MSU Celebrates 2021 Award Winners!

This year we are celebrating staff from around Michigan State for their hard work and dedication to our University and their craft by awarding the annual Retirement and Service Recognition, the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award and the Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award! The University acknowledges and thanks all our wonderful support staff, especially during this past year.

MSU Retirement and Service Recognition

The MSU Retirement and Service Recognition recognizes support staff employees celebrating long-term service work anniversaries of 15+ years, as well as employees who have recently retired within the last fiscal year. This year, we recognize over 700 employees celebrating long term work anniversaries and retirements. Thank you for your years of dedicated service to MSU! Click here to view a full list of those celebrating this year.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards

The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards honor six University support staff members annually. These individuals are nominated by their colleagues as demonstrating the qualities of Jack Breslin, who served MSU as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate, personifying the “Spartan Spirit.” Award honorees display overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to their unit and the University. This year’s awardees are:

Allyson Cole-Strauss

Cole-Strauss is a Research Assistant II in the department of Translational Neuroscience. She develops research methodology, runs experiments, and analyzes data for the lab. She was specifically nominated because of her dedication to keeping the university safe during COVID-19 through the creation of the COVID-19 Early Detection Program. Cole-Strauss’ colleagues had this to say about her:

“I have worked with Allyson for 15 years as her supervisor. Never have I had the privilege to work with a more dedicated, giving and capable scientist.”

“The contributions to the department, university, and community from Allyson Cole-Strauss go well above and beyond anybody’s reasonable expectations. Michigan State University is a much better place thanks to Allyson’s tireless efforts, both before and during the pandemic.”

Genevieve Cotrell

Cotrell is a Chemical Safety Officer in the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. She manages and directs all functions of safe work with chemicals across the University including the creation and delivery of emergency training to the campus community. She has also taken a leadership role in reopening the MSU campus by joining the COVID-19 reopening task force as the representative from her department. Cottrell’s colleagues had this to say about her:

“Genevieve is an excellent leader in the way she handles her team of employees with respect and acknowledges the importance of work-life balance. She understands the critical need for training and professional development as well as maintaining a two-way dialog so as not to overwork her crew. She even takes the time to sincerely inquire about our families and insists we take the time we need when we need it.”

“Genevieve is truly my greatest role model. As a young woman professional, Genevieve takes the time to help her employees gain knowledge, regardless of how chaotic her schedule might be. She gladly meets with her team each week to discuss any issue. Whether it takes fifteen minutes or three hours, Genevieve will always make time for those she cares about.”

Robert Goodwin

Goodwin is a Senior Geospatial Analyst in the Department of Geography. In the department, Goodwin authorizes outreach project proposals and budgets, is the lead trainer for workshops offered by the department, a regular consultant to the University and a manager of analysts, technicians, and developers. Goodwin’s colleagues had this to say about him:

“If Bob has ever asked himself if he made a difference in someone’s life, he no longer has to wonder. The way Bob communicates with his peers and clients is unlike anything I have seen. The experience I gain simply listening to him in a meeting cannot be measured. He is a true mentor and someone we can all learn a thing or two from.”

“I have had the distinct pleasure of being both a colleague and a supervisor for Bob Goodwin. At his core, Bob is an entrepreneur, critical thinker, and problem solver. Working at RS&GIS, a self-supporting research unit, these skills have been critical to the success of the organization’s research and outreach mission. He is always seeking continuous improvement and pushing an innovative spirit throughout the team.”

Peter Murray

Murray is a Systems Analyst II in the James Madison College. His job responsibilities include working as the director of facilities and technology, troubleshooting and coordinating technology and purchases, and overseeing the building repairs and maintenance. He also directly supervises student employees. Murray’s colleagues had this to say about him:

“Peter’s exceptional support intersects almost every functional area of our college. Beyond supporting the technology at JMC, more importantly, Peter supports the people at JMC. Peter is such an important part of our staff and I simply cannot imagine what our college would be like without him.”

“Peter is not someone to attract attention even if he stands out in a room while trying to stay hidden. He is a valuable asset to the College, and we would be worse off without him. When I mentioned his great work to a colleague across campus that person told me she was going to stop listening – in other words, encouraging me to stop talking – so that someone else wouldn’t try to steal him away from James Madison College.”

Aaron Walworth

Walworth is a Research Assistant III, also known as Laboratory Manager in the department of Packaging. His job includes responsibilities such as overseeing the packaging labs and classroom spaces and working with IPF to make sure maintenance is up to date. He also hires, trains and supervises undergraduate and graduate students and actively pursues professional development opportunities offered within and outside the university. Walworth’s colleagues had this to say about him:

“Aaron is an integral part of every graduate student’s academic life starting from the first day of graduate student orientation. He empowers student competence and learning through safety training and by offering guidance on best practices for conducting research. His genuine enthusiasm for science and commitment to helping everyone he comes across, allows him to easily connect with each student. He is always willing to take the time to astutely discuss each student’s research and how to tailor an approach based on the resources we have available.”

“Aaron Walworth is a tremendously important part of the School of Packaging, and hence MSU as a whole. We cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award.”

Kim Williams

Williams is an Office Assistant III in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Specifically, she is an account specialist on the Accounting and Research Team in the Dean’s Office. In her position, she handles travel, purchase orders, and operating statements for the Media and Information department and the School of Journalism. Williams’ colleagues had this to say about her:

“Whatever my question is, Kim will get the answer. Not only is she incredible at her job, she is also a pleasure to be around. Her sense of humor, and go-to attitude is truly [admirable]. No matter how stressful the assignment is, it is still a pleasure to work alongside Kim.”

“Her diligence when she encounters a problem to be solved is inspiring and she is always willing to walk the extra mile to get things done in a timely manner. Kim also possesses a great attention to detail, never letting anything go unnoticed.”

Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Ruth Jameyson, going “above and beyond” what is reasonably expected in supporting the mission of MSU. In recognition of Ms. Jameyson’s own pursuit of a graduate degree while working at MSU, the award recipient must be pursuing a graduate degree at MSU or elsewhere concurrent with their employment at MSU.

This year’s recipient is Kelly Feinberg. She is a Research Administrator II/S in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Feinberg is currently pursuing a graduate degree in strategic communication from MSU. Her colleagues have this to say about her:

“Ms. Feinberg is a natural born leader – showing true leadership where she is forward thinking but also completely aware of her colleagues. She leads by example and facilitates open discussion with her team, holding each other accountable every step of the way. Yet she does so with true concern for their quality of life and job fulfillment.”

“Ms. Feinberg is dedicated to supporting and advancing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) efforts in the College and among her peers. She participates in various initiatives focused on strengthening individual and collective commitments to anti-racism, social justice, and action within ComArtSci and elsewhere. She actively looks for ways to support and engage her peers and prioritizes their ideas, interests, and concerns as if they were her own.”

“I am proud to have the privilege of working alongside Ms. Feinberg. Observing how her contributions positively impact those around her, I often find myself in awe of her continued drive, motivation, and applied diplomacy. You have a worthy candidate in Ms. Feinberg whom, I expect, Ms. Jameyson would have likewise valued.”

The University would like to congratulate all award winners once again for their outstanding work. MSU would not be where it is today without the help of our incredible staff. We invite the colleagues and friends of these receipts to congratulate and appreciate these individuals so they continue to get the recognition they deserve.

MSU Celebrates 2020 Award Winners!

The University acknowledges and expresses its gratitude for both long-term support staff and support staff going “above and beyond” in their job performance. Each year, the University recognizes these individuals through the MSU Retirement and Service Recognition, Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards, and Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award.

MSU Retirement and Service Recognition

The MSU Retirement and Service Recognition recognizes support staff employees celebrating long-term service work anniversaries of 15+ years, as well as employees who have recently retired within the last fiscal year. This year we recognize 573 employees celebrating a long-term work anniversary and 188 employees retiring from the University. Thank you for your years of dedicated service to MSU! Click here to view a full list of those celebrating this year.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards

The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards honors six University support staff members annually. These individuals are nominated by their colleagues as demonstrating the qualities of Jack Breslin, who served MSU as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate, personifying the “Spartan Spirit.” Award honorees display overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to their unit and the University. This year’s awardees are:

Shannon Davis

Davis is an Administrative Associate in the Dean’s Office in the College of Social Science. She manages all aspects of the college’s Human Resources operations. Davis’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Shannon [is] one of [the College of Social Science]’s shining stars and the work product she provides is exceptional. Shannon is more than willing to provide support to anyone on our team and does so with a positive and collegial attitude.” 

“Those of us in the College of Social Science continue to be amazed at the consistent, appropriate and accurate work-product that Shannon provides. Even though she has a tremendously busy life outside of MSU, she seems to be able to adequately compartmentalize, and while at work, gives more than 110% to the College of Social Science. She does us all proud, and we are truly fortunate to have her.”

Theresa (Terry) Edwards

Edwards is a Secretary III in the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education. She provides direct support to the Department Chairperson, as well as support for departmental faculty, staff, students and visitors. Edwards’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Terry is an expert on academic triage and in performing her varied routine and ad hoc duties, she is skilled at not only managing her own priorities, but in managing the flood of issues she must field for others, whether the department chair or the myriad faculty and students that come to her for assistance or referral. We perform very well, in large part, due to Terry’s excellence.” 

“We truly believe Terry deserves this honor. In particular, at this challenging moment in MSU’s history, we believe it’s important to recognize community members who go out of their way to build relationships, make others feel safe and valued, and create workspaces that are humanizing as well as productive.” 

Todd Wilson

Wilson is a Planner/Inspector/Analyst II in Planning, Design and Construction for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. He manages capital construction projects for MSU and serves as the University’s liaison. Wilson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“One of Todd’s real joys about working at MSU is his ability to construct learning environments that forward the mission of MSU and offer spectacular facilities for faculty and students.” 

“Spartans Will (or…Spartans Wil-son in this case)!”

Robert (Bob) Patterson

Patterson is the Chief Financial Officer for Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS). He is responsible for the financial budgeting, financial management and overall viability of the financial success of all departments which make up RHS. Patterson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“Bob is a tireless advocate for students. For their overall experience and for the stewarding of resources that impact that experience.”

“I have never seen anyone so great at relating to people of all walks of life as Bob does. Bob tries to find common ground with everyone he meets.”

Maggie Chen-Hernandez

Chen-Hernandez is Student Services Coordinator in the Office of Cultural and Academic Transition. She is responsible for assessing and developing curriculum for the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience and Intercultural Aide Program, developing diversity, equity and inclusion training, and collaborating with academic affairs, faculty and students to implement student retention initiatives, among others. Chen-Hernandez’s colleagues had this to say about her: 

“In her close to 30 years of service, Maggie Chen-Hernandez has always and continues to go above and beyond what is expected of her because she deeply cares about the students she serves and wants them to feel a sense of belonging, and wants them to be successful both academically and socially.”

“Ms. Chen-Hernandez has made a great impact during her distinguished career at Michigan State University. The campus is a more inviting and inclusive community for students and staff due to her presence and service.”

Cindy Baswell

Baswell is the Bakery Manager for MSU Bakers. She is responsible for all aspects and operations of the unit. Baswell and her staff are responsible for almost all the fresh baked goods served on campus. Her colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Cindy truly cares about everything she does and puts the best interests of our students, guests and University as a whole in the forefront of her work.”

“Through her work at the bakery, Cindy has touched the lives of countless individuals; those with whom she works, student customers and other customers, and so many people throughout the community. Cindy leads her team to excellence in all they do, creating a culture of creativity, compassion, generosity, and strong ethics.”

Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Ruth Jameyson, going “above and beyond” what is reasonably expected in supporting the mission of MSU. In recognition of Ms. Jameyson’s own pursuit of a graduate degree while working at MSU, the award recipient must be pursuing a graduate degree at MSU or elsewhere concurrent with their employment at MSU.

This year’s recipient is Michelle Gunn Van Deuren. She is a Research Assistant II in the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Gunn Van Deuren is pursuing a graduate degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine from MSU. Her colleagues had this to say about her:

“She is a very intelligent young lady, who is extremely creative in getting each task of her job done efficiently. In order to maximize time efficiency, she took courses to learn complicated software for bookkeeping, accounting and visual arts and mastered them.”

“Ms. Van Deuren unequivocally is the hands down, standalone, single best embodiment of “Above and Beyond”. Truly, as I became aware of this award and was reading about Ms. Jameyson, I swore the authors were writing and describing Michelle herself. Professionalism, Michelle. Loyalty, Michelle. Kindness, Michelle! Strength, patience, ambassador, Michelle! Never daunted by workload, whether piles or mountains, and being uncannily stalwart, Michelle is a tremendous asset to my growing program.”

The University would like to congratulate all award winners once again for all of their outstanding work. MSU would be nowhere near where it is today without the help of our dedicated employees. During this time, we invite the colleagues of these award recipients to extend their congratulations and appreciation to these individuals so they may receive the recognition and thanks they so greatly deserve.

2019 Clerical-Technical Recognition Award Winner

The Clerical-Technical Recognition Award is presented annually to a Michigan State University support staff member performing clerical-technical duties. The recipient is selected from nominations received by the CT Recognition Award Selection Committee. The award is sponsored by the Thomas and Concettina Gliozzo Endowment Fund to recognize outstanding MSU clerical-technical employees.

This year’s winner is Thomi Chrisinske!

Thomi is a secretary for the Department of Communication where her she excels in her position providing leadership, technology, promotional, and human resource support to the department chair, faculty, graduate students, and staff. Exceeding the high expectations of her department, Thomi has been described as an essential component of the success of the Department of Communication. Chairing two standing departmental committees, the Equipment and Space Committee and the Social Media Committee, Thomi exemplifies great leadership by always striving to improve herself and the Department of Communication. With her dedication to the MSU community, Thomi consistently goes above and beyond to uplift those around her. Congratulations to Thomi!

Watch the video below to learn more about this year’s CT Award Winner, Thomi Chrisinske:

Nominate a deserving colleague for the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award

Do you work alongside someone who exemplifies overall excellence in their job and contributions to the MSU community? Give them the recognition they deserve by nominating them for the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award! This annual award is presented to six university support staff members selected by the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award Selection Committee.

For over 40 years, 253 recipients have been honored and YOU now have the opportunity to nominate someone for one of the most prestigious awards granted to employees at Michigan State University!

Nomination forms are due on October 17, 2019. Click here to learn more about the award.

Watch the videos below to learn more about the 2019 Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award winners: