Staff, Groups Honored for Outstanding Student Support

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Numerous employees and groups running critical programs have been recognized by the Division of Student Affairs for their contributions to student life at the University of Connecticut.

The awards were announced at the division’s annual Student Affairs Recognition Program in the Student Union Ballroom. Those honored included the following.

Assessment Award: UConn Recreation

This award is presented to an individual or group that demonstrates a commitment to using assessment to inform practice, improve services, or enhance the student experience.

Diversity Award: Phillip Coontz, Residential Life

This award is presented to an individual or group that demonstrates a commitment to services and/or programs that promote a spirit of pluralism and help build an environment of inclusivity.

Employee of the Year: Claudia Arias-Cirinna, Residential Life

This award is the Division’s highest honor and recognizes the employee who best exemplifies excellence in one or more of the Division of Student Affairs’ guiding principles: collaboration, credibility, and confidence, through competence, initiative, integrity, reliability, and excellent service.

Graduate Student Award of Excellence: Brianna Gavigan, Student Activities

This award recognizes a graduate student who has gone above and beyond expectations or honors a special, unique, or extraordinary effort s/he has made within an assistantship or position. He or she demonstrates strengths in areas such as instruction, advising and assisting students, research and creative activity, outreach and/or service to the University, community, and/or profession.

Husky School Spirit Award: Irene Benza, Student Health and Wellness

This award recognizes the individual or group who best exemplifies the true “Husky” spirit of the University, the division, and the community through positive attitude, acts of University loyalty, teamwork, creativity, and cooperation.

Innovation Award: CreateAT team, Center for Students with Disabilities; Padma Srimatkandada, Student Affairs Information Technology

This award honors an individual or group of individuals whose innovative ideas, products, or services have created significant change for students, the Division of Student Affairs, or the University.

Outstanding New Staff Award: Kymberly Hendricks, Residential Life

This award is presented to a staff member with less than two years of service within the Division who has demonstrated exemplary performance promoting/addressing the mission, guiding principles, and critical issues of the Division of Student Affairs. This individual is one who has exemplified quality work and has made a significant impact on campus life, developed outstanding relationships with students, demonstrated leadership through a willingness to help others, and developed strong working relationships through collaboration with other departments in the Division.

Students First Award: Ashlee Stone, Student Health and Wellness; Shannon Schmeding, Residential Life

This award recognizes special, unique, or extraordinary efforts on behalf of students that reflect the Division’s motto, “Students First.”

 Gerald N. Weller Award: Michael Kirk, Office of the President and University Communications

The Gerald N. Weller Award recognizes individuals in the UConn community beyond the Division of Student Affairs who serve students and support the efforts of the Division in the true spirit exemplified by Gerry Weller, director of Dining Services at the University from 1981 to 2005. Weller was professional, caring, generous of spirit, and embodied a sincere commitment to service and always putting students first.

The 3C Award: Accommodations Team, Center for Students with Disabilities; Valerie Puffet-Michel, Student Affairs Information Technology; Michael Roberson, Student Affairs Information Technology

This award recognizes the guiding principles of collaboration, communication, and community, and is presented to an individual, group, department, or committee in Student Affairs that best exemplifies the notion of being a “team player.” The recipients work to create, support, or strengthen an environment of collaboration, communication, community, encouragement, and understanding across the Division.