2016 Outstanding Employee Award Winners

Congratulations to this year's distinguished panel of Outstanding Award recipients:

picture of barbara arena-crandall

Barbara Arena-Crandall
Early Childhood Associate Teacher
Early Childhood CARES

Barabara exemplifies the UO community spirit each and every day as she delivers special education to children in need across Lane County. Barbara is an early childhood teacher with Early Childhood CARES.  Her leadership in the classroom is deeply valued.  One supporter said “she leads the team in a gentle way, taking input freely and achieving consensus and unified vision for how the classroom should run.”  Those who nominated Barbara for this award describe the challenges of her work as she provides critical development opportunities for preschoolers heavily impacted by autism spectrum disorder.  Her ability to adjust her teaching style and methodologies to the individual needs of each child is remarkable and admired by her coworkers.  Her classroom is described as “a living demonstration of best practice teaching strategies.” Barbara demonstrates in her work that the combination of technical expertise and interpersonal effectiveness delivers excellence on the job.

Craig Ashford

Craig Ashford
Assistant General Counsel and Interim Director
Office of General Counsel and
Purchasing and Contracting Services

Craig, who many know through the general counsel office, has embraced the meaning of leadership stepping into the interim director role in Purchasing and Contracting Services facilitating transformative change.  His recognition is unique in that his nomination was spearheaded by his colleagues in Purchasing and Contracting.  This is a genuine reflection of the qualities of leadership and community that Craig demonstrates in his work.  He is described as a servant leader who makes sure everyone has a seat at the table and is given a chance to speak.  This statement from one of his colleagues paints an excellent picture of Craig in action, “I have quite a bit of admiration for Craig’s ability to encourage creativity and problem solving from all members of the team.  He makes everyone feel included and respected.  While expecting our best and giving us tools and support to reach our best.”

alicia de gonzalez

Alicia De Gonzalez
Divisional Personnel and Budget Specialist for the Social Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

Alicia works day in and day out as a budget specialist in the College of Arts and Sciences.  She is considered a go-to person for the programs and department managers within CAS division of social sciences.  Her expertise both in her day-to-day work and the various committees across campus she has served on is sought out and valued.  Alicia is described as the herder of all cat herders; it is her disposition that sets her apart and deeply impacts those around her.  One supporter said “No matter how busy she is, she always has a minute and a smile for the people she works with and supports.”  Another offered this, “Alicia has an incredible work ethic and high standards, which she expects of others around her.  But she is also someone who everyone likes and enjoys in the office because of her good humor, easy going personality, and willingness to help with any task.” 

rebecca flynn

Rebecca Flynn
Co-Director
Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics

Rebecca received high accolades from her nominators and supporters.  Rebecca is described as an energetic, creative and enormously competent leader who has helped make the Wayne Morris Center for Law and Politics one of UO’s most dynamic and respected programs. 

zudegi giordano

Zudegi Giordano
Office Coordinator
Planning, Public Policy and Management

Zudegi is the office coordinator for Planning, Public Policy and Management.  Her work is broadly recognized as impeccable and thorough, but it is her presence and devotion to every individual who crosses her path that leaves a lasting impression on those around her.  One of her many cheerleaders said, “She considers no issue, problem, or concern as being too little or unimportant and is focused on promoting opportunity for all students.”  In fact, students often describe leaving interactions with her feeling empowered and call them Zudegi-moments.  She has a unique ability to connect with students, faculty and staff providing critical support and expertise while also making each person feel important. 

amy harter

Amy Harter
Academic Programs Assistant
Department of Education Studies

Amy is an academic program assistant in the department of education studies.  She is revered in her department for her dependability, hard work, and boundless support of the graduate students in the program.  Her innovation developed data retrieval method for the program staff to target specific students into scholarship recommendations and other university opportunities.  This has resulted in increased funding and resources for well over half of the students in the program.  One of her colleagues shared, “Amy works tirelessly for our program.  I’m not sure she knows another way to be.  I often feel she is the glue that holds it all together.  I have so much respect and appreciation for her.  There is no one more deserving of this award.”

suzie heilman

Suzie Heilman
Housing and Homestay Coordinator
American English Institute

Suzie is recognized as an outstanding employee in large part because of the successful home stay program she has helped build in American English Institute.  Research has shown that international students often have difficulty acculturating and building relationships outside of their own cultural groups, which can impact student success.  The attention to detail and deep care Suzie gives to connecting students with host families lessens the challenges AEI students encounter and assists them with becoming a part of the campus and local community, which improves their overall success.  Suzie is described as the ultimate matchmaker as she gleans information from students and host families to create connection.  While her expertise with recruiting and screening is duly noted, Suzie brings a level of kindness and professionalism that defines the home stay program at AEI.

karyn kaplan

Karyn Kaplan
Zero Waste Program Manager
Campus Operations

Karyn works tirelessly across campus, leading hundreds of student employees over the years, to promote recycling and deliver on our university value of sustainable living.  One of her champions says, “The Zero Waste program and its contributions to the mission of the university would not be what it is today had it not been for Karyn’s commitment and passion for making a difference in the world and in people’s lives.”  Karyn is a regarded as an expert in her field, and her work is being modeled at a number of universities around the country and across the globe.  To quote another supporter,  “Her passion for her mission is greatly inspiring, she sticks with it, firmly grounded ethically in the reasons to recycle.” The program Karyn leads is diverting 59% of the universities waste to reuse, recycle or waste reduction on campus. 

nick mahlum

Nick Mahlum
Office Specialist 2
Department of History

Nick serves graciously as the face of the Department of History sitting front and center in the department’s main office. Nick is a master of promoting inclusivity among the office staff.  He greets every person who walks through the door with a smile and a genuine, ‘Hello, how are you?’” Nick models consistency, dependability and approachability as he goes about his work, but it is the effort he makes going above and beyond wearing many hats as he supports faculty, students and staff.  He remains cheerful, approachable and helpful even under stress.  One Nick supporter echoed the sentiments of being by saying “Nick is always on the ball and someone we all want in our corner.”

beth roy

Beth Roy
Executive Administrative Assistant
Art Department

Beth Roy as the Executive Administrative Assistant, "the center of everything," is integrally involved in every aspect of the Art Department. It is the mix of her professionalism and personal connection that makes her one of the department’s most valuable assets.  Her contributions are evident in the department’s work product as described by one supporter, “Beth consistently provides support that goes above and beyond what is expected in order to not only make a project happen but improve how it happens so that it can be even better next time.  She works as an intermediary between faculty and staff paving a smooth pathway for community connections to flourish.”  In Beth’s nominations materials, she was paid one of the highest compliments.  Beth is described as “good keeper of a respectful workplace.” 

karyn schultz

Karyn Schultz
Administrative Program Assistant
American English Institute

Karyn works diligently to make the international students enrolled in AEI feel welcome and at home.  She bridges the physical distance between the various parts of AEI endlessly striving to share information and facilitate communication.  One supporter wrote, “She strives for excellence in everything she does and is a great encouragement to others to do the same.”  Karyn’s commitment to doing whatever it takes to get the job done is recognized and admired by those around her.  Her contributions are best summed by this statement shared by another supporter, “She is always professional, eager to solve problems with a win-win solution and seeks the ethical decision when making decisions.”

leslie stephenson

Leslie Stephenson
Coordinator of Finance and Operations
College of Education

Leslie is the Coordinator of Finance and Operations for Counseling Psychology and Human Services.  She is recognized for outstanding work in a complex environment. The faculty consistently report that she is creative and intelligent in her problem solving strategies, gracious in her attempts to help students, staff and faculty and she is always friendly and positive.  One of Leslie’s many supporters says, “In her work and professional interactions, she embodies excellence, critical thinking, sound reasoning, ethical decision making, and strong leadership skills.”  Above and beyond Leslie’s demonstrated knowledge and skill, her supporters indicate that she brings her sense of humor to her work, which allows everyone she works with to feel more positive about the work environment.

cynthia stockwell

Cynthia Stockwell
Office Manager/Project Manager
Department of Comparative Literature

Cynthia strives to build community between graduate and undergraduates students in the Comparative Literature Department through her development of a mentorship program.  She wears many hats as an Office Manager and Project manager and is described by her colleagues as one of the most committed people to the mission of the public university they know.  Cynthia has brought technical expertise to the department’s work making meaningful impact through numerous projects.  While valued for her boundless knowledge and commitment to education, Cynthia is also recognized for her leadership.  Her supporters say that she is a gracious and tireless leader who leads by example.  This quote really captures who Cynthia is and what she brings to the university, “Cynthia has chosen to devote her considerable gifts—her intelligence, her mental agility, her capability, her strength of character, and her patience—to fostering the life of the mind.”