Approximately 200 staff employees work at and support the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
Each month, a deserving staff member is recognized for their exemplary job performance. As part of the honor, the selected employee receives eight hours of annual leave, a personalized front-row parking spot at the college for the month, and a certificate of recognition from Dean Cyril Clarke.
Individuals are peer-nominated and may only receive the recognition once per academic year. Faculty, staff and students can nominate a staff member by sending a completed nomination form to Rebekah Woodyard.
To see winners from years prior to 2015, visit our archive of past winners →
Intensive Care Unit Technician
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s small animal intensive care unit (ICU) is able to provide 24-hour care due to the efforts of a team of dedicated staff, which includes ICU technician Mary Ridenour. Since joining the hospital in February 2011, Mary has worked the overnight shift to provide much-needed services to small animals requiring intensive care. Her colleagues noted her exceptional attitude and her ability to “keep her head” during stressful situations and critical cases.
“Mary has been an overnight ICU technician for several years and has always been a pleasure to work with,” her nominator wrote. “In addition to having a positive attitude, she has demonstrated consistent improvement in her technical skills and patient assessment. I am happy to have her as a part of the team.”
Mary is also known as a very dedicated owner to Moses, Molly, and Lexie. The 6-year-old mixed breed dogs are siblings from a litter of 11 pups that were bottle raised by Mary after being dropped off at a local vet clinic. She also found homes for the other eight puppies.
Community Practice Veterinary Technician
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
As a member of the team of technicians who serve as the backbone of our hospital’s busy Community Practice (CPRAC) clinic, Robyn Fox serves as a caregiver and teacher. Since joining the hospital in October 2006, she has developed a reputation for being super organized, dedicated, and always willing to lend a hand to help others. Robyn plays a role in teaching preventive medicine skills to all fourth-year veterinary students, who are required to complete a Community Practice rotation, and her upbeat personality helps to maintain a fun learning environment.
Robyn’s nominator praised her recent contributions as the lead feline advocate in achieving CPRAC’s Cat Friendly Practice certification. "She helped put together and review the standards for the application and was an enthusiastic adopter of the practice's new low stress handling techniques. She takes pride in helping the students learn how to minimize the stress of vet visits for all of our patients, especially our cats," her nominator wrote.
Robyn loves all animals and is known as a "softy" for injured and abandoned kittens taken in by the clinic. She frequently volunteers to provide weekend and overnight care—including bottle feeding every few hours—for them in her home.
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Since transferring from the college’s Equine Medical Center to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2013, Jen Hurt has played a vital role in the hospital’s radiology section. She provides exceptional diagnostic imaging services to the large and small animal hospital, educates clinical year veterinary students, and maintains compliance with accepted radiation safety procedures.
Jen’s nominator praised her high levels of competency in all areas of imaging and the positive impact she has had on the operations of her department. “Her proficiency in CT and MR imaging has allowed us to expand after-hours capabilities, and she does so willingly, independently, and without complaint.” She was also commended for her outstanding attitude, as well as her detail-oriented and organized approach to her work. “Jen always maintains a friendly demeanor and high level of professionalism that greatly contributes to the collegial environment of the hospital. She never complains, is completely reliable, and continually improves her skills.”
Office of Public Relations & Communications
Since joining the college in 2014, Megan Quesenberry has given a new look to many college items. Her work with the Office of Academic Affairs was singled out for the Staff Member of the Month recognition. Academic Affairs is responsible for many high-profile college events. Along with their new office manager came new ideas on events and programs. Megan was responsible for bringing those ideas to life.
“Megan redesigned both the covers of the Spring Awards Ceremony booklet, as well as the Commencement booklet. She also re-designed and updated the awards certificates,” her nominator noted. “She has a keen eye for modern up-to-date materials to support our college and gives us a fresh, updated professional look. Her work with our team has been a tremendous help. Megan always has a cheerful attitude and is always willing to lend a hand. Our college is very fortunate to have her extraordinary and much-needed skill sets.”
Assistant Director of IT Support Services
Information Systems Group
Since joining the college in June 2005, Kimberly Ascue has developed a reputation for her can-do attitude, problem-solving skills, and dedication to getting the job done. She has managed the college’s IT Technical Support team for 10 years and has led the college through many hardware and technology upgrades with an emphasis on quality, efficiency, and customer service. Kim’s proactive approach has kept the college ahead of the curve in the area of information technology and computing.
Kim’s nominators applauded her recent efforts to implement an upgraded network and phone infrastructure at the college's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg, Virginia. “The EMC has had problems with their phones and network for years, and Kim recognized that a new solution was needed to the ongoing problems,” one nominator wrote. After months of planning and organizing the effort, she worked long hours over a weekend to deploy the new system with Virginia Tech’s Communications Network Services and EMC personnel. “She worked to make sure that everything went as smoothly as possible,” noted another nominator. “Kim’s efforts were key to successfully completing the complex and difficult project. Kudos to Kim for her efforts.”
Glassware Laboratory Technician
Research and Graduate Studies
Research faculty, staff, and students have all been the recipients of highly efficient customer service from Allie Price in the glassware lab. Employed at the college for almost three years, she is described as an exceptionally dedicated worker, who constantly goes above and beyond, and always does it with a smile.
Called an exemplary employee by her supervisor, Allie's biology background keeps her attentive to graduate student research and she enjoys discussing projects with them. She helps train new students in autoclaving and waste management practices, and gently corrects any unsafe work practices she observes. “Allie takes pride in her job, and recognizes the importance of the work that she does, especially when it comes to laboratory safety. She takes an interest in learning new practices and procedures, and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others,” her nominator wrote.
Laboratory Specialist & Good Laboratory Practice Program Quality Assurance Officer
Laboratory for Neurotoxicity Studies
Sandra Hancock, who has been with the college for 25 years, has made exceptional contributions to the college’s research program. Her recent efforts and expertise in validating the college’s transmission electron microscope to qualify for work performed under federal Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) regulations have paved the way for laboratories to procure new research projects. The validation process required development of detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for microscope operation and recordkeeping, and documented testing of operation and performance standards. Sandy also authored three major reports which received laboratory and program leadership approval, and are now used by research sponsors and regulatory agencies involved in GLP electron microscopic studies. She completed this task by working extensively over the winter break when the university was closed and putting in extra hours during the month of January.
Sandy’s nominator noted “Given the GLP compliance of the instrument, a number of commercial entities have begun to use our laboratory for ultrastructural evaluation of samples that will be part of studies submitted to the FDA. The technical expertise and quality of work she brings to these projects has been a major factor in acquiring such research projects. This is a new source of funding, consistent with the university’s goal of expanding research funded by commercial entities, and has generated over $60,000 in new funding this year.”
Michelle Dobbins TRACCS Animal Care Supervisor, Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Since joining the veterinary college in 2010, Michelle Dobbins has steadily risen through the TRACCS ranks, first as IDU Coordinator, then Area Coordinator in Phase IV, and now Phase IV Animal Care Supervisor. Her nominator wrote, "She has been promoted due to her hard work ethic, her genuine care for her staff, and the belief that her job is important (which it is) and should be done to the best of her abilities."
In addition, specific instances were noted in which Michelle played critical roles. "In August of last year, we had a CDC inspection in which the inspectors indicated that our facilities ranked in the top 10% of the cleanest facilities they had ever seen. This is a true testament to all of Michelle’s work to maintain a clean and well organized facility," noted the nominator. "She was also an integral part of the July 2014 AAALAC site visit in which we achieved reaccreditation. Michelle has always pulled through with any last minute tasks, changes, and emergencies, and I know that having her work for TRACSS has only made it that much better. The veterinary college should be proud to have someone like Michelle working for it."
Lauren Scaletta Oncology Technician, Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Lauren Scaletta has become an indispensable part of the Oncology Service team. She has a fantastic sense of humor and makes working even on stressful and busy days a pleasure, according to her nominators. “She is without fail someone that is true to her word and can be counted on. Her clients adore her! She is a compassionate listener, offering sound advice and demonstrating solid judgment,” wrote the nominators.
Lauren is able to pick up on key phrases that may indicate a patient isn’t doing well, even if the owners don’t realize it yet, bringing it to the attention of the oncology clinicians so it can be addressed appropriately. As a service that routinely does not have students, she steps in, and has done so more than ever as the oncology caseload has steadily increased.
Among her duties, she takes the initial client history for new cases, checks in all rechecks, handles the scheduling of all cases, returns client calls, and keeps the service running smoothly and efficiently. Lauren trained other technicians how to safely administer chemotherapy and trained them in oncology. “She has also stepped up to take on a new role in clinical trials, attending a training session in Chicago for the multi-institutional pharmaceutical trial,” the nominators noted. “Bringing Lauren onto our team was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We feel very lucky to have her—she is an inspiration to our clients, other technicians, and to the doctors.”
Amy Winemiller Administrative Assistant, Alumni and Referring Practitioner Relations
Amy Winemiller filled a new administrative position when she joined the college in April 2013. She quickly made her mark working a split appointment between alumni relations and referring practitioner relations. Her nominator noted, “Amy demonstrates outstanding organizational skills and is able to prioritize without oversight. She has a pleasant personality and a can-do attitude. If given a task, no follow-up is necessary.”
Winemiller strives to continually better herself by taking classes to develop office management skills. “She has suggested new ideas to assist with planning and organization for both continuing education and alumni events,” wrote her nominator. “As a result of her actions, tremendous gains have been made in both areas and have benefitted the college as a whole.”
Melissa Corley Small Animal ICU Technician, Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Melissa Corley not only loves her job in small animal ICU, but she is a model ICU technician, according to her nominator. She takes online courses to continue to improve her emergency/critical care knowledge base and puts what she’s learned into practice. She frequently stays late when help is needed whether it is dealing with an emergent case, organizing medications, helping students, or tidying up.
Melissa is known as a team player and always has a positive attitude and smile on her face. Because of her engagement and interest in learning more, her supervisor has found that she can trust her assessments of in-hospital patients. "She’s always eager to hear why I might have assessed a patient differently and what she can do to improve," her nominator wrote. "Melissa has a great skill set upon which she is always building, and she works well with everyone."