Congratulations Employees of the 2nd Quarter

Congratulations Employees of the 2nd Quarter
University Relations

The U of A Staff Senate is thrilled to announce and celebrate the exceptional contributions of five outstanding employees who have been named the Employees of the 2nd Quarter for the academic year 2023-2024. These individuals have demonstrated unparalleled dedication, excellence and commitment to the university's mission, leaving an undeniable mark on the campus community.

Winners of the 2nd Quarter are:

Category I - Professional/Non-Faculty - Academic
Jill Geisler-Wheeler, associate director of Fulbright Honors Studies
Wheeler has excelled particularly in grant and fellowship administration, where she has equitably managed Sturgis fellowships and provided invaluable mentorship to fellows, enhancing their academic and post-graduate success. In program administration, Wheeler's leadership has streamlined processes, maintained fiscal responsibility and fostered national recognition for the program. Furthermore, her person-centered advising approach supports nearly 350 first-year honors students, providing them with holistic guidance that extends beyond academic planning.

Category I - Professional/Non-Faculty - Administrative 
Cecilee Essary, associate director for On-Campus Student Employment, Career Services
Since joining Career Services in July 2023, Essary has quickly become integral to enhancing student employment on campus, gathering data from multiple stakeholders to centralize job advertising—a move that promises to revolutionize the on-campus hiring and work experience. Stepping up to lead the Career Studio, she has adeptly linked on-campus employment with career development, supervising student peer mentors to equip students for future careers. 

Category II - Secretarial/Clerical  
Lauren Denny, administrative specialist III, International Students & Scholars
Along with her engaging presence and delivering customer service that enhances the experiences of international students, scholars and supporters, Denny's initiatives, such as efficient visa document processing and improved communication systems, reflect her commitment to excellence and efficiency. With a degree in graphic design, her expertise has notably elevated the office's promotional materials, as demonstrated by her acclaimed designs for International Education Week, and her voluntary roles in scholarship application processing and office organization further highlight her multifaceted contributions.

Category III - Technical/Paraprofessional 
Nick Salonen, information security manager, UITS Cybersecurity
Salonen has made an exceptional impact as information security manager, proactively leading significant cybersecurity initiatives and consistently exceeding his role's responsibilities. His collaborative spirit and technical expertise are not only vital in handling security challenges, such as incident response and implementing critical policies like multi-factor authentication, but also in assisting with projects outside of his direct security responsibilities. Colleagues across the university laud his willingness to serve, deep knowledge and tireless effort, highlighting his value as both a security expert and a dedicated member in the university's IT community for 21 years.

Category IV - Skilled/Service/Maintenance  
Justin Mazzanti, building specialist, GLBL Technology Support
Showing exceptional versatility and dedication in his role, Mazzanti's recent accomplishments include adeptly managing an extensive legislative asset inventory update, ensuring readiness for annual asset scanning, coordinating ADA door upgrades and handling emergency situations like graffiti with prompt and professional action. His willingness to embrace additional responsibilities, coupled with his readiness to step in during critical situations, has helped the assurance of smooth operation of the Global Campus facilities.

Staff Senate commends these individuals for their exceptional performance and positive influence on the U of A community. Each awardee will receive a monetary award and will be recognized at the next Staff Celebration.

Nominees who are not selected in the quarter for which they are originally nominated will remain on the ballot for consideration through the fourth quarter of 2023-2024. The deadline to nominate a staff member for Employee of the 3rd Quarter is April 15, 2024. For more information about the Employee of the Quarter program, please visit the Staff Senate website.

About Staff Senate:  Created in 1976 by Board of Trustees Policy 810.1, Staff Senate and its elected senators have the responsibility of making recommendations to university leadership on any matter of staff concern, including quality of work life, the efficiency of operations, and staff service to the campus community. Staff Senate advocates in the areas of compensation, working conditions, health and wellness, fringe benefits, safety, parking, and other workplace issues. In addition, Senate works to celebrate, recognize, and give back to staff through programs such as Employees of the Quarter & Year, awards for Staff Team and Part-Time Employee of the Year, Staff Appreciation Week, the annual Staff Appreciation Picnic, Staff Senate Scholarships, and RazorGifts. 

Monthly meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month from 3-4:30pm and are open to the public both in-person and virtually.  Meeting details, lists of sitting Senators, and additional information can be found at the Staff Senate website.



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