaziak 1/13/2022 --  Nominated by Chuck Alexander

Sonja sets the example for responsive and respectful administration, especially at the beginning and end of each semester. Their patience with multiple demands for course registration is unparalleled and I am so grateful and privileged to work with them. Ultimately, her acumen helps me deliver the best possible course content for our learners, enriching their learning experience. Sonja deserves to be recognized for her hard work in service to our learners.

Evan French 1/14/2023 --  Nominated by Alex Krist

Evan has taken over providing data analyses of the All-Payer Claims Database for researchers at VCU. We have long had a backlog of requests and not been able to provide the data needed in a timely manner to research. Evan has done an amazing job of learning to do APCD queries. He is amazingly responsive and able to deliver accurate and complete data in a timely manner that is super responsive to requests. Evan is leading and coordinating others in doing this work. He is an invaluable team member and resource for the Wright Center, VCU, and our broad public health efforts. His work is making a difference and helping many people.

Gaby Villalobos 1/16/2023 --  Nominated by Alex Krist

For the past three years, Gaby has led a statewide initiative to provide primary care practices facilitation and support for screening and counseling for unhealthy alcohol use. This study started with the pandemic, which made this a tremendously difficult task.  Gaby successfully recruited 60% to 300% more practices than the other 5 national grantees also funded to do this work. We just submitted a paper to JCATS on how the recruitment strategy we used created an equitable and inclusive study population and highlighted how innovative our approach and methodology was.  These successes are due to Gaby's hard work, responsiveness, and persistence. She is a critical team member and we could not do the work we do without Gaby.

Felicia Harris 1/25/2023 --  Nominated by Amanda Kain

Felicia, my current supervisor, has taken a new position within another department at VCU. In her last couple weeks with us, she has worked diligently to make sure her team is left with all knowledge necessary to fill in the gaps once she is gone. This includes working overtime, after hours, to put together a list of duties for us all moving forward so we know exactly what will be expected. Felicia has been meeting with us, almost daily, to teach us what we need to know and to make sure we are comfortable with the additions to our current job duties. Not only has she been meeting with us one on one, but she has taken us under her wings to other meetings so we can get a glimpse of how things will work when she is gone. Felicia has left no stone unturned in getting us prepared. She has gone above and beyond to make sure we feel valued, even as she prepares to take on a bigger role herself. Personally, I would not be where I am today without Felicia's guidance and persistence in getting the best out of me.

Caimdyn Stewart 1/26/2023 --  Nominated by Donte Sharpe

I would like to recognize Caimdyn Stewart for being an incredible colleague in the School of Education. Caimdyn is not only knowledgeable when it comes to advising, but is also patient. She takes time to listen and support our students, as well as our team. She is always solution-focused and will take time to explain so we understand. I appreciate Caimdyn for the incredible work she has done and continues to do for our students and for our team.

Sandra Mazzoli 1/26/2023 --  Nominated by Donte Sharpe

I would like to recognize Sandra for being incredible and for her supporting our graduate students in the School of Education. Sandra not only has taken the time to answer any questions I may have regarding graduate student processes, but also help to walk me through those processes. I am fortunate to call Sandra a colleague and want to thank her for all of her help.

Tré Straughter 1/26/2023 --  Nominated by Donte Sharpe

I would like to recognize Tré Straughter for being an incredible person who is a true advocate for our students. I have had the honor of working alongside Tré for years in the Student Commons. He has always been not only supportive of the work I did with student organizations, but has always been and continues to be a listening ear for our students and others. Tré makes every role better and brings creativity to any team that is fortunate to have him as a part of. Tré, thank you for your continued contributions to student success.

Diane Bowman 1/27/2023 --  Nominated by Sonja M. Johnson-Blaziak

Diane continually provides excellent support to the School of Pharmacy - Admissions Office. I rely on her every semester to facilitate and troubleshoot PharmD student record issues; in addition to partnering with me to make sure our students are registered each semester. I know when I send a request to Diane, it will be handled in a timely and efficient manner. She is an asset to the VCU Community and in particular Records & Registration. Her overall value to the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success is immeasurable.