Tag Archives: Employee Recognition

October Employee of the Month

img_3008-copyCongratulations to October Employee of the Month, Melanie Huffman!

Huffman is the fiscal coordinator in the Department of Biochemistry and had multiple nominators including Glenda Gillaspy, Karen Dove, and other members of the departmental office.

“In a nutshell, she helps us to accomplish more in a challenging funding environment,” said Gillaspy. “This involves managing our sponsored program accounts of more than $4 million a year, and numerous departmental accounts and purchases for faculty labs. She is a greatly respected member of our department who goes above and beyond to provide assistance with the many daily fiscal transactions necessary for the department to operate successfully.”

Her nominators called Huffman’s work ethic “exceptional.” Huffman provides valuable assistance to others within the department office calculating salaries, fringes, and figuring remaining balances on various accounts and sponsored projects in order to help faculty facilitate daily financial decisions. She makes herself available to help others figure out the best solution to many different challenging situations.We value her commitment to delivering excellent accountability in our fiscal office and being adaptable and flexible in working towards the goals of our department and individual research programs.

“Under her guidance, our fiscal operations run smoothly and efficiently.
We all appreciate the opportunity to work with her as her professional manner, coupled with her sense of humor, make her an absolute pleasure to have in the departmental office,” Gillaspy said.

Past winners include:

  • September 2016- Dumitru Branisteanu, field research technician  from the Department of Biological Systems Engineering
  • August 2016- April Mays, administrative assistant from Page County Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • July 2016- Chris Ellke, agricultural specialist, Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center
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August employee of the month – April Mays

Congratulations to the August Employee of the Month – April Mays – administrative assistant from Page County Virginia Cooperative Extension!

April’s nominator  praised her work ethic and attitude saying, “April goes above and beyond her duties on a daily basis. She has been with Extension over 20 years and has a work ethic like no other. She is always willing to help others and answer calls from other units without hesitation. Recently she has been traveling to another unit to help out and get things back in order due to the death of colleague. She is always a step ahead with planning and preparing for upcoming programs and events. She is a true inspiration to work with a model employee of Extension.”

Another nominator added:
“A neighboring county lost their unit administrative assistant very unexpectedly in the fall of 2015, April Mays was asked to help with the finances until a replacement could be hired. Taking on this task was in addition to her normal responsibilities in the office. She has worked diligently over the past few months to reconcile reports and get the finances in order for the new hire. April is even assisting with training the new support staff member and is serving as her mentor. April is known in our district as a “go-to” person. Wimage004hen other unit administrative assistants have questions they often seek April’s guidance.
April is a great team player that is very committed to Virginia Cooperative Extension. She is a hardworking, caring, one-of-a-kind employee and very worthy of this recognition! ”

As the August Employee of the Month, April received a plaque, gifts from the college, has her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, will be featured in an article in Insights and will be eligible to be considered for the 2016-17 Employee of the Year award.

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Congratulations to Gamma Sigma Delta award winners

The honor society of agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta, recently held its Initiation and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 19, and presented their awards to the following people. Congratulations to all our award winners!

Undergraduate awards

  • Junior: Samantha Wilson
  • Senior: Woong Sik Shin
  • Agricultural Technology: Junior Beauvais

Graduate Dissertation award: Neelam Redekar

This award is given to an outstanding graduate student completing the Ph.D. requirements in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Natural Resources and Environment, or the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine within the last 18 months.

In August 2015, Redekar successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences under the direction of Saghai Maroof. In addition to her dissertation, Redekar has been first author on two refereed journal papers, co-authored a third paper, and has two more under preparation.

Redekar is currently serving as a postdoctoral research associate in the soybean genomics program.

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Karen Barnhart – April Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the April Employee of the Month – Karen Barnhart! She is the human resources and benefits administrative assistant in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Human Resources office.   

Pictured left to right: Patsy Neice, Karen Barnhart and Dean Alan Grant

Pictured left to right: Patsy Neice, Karen Barnhart and Dean Alan Grant

Barnhart’s nominators praised her work ethic and attitude saying she “is always cheery and helpful. If she does not have an answer for you, she will find out and get back with you. She stays current on personnel updates in the university and is always willing to explain if necessary to the departmental HR staff.”

Barnhart has even sent email notices to the departments to let them know about research extended appointments and PeopleAdmin training sessions (to name a couple) being available and where to register for the classes.

As the April Employee of the Month, she received a plaque and gifts from the college, has her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

Other 2015-2016 Employee of the Month Award Recipients include:

  • March – David Dunaway, agricultural technician, Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • February – Cynthia Beatty, scholarship coordinator, CALS Office of Academic Programs
  • January – Stephanie Slocum, Dean’s office support specialist, CALS Administration
  • December– Jeff Burr, greenhouse manager, Department of Horticulture
  • November – Robin Williams, federal project coordinator, CALS Research
  • October – John Mason, research specialist senior, Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • September- Denise Dodd, database specialist, Department of Entomology
  • August- Ryan Mays, research specialist, Department of Entomology
  • July- Sammi Kent, unit administrative assistant, Greensville/Emporia Virginia Cooperative Extension office
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Years of service award winners recognized

A number of our outstanding faculty and staff members were recently recognized for their many years at Virginia Tech at the 2016 Annual Service Recognition Program.

Ann Hutchens is one of those on the list, and she has been in the college for 45 years. Hutchens’ first job here was with Virginia Cooperative Extension in the Chemical, Drug, and Pesticide Unit, in what was then called the Extension Division. She has held different titles over the years and is currently a program support technician.

Hutchens has worked in each of the three mission areas – Extension, academics, and research. She has seen office technology evolve from the earliest version of an electronic typewriter, mimeograph machines, and dictation machines bigger than iPads, to how things are today where everyone has their own phone line and there are photocopy machines instead of the mimeographs.

While she has been involved in many aspects of the college, she really enjoys her current work in Latham Hall and working so closely with the research area. Hutchens enjoys being able to see what students and researchers are working on in the lab and how it will be used in the future. 

More than 780 employees were recognized earlier this year with over 13,890 years of service to Virginia Tech. We thank everyone who was recognized at the program for their hard work and dedication over all these years. 

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Alexander Niemiera receives William E. Wine award for teaching excellence

Alex NiemieraAlexander X. Niemiera, professor for the Department of Horticulture and assistant dean of student programs in the college, has received the university’s 2016 William E. Wine Award.

The William E. Wine Award was established in 1957 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association in memory of William E. Wine, Class of 1904, who was a former rector of the Board of Visitors and Alumni Association president. Following a college-level selection process of candidates nominated by students, faculty, and alumni, each college may put forth one nominee. From this group, three faculty members are selected annually. Each Wine Award winner receives $2,000 and automatic induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.

In addition to teaching  five routine courses per year, Niemiera has taught seven other courses for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He consistently receives above average SPOT evaluation scores from students who often describe his dedication to his students and the material.

See the full story on Virginia Tech News.

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Calling all award winners

The Office of Communications and Marketing will again this year produce a brochure acknowledging the awards and recognitions received by the employees of the college and Virginia Cooperative Extension. The brochure will be distributed at the Annual Faculty and Staff Picnic on August 10, 2016.

Representatives for each department and district will soon receive an email with specifics and a deadline for submission, but now would be a great time for staff and faculty members to start gathering the information we need.

Please list only those awards received during the period of July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016.

We need the following info about each award:

  1. Full name of the employee. If it is a team award, include the names of all team members.
  2. Employee’s department (CALS) or district (VCE).
  3. Complete name of award. If applicable, include whether it is a district, state, regional, national, or international award.
  4. If it is a calendar year award, is the award for 2015 or 2016?
  5. Full name of awarding organization or agency.
  6. The date the award was received (not when it was announced).

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Bobbi Hoffman.

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Theodore Ellmore receives Staff Career Achievement Award

Theodore EllmoreTheodore Ellmore, retired programmer in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, has received the university’s 2016 Staff Career Achievement Award.

Ellmore retired from the university in February 2015 after 43 years of service.

Created in 2011 to recognize retiring staff members, the Staff Career Achievement Award is presented annually to as many as five individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary performance and service during their university careers. Nominees must have worked a minimum of 10 years at Virginia Tech. Each recipient is awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

Ellmore began as a laboratory and research technician, running various assays on forage materials, but was a man of many talents. As the university moved into the technological world, Ellmore became a self-taught computer technician, which resulted in his role changing to information technology specialist. He served as the department communications and network liaisons, webmaster, and photographer.

See the full story on Virginia Tech News.

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Nada Tamim receives Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising

Nada TamimNada Tamim, director of undergraduate programs for the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, has received the university’s 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising.

Established by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising is presented annually by the Office of the Provost to a Virginia Tech faculty member who has been particularly dedicated and effective while advising undergraduate students. Recipients may be nominated by university colleagues or students, are selected by a committee of former award winners, receive a $2,000 prize, and are inducted into the university’s Academy of Advising Excellence.

“Nada Tamim is an outstanding and gifted undergraduate advisor,” wrote David Gerrard, professor and head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences. “She has a commitment to excellence and expects her advisees to adopt this approach to education. Through our undergraduate advising office, the classroom and a number of informal settings, Nada exudes a positive attitude and helps students reach their dreams.”

See the full story on Virginia Tech News.

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Call for nominations for Andy Swiger Award

The CALS Andy Swiger Land-Grant Award recognizes faculty whose creative accomplishments help fulfill the Land-Grant mission of addressing state and national needs through teaching, research, and extension.

This award is made possible by an endowment established in honor of former Dean Andy Swiger. The award includes $2,000, plus an additional $2,000 in operating funds for the winner.

All full- and part-time, regular and restricted appointments, academic- and calendar-year faculty with teaching, research, or Extension appointments (including Extension agents) in the college are eligible.

A committee of faculty and agribusiness representatives will review nominations. The winner will be selected based on his or her creative accomplishments and impacts.

Nomination Guidelines

Please include a copy of the nominee’s CV. The nomination letter should be no more than five pages and include a:

  • Description of the nominee’s activities that emphasizes creative accomplishments in applied or basic research, teaching, and extension.
  • Description of the impact that the nominee has made toward solving practical problems and how this impact has enhanced production and profit in the industry.
  • Clear identification of the time period and who has benefited from the nominee’s accomplishments.
  • Short summary of the nominee’s education, experience, and responsibilities.

Colleagues, department heads, staff, or members of the community who are familiar with the nominee’s work are encouraged to submit nomination letters. You can resubmit an updated nomination letter for a previous year’s nominee.

A certificate will be presented to the selected individual. The award winner will be recognized during the CALS faculty and staff picnic in early August.

Each nominee will be considered by the award committee for two additional years, if not selected the first year of consideration, for a total of three years.

Please send a copy of the CV and nomination letter and direct questions to Robin Williams. All nominations must be received by June 3, 2016.

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