10 honored with Chancellor’s Staff Awards

The recently announced 2018-19 Chancellor’s Staff Awards honor 10 Pitt staff members for their service to the University.

The awards are open to full- and part-time employees, both classified and union, who demonstrate the highest level of achievement in one of 10 categories: student impact, research support, innovation in advancing administrative and operational efficiency; University engagement; community engagement; outstanding career achievement; exceptional early career achievement; commitment to diversity and inclusion; excellent mentor; and service to the University community.

Recipients receive $2,500 and recognition on a plaque displayed in the William Pitt Union. A ceremony to honor the recipients will be held at a later date.

The awards were last given out in December 2017. The 2018-19 winners:

Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion: Karen J. Steffey, assistant to the chair of the Department of Computer Science, School of Computing & Information

The selection committee pointed out all the ways Steffey has “worked to ensure your department and school embody the University’s efforts to make diversity and inclusion core values of our community.” Specific actions cited included: working with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to streamline EEOC submission forms; ensuring diversity of student employees; and visiting low-performing Pittsburgh Public Schools to recruit students into the program.

Community Engagement: Noelle C. Conover, project coordinator, School of Medicine

Conover’s work to support childhood cancer patients and their families was given special attention by the committee. The award letter says: “The loss of your son, Matt, inspired you to help others as a volunteer in the community and as an employee of the University in the Survivor Connect Program.” Her work has included establishing several funds and programs, including Matt’s Media for Kids with Cancer Fund, Matt’s Maker Space and Matt’s Hugs. She also has volunteered at several other related events.

Excellent Mentor: Lauren O. Wallace, director of undergraduate recruitment, Office of Admissions & Financial Aid

The award letter reads: “It is very important that the members of OAFA are able to make a strong first impression on young people making one of the most important decisions in their lives. You have played an important role in nurturing, encouraging and assisting members of OAFA to develop the skills they need to meet the challenge. … You have also played an important role in developing new methods of outreach to encourage students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools to pursue higher education, including the creation of the Pittsburgh Admissions Collaboration.”

Early Career Achievement: Nazir Noori, program manager, Study Abroad Office

The award letter reads: “You have exhibited extraordinary personal and professional growth since coming to the United States and to the University. The committee noted the tremendous sacrifice you made as an Afghan citizen working for the United States government. You arrived in Pittsburgh and joined the ‘temp pool’ at the University. In less than five years, you moved from a temporary worker assigned to the reception desk in the Study Abroad Office to being hired as a full-time employee and receiving three promotions in four years and now serve as program manager.” Noori also completed his undergraduate studies at Pitt and is working on a master’s degree.

Research Support: Peter G. Chambers, director of Shared Research Support Services, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences

Chambers is the founding director of the Shared Research Support Services that merged a number of research support facilities into a central office, while ensuring there was no disruption in the University’s research efforts. He also developed a website suite to provide faculty with knowledge of available resources across the school.

Administrative & Operational Efficiency: Brice Everett Lynn, assistant director, Study Abroad Office

The award letter cites several areas Lynn improved efficiencies including: Implementing a paperless Study Abroad application process, redesigning the Study Abroad print materials, and implementing a new version of the Pitt Study Abroad website in include smarter search tools for students.

Outstanding Career Achievement: Denise Doswell, executive assistant, Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Business & Operations

The award letter reads: “Over the course of your career at the University, you progressed into positions of increasing responsibility, including your current position as executive assistant to the senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations. Your deep knowledge of that office was instrumental to the continued successful operations of that division following the retirement of the long-serving executive vice chancellor.”

Service to the University Community: Maureen M. Conrad, assistant to the chief of police, Pitt Police Department

The award letter reads: “You are uniquely qualified to receive this honor, as a proud daughter of Oakland, former member of the Office of Property Management, and as a current member of the University Police Department. In all those roles, you have worked to ensure that our campus and the Oakland neighborhood provide a safe and welcoming environment for every member of the community.

“However, it was your most recent service with the University Police Department that most impressed the selection committee. As described by Graham Park, director of the Office of Special Events, when a gunman burst into the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, you were at the ready, conveying information to the chief who was out of town and launching a command call center to assist callers concerned about their colleagues and loved ones. At the same time, the University community was also dealing with a series of bomb threats; once again, you maintained a calm resolve that was necessary to keep the administrative operations of the University Police Department running smoothly as the department worked to ensure the safety of the University community.”

Student Impact: Dana C. Romano, associate director of career management, Katz Graduate School of Business

The selection committee cited Romano’s work on one of the University’s strategic goals to prepare students to lead lives of impact through a supportive environment, focused on an individualized approach to learning. “You have contributed to this goal through the personalized touch you bring to working with individual students and the innovative programs you have developed, such as Healthcare 101 and Katz Boot Camp.”

University Engagement: Stacey L. Czerniejewski, executive assistant, Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer

The award letter reads: “For two decades, you have organized and handled all aspects of the Salvation Army’s Treasures for Children project in the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer. Your efforts are just extraordinary — from advertising to your colleagues around the University that gifts are needed, distributing name tags and ensuring that the gifts are turned in and distributed. … You have also extended your efforts by serving as your department’s United Way representative, gently encouraging and reminding your colleagues to remember those less fortunate. … You also worked to organize the recent Re-Gift and Thrift Sale to support the United Way. … However, first and foremost, the committee recognized the impact you had on ensuring your fellow staff members were recognized for their efforts through your work on the selection committee for the Chancellor’s Staff Awards.