Approximately 200 staff employees work at and support the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
Each month, a deserving staff member is recognized for his or her 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 the college's dean.
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 (DOC) to Rebekah Woodyard.
To see winners from years prior to 2019, visit the archive of past winners.
Public Health Program Coordinator
Department of Population Health Sciences
From Dr. Cornelia Deagle:
Hannah deserves this recognition because of her ongoing, demonstrated commitment to the department and all our faculty, staff, and students, especially during challenging times. She participates in all department activities and takes on additional duties to ensure we accomplish our objectives. She is collaborative and always follows up on tasks in a timely manner. She is essential to the smooth running of our department.
Hannah keeps the department abreast of state and national public health events, activities, policies, and efforts. She applies this knowledge to our internal departmental policies and procedures to ensure we are up to date. For example, she is always knowledgeable about the AASPH (Association of Schools of Public Health), CEPH, and other governing public health bodies.
Hannah works with me in the development of the BSPH program, particularly the evolution of the cumulative experience. She has researched other programs, talked to experts, and contributes invaluable knowledge to this work.
From Dr. Kathy Hosig:
Hannah is the glue that holds our public health program together through overwhelming situations like the pandemic and routine but challenging and critical issues, such as program accreditation, program assessment, and keeping students and faculty on track for meeting requirements for student practicum experiences. She quietly and competently supports students and faculty to ensure that our program operates smoothly and meets expectations at every level. Hannah is a true team player.
From Dr. Alasdair Cohen:
As a new faculty member at Virginia Tech, this past year I required a good deal of support and assistance as I acclimated to the college, my department, and attempted to understand different aspects of the MPH and BSPH programs. In every instance where I had questions, Hannah responded quickly and professionally, often going above and beyond what I had expected in order to ensure that I would be well equipped to understand and fulfill my new roles and responsibilities (including drafting multipage documents to synthesize information on MPH-related programs and then making time to meet and review the documents in person).
From Dr. Cassidy Rist:
Hannah consistently demonstrates compassion for students in the MPH program and has done so with particular care during the changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic this spring and summer. She is also a wonderful member of the PHS department, responding rapidly to questions and concerns.
From Dr. Sophie Wenzel:
Hannah continues to be a shining star of the Department of Population Health Sciences. She really has been serving as the backbone of the program for several years now. From recruiting students to monitoring their PHPEs, to mentoring the student ambassadors, to planning the graduation and much more, she is the go-to person for any student need in the public health program, and the students know this! As a faculty member, I know I can count on her for an answer or at least to try to find the answer. She is inclusive, friendly, approachable, and an all-around good person.
From Lynn Margheim:
Hannah continually surprises me with the amount of responsibilities that she maintains in the department to keep our MPH program running. She does most of her work behind the scenes, helping students to enter and exit the program successfully and to manage all the tasks needed to keep the program up to date for the accreditation evaluation process. She is involved at all levels and never seems to step back on any new task that comes her way. I appreciate her professionalism and dedication to the students, staff, faculty, and college to make the MPH program a great success for all. The program would not be the same without her.
From Elizabeth Caton:
Hannah has never hesitated to respond when I’ve had an ask — whether it be graphic design assistance, proofreading help, or simply acting as a sounding board and helping to generate ideas. I appreciate her calm nature, her positive attitude, and all she does behind the scenes to support the success of everyone in our department.
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
I want to nominate Paula Stith because she is so supportive of faculty and staff needs. She always makes herself available to help solve problems. She always advocates for faculty, students, and us! She's knowledgeable, persistent, and systematic in approaching routine tasks and unusual situations that arise. She takes special effort to educate herself on university processes so that she can better serve. And she always takes that extra effort to see a task through.
Paula is a wonderful mentor, and I learn from her on a consistent basis. She is a wealth of knowledge of university processes and procedures. She also has amazing resources because of her ties in our community. She is definitely dedicated to the success of our department. I admire how she is always eager to help our faculty, students, and administrative team. There is not a challenge she is afraid to take on, and she does it with a positive attitude. I am so grateful for all she does to help me be successful in my position, as well.
Second nomination for Paula
Paula is an indispensable element in the efficient and successful functioning of our department, as well as being an excellent team player, concerned individual, and truly fine person. No matter how busy she may be, when you come to her office, she drops everything (including pulling out her earbuds ☺) and gives you her undivided attention. If Paula can't help you on the spot using her vast storehouse of institutional memory/knowledge, she will persist in finding the needed information or solution to the problem and will do so with the shortest possible delay. No matter how busy she may be (and she is always busy), Paula is always pleasant and willing to engage in a brief chat while still getting her work accomplished. Paula is never shy in suggesting potential solutions to problems and often comes up with creative ones. She has been extremely helpful to me in becoming familiar with aspects of departmental functioning with regard to my new administrative responsibilities in the department. It is also noteworthy that she is just as much an advocate for the interests of graduate students and post-docs as she is for faculty. Paula's service during the continuing COVID crisis has been particularly noteworthy. She is well overdue for the important recognition of Staff Member of the Month.
Diagnostic Imaging and Support Services
Valerie Vaught is one of the best supervisors I have ever worked with. I work with her daily in radiology, but she also supervises anesthesia and Central Sterile Supply staff. She is fair, but consistent, and follows the rules.
I rely on her completely for day-to-day operations in radiology, and she is always my go-to person for questions. She takes care (without complaint) of research into new equipment and PACS issues, and deals with service and vendors beautifully.
On top of her supervisory duties, she is an incredible radiology tech who works all areas of imaging.
She makes my job easy. She has had a difficult spring trying to manage duties with the Animal Cancer Care and Research Center and supervisory duties at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital during COVID-19 challenges. On top of all of her other duties, she has to fill in regularly in radiology, performing procedures and techniques because of a severe radiology tech shortage. She has come in after hours and, at one point, was here from midnight to 4 a.m. doing fluoroscopy for a cardiac patient. She puts herself on-call to help out with the staff shortage, but still comes in the next morning, no matter how long she was up the night before. Her job is incredibly stressful, but she still manages to get it all done.
Again, she makes my job easy, and I depend on Valerie for getting us through the day successfully. I nominate her without reservation and with enthusiasm!
First Teaching Time Specialist (first and second year)
Office of Academic Affairs
This has been a very stressful time for everyone at the college. All of our staff have gone above and beyond their daily responsibilities to ensure that the students and the college still receive service in a timely manner. I wish I could nominate all of our staff members!
Prior to COVID-19, Carli demonstrated the work ethic and professionalism worthy of this award. She had scheduled all of the first two-year DVM courses by the proposed March deadline, which included coordinating some 60 faculty members and scheduling more than 200 hours of teaching time for just the fall semester. However, the pandemic hit and changed everything.
Carli has demonstrated the adaptability and resiliency necessary to work in a fast-paced environment. Her world got turned upside down with supporting an emergency remote-teaching platform at the end of spring semester. In addition, she was informed last week that the fall schedule on which she had worked so hard would have to change to accommodate the new semester start date of Aug. 10. Carli took the news with a smile and dug in; she is working hard to make this happen for faculty and students alike.
Carli is doing all of the rescheduling while still performing all of her day-to-day responsibilities, which includes registering all of the first- and second-year students for courses and supporting the incoming students as they transition into our program.
Carli is a star, and we are lucky to have her in our office and within our community. She is collaborative with everyone she works with, and I have never heard her complain once.
Instructional Design Specialist
Department of Population Health Sciences
If there was ever anybody who deserves this award, it is Lynn Margheim. She has been incredibly valuable to PHS as we moved acutely to online delivery of courses. Not only is she very knowledgeable on how to do that, but when there was something she didn't know how to do, she didn't hesitate to take on the task of learning how to accomplish whatever it was we needed. She volunteered to join several of my classes to help make sure things went well and to help with breakout rooms the first time I used them. I don't know what I would've done if we hadn't had her as a resource. She deserves this and much more recognition for the hard work she did willingly, competently, and always with a smile. Thank you so much, Lynn! You are a jewel.
Second nomination for Lynn
Although Lynn Margheim has been an invaluable member of our PHS team since she first started working with us, her dedication grew to new heights once COVID hit and we had to pivot to online learning. None of us had much expertise in online teaching, and Lynn was right there along the way the whole time to help us adapt. She was not only responsive (in an incredibly timely fashion) to our requests for help on Canvas, Zoom, or other platforms, but she was proactive in setting up quick tutorials and online sessions for us to help us succeed. She always goes one step beyond to make sure that we can shine and always has a tip to share — anything from how to position your camera to look your best, to how to form breakout groups and create polls in Zoom. When our graduation was canceled, Lynn volunteered (and has been working HOURS) to create an online graduation video — and individual videos for each graduation student. She has put countless hours into this effort. I have no doubt that our relatively seamless transition to online learning was due to Lynn being the backbone of our online learning strategy. Thank you, Lynn, from the bottom of my heart!
Third nomination for Lynn
As a new faculty member at Virginia Tech teaching two new courses this semester, I found Lynn's unwavering assistance and support simply invaluable! In addition to helping me transition to online teaching due to COVID19, she went above and beyond assisting me with the creation of online exams and generously took the time to preview/practice them to ensure everything was working properly.
Fourth nomination for Lynn
When we received the news in March that all classes would be moving online, Lynn stepped up to the plate and began offering her technical skills and expertise with Canvas, Kaltura, and Zoom to all PHS faculty. She has been a lifesaver, both in terms of helping faculty through this challenging time, as well as being an advocate for continuing to ensure that students receive a quality educational experience. Lynn is such an integral part of our department: She displays excellence in teamwork and technical expertise and always brings positive energy to her interpersonal interactions. She is a true joy to work with, and I can't even imagine how we would have fared during these past few months without her. She is truly deserving of this recognition (and more!).
Fifth nomination for Lynn
1) Lynn has been instrumental in my learning the ropes at Tech. She has spent time training me on Canvas and offered support during both semesters. She always was happy to troubleshoot problems with the technology.
2) Lynn provides ongoing technical support for my students. One of my clusters requires students to develop a webinar for the course, then discuss it. This has been a new assignment for many students, and she always promptly responds to inquiries and helps students in a timely manner.
3) Lynn has provided instructional design support to me for my courses. My courses are very different and must use different strategic pedagogy to be effective. Lynn has met with me numerous times to discuss alternative approaches and strategies to support student-centered learning.
4) Lynn provides specific expertise in course design for my community health course. While it is still under development, Lynn has made time to work with me to improve the field component, emphasize key aspects of the core content, and redesign testing and student engagement. It will be a great course, thanks to Lynn.
5) Lynn has connected me to many excellent resources on campus, including expert faculty in different areas. She has been specifically helpful in working with Dr. Teaster and me in the redesign of a course required for a certificate program. We are updating content, including prioritizing reading material and other content, modifying pedagogy and the assessment strategies. It's becoming a great course, thanks to Lynn!
And that's not including all the other technology she brings to the whole department to improve communications and efficiency!
Sixth nomination for Lynn
Lynn was already providing essential technical support for my two courses this spring. The courses were already hybrid with substantial online presence with her amazing touch. When classes went 100% remote after spring break, I would have been overwhelmed without her support. She was calm and ready to help at any moment. She joined my Zoom class sessions for the whole time for the first couple of weeks to coach me through using breakout rooms, sharing materials on screen, etc. When I told students during Zoom class sessions that I would adjust time frames for deliverables, she had that done in real time before the class session ended. Any time I needed help posting new materials and adjusting due dates, etc., she was at the ready, even on evenings and weekends. Lynn truly saved the day for me and my colleagues as we made the switch to 100% online in less than two weeks. Her talent, creativity, work ethic, and commitment to faculty and students are truly exceptional.
Multidiscipline Laboratories (MDL)
Courtney is an integral part to our MDL team. She has a dedicated, hard-working attitude from which we all benefit. Her strong organizational skills make our everyday lives easier and more efficient. From organizing the office cabinets to planning and supporting the live-animal spay labs, there is no job too big or small that she will not help with. She often goes well above and beyond setting up and supporting labs, by helping lead clinicians stay on task and organized, as well as supporting students at all times and making sure the correct guidelines are followed. Her ability to multitask is exceptional, and she can often be found supporting clinicians, students, and her coworkers all at the same time, all while setting up and supporting MDL labs. She is also easy to approach and work with. I know my life would be more difficult if she were not a part of her team, and I am grateful for her each and every day!
Clinical Supply Supervisor
Equine Medical Center
Nominating Phyllis is very overdue. I thought for sure she must have won numerous times, but couldn't find her in the archives. That is an unbelievable oversight. I would like to set it right now. Phyllis is the perfect co-worker in so many ways. She has a phenomenal work ethic: coming in early, leaving late, focused and productive at her desk. She has a very challenging job, which requires that she interact positively with just about every department every day, and she never disappoints. She is such a lovely, thoughtful presence in an otherwise sometimes chaotic workplace. We recently switched from one software we were all familiar with to a new one, and the transition has been understandably stressful. Despite this, Phyllis shows up every day with kind words and encouragement for each of us. My days are made brighter for her presence, and I am sure there are dozens of others who would say the same. Workplace metrics often focus on things like "productivity," "efficiency," and the like. She certainly displays all those things and more. But we should never forget that we all spend a good portion of our weeks together at work, and having someone with such an unfailingly supportive and giving personality amongst us is a daily blessing. The bridges she builds with her daily leadership make this a much more satisfying place to work.
Olivia consistently goes above and beyond to make sure everything gets done and that no one feels unsupported, all while being an amazing, positive energy each day. She has taken on several large projects and has produced accurate and efficient results, most notably the distribution of our Tracks Magazine and the launch of our new project management software, Wrike. She is someone that if you ask for her help, you are completely confident it will get done. Even though she hasn't been here very long, I can't imagine our office without her.
Megan has been a tremendous help to us in sorting out our swag orders, making sure our logo is represented correctly in various ways (from flyers to signatures to squeezies!), and she has taken some wonderful photos of our faculty to support them in their unique roles at the college — and for our website. She has helped us numerous times with last-minute requests, and she is always willing to stop what she is doing to take a peek at a design or to offer some guidance. I know that she is very busy, too, and for her to stop to help others (despite being swamped herself) really shows what a team player and fabulous person she is! Her talents are extremely valuable to us as a department, and I am so thankful she is here!
Megan in an invaluable member of the Advancement team. She has become a mentor to me in all things design-related and is always happy to help everyone. I can think of no one more deserving to be recognized for their dedication, hard work, and support of the college.
Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Jami is our Ophthalmology and Dermatology coordinator. She goes above and beyond to take special care of her clients and their pets. She gives them detailed appointment instructions and has gone as far as to hand-draw maps for one of our older clients who did not have internet access to help them get to their appointment. She cares about the pets that come in and is a big asset to Patient Services. She even spent the night in the hospital before an ice storm to ensure that she would be available for her clients and patients the following day.
Equine Field Service Technician
Large Animal Clinic
Kelsey has been a great asset to our program since she joined as a technician several years ago. Her unflappable demeanor allows her to get through even the most hectic days with minimal drama and admirable effectiveness. She has taken on a position that often requires extra hours, quick changes in daily plans, and frequent interaction with a wide variety of personalities. Her job necessitates a wide variety of skills, including stocking and cleaning trucks and workspaces, inventory management, billing, medication dispensing, equipment maintenance, personnel management, and horse handling. She completes all these tasks with no complaints and frequently stays late to ensure Equine Field Service will be ready to run the next day.
IT Operations Manager
When I came to Vet Med, there were a lot of hurdles that I had jump over in terms of learning a lot things very quickly. Along the way, things got missed. Some, which impacted the IT department — and, in particular, Gary. Every time that something wasn't right, he reached out in the most kind and professional way, and we got things done. Later, we had some departmental needs that were out of the ordinary, and Gary spent a long time brainstorming to come up with a solution for us. Ultimately, he saved me hours of work because he didn't stop until he found the best way to solve my problem. He was patient in explaining the process to me, and he didn't mind when I came back with questions about things he had already covered. Gary is always so positive and encouraging and never condescending when I need assistance! I am very thankful to have him as our IT Operations Manager!
Educational Technologies Specialist
David is always a dedicated team player and enjoys contributing to the team. He is also the College expert on Canvas. He continues to aid faculty, staff and students on the workings of this technology. We have received many glowing comments about David and his help with Canvas work. Recently, David went above and beyond his normal duties and at a moment's notice, helped to enter many course schedules into Canvas. He also aided in quality checking not only his entries but those of others. David identified numerous conflicts in overlapping schedules and quickly brought them to our attention. Once the conflicts were identified, we were able to work for solutions for them in advance and avoided many disasters for the Fall term schedule. David continues to be a professional, dedicated team player and we are fortunate to have him on our team.
Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Described as "patient and kind" and "amazingly supportive and encouraging" by one of her nominators, Linda wears many hats, "even delivering mail for some weeks while Pat was away!" Linda helps where help is needed and ensures that all deadlines are met, providing coverage when coworkers are on vacation.
Linda always listens, promptly responds to emails, answers tons of questions, is quick to help her coworkers, performs tasks quickly, and always adds humor to the workday. If something needs to be done, she's the first to offer to do it--and if she doesn't know how, she will figure it out. On top of many other duties, she covered the bulk of the work when the Small Animal admin departed in early 2019. "If it wasn't for Linda, the Small Animal department would have been lacking in essential support for a number of months," said one of her nominators.
Greeting everyone with a smile, Billie was illustrated by her nominator as someone who provides the utmost customer service to both prospective and current students. In having developed strategic messaging for the school's pool of prospective students, Billie has helped provide continued engagement and been instrumental in helping create a large, diverse applicant pool.
"She always represents the college in a friendly and professional manner," her nominator said. "Billie works in a very busy and dynamic work environment and is excellent at multitasking all while keeping a smile on her face."
Support Center Analyst
Reliable and patient, Kelvin was described by his nominator as an exemplary employee. "He is always available and readily answers questions," his nominator said. "He provides good follow-up if for some reason he wasn't present for a request or had to leave after setting up. He is pleasant to work with and tolerates my endless stream of questions and problems."
Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
In her first year of service, Dawn has been an integral member of the admin team, learning university policy and procedures quickly, as well as asking for extra challenges. Her recommender described her as "an amazingly pleasant person to work with," adding "she always brings a laugh and smile to the workplace. We are truly grateful for her contributions."
Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Approaching two years with oncology, Lindsay has been a vital part of the team ever since, constantly presenting new ideas, implementing proposed changes, and making herself available before and after her shifts. "One time," her first nominator said, "she returned after a long day of work to help place a catheter in a long-term patient for humane euthanasia."
Lindsay's second nominator echoed such sentiments, detailing Lindsay's exemplary work when filling in as an ER technician — a temporary change for which she had to make many compromises. "She has been the glue that held everything together, especially with a hectic ER schedule," her second nominator said. "She has been very reliable and focused at all times, which helps our service run more efficiently."
"The compassion she displays toward owners and patients is unlike anything I have ever seen before," her first nominator said, "and the bond she forms with clients continues well beyond the passing of their pet. Lindsay rarely takes a moment for herself, always offering up her time to help students and fellow staff."
Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
For Emily's nominator, Emily's interest in the field of diagnostic pathology is evident. From asking for involvement in necropsy — a task her nominator described as "not the prettiest job in the hospital" — to enrolling in a course in veterinary forensic pathology and ultimately applying her knowledge to the betterment of occasional incoming legal cases, Emily's contributions are not without admiration.
"Emily does an absolutely amazing job keeping the students (and the doctors and residents!) organized and safe," her nominator said. "Her interactions with clients (be they in-house clinicians, referring veterinarians, or grieving owners) are always professional and sympathetic; she always makes sure the clay paws are done to the highest standard, and frequently goes above and beyond in ensuring that the remains of beloved pets are handled respectfully. The icing on the cake: She is wonderful to work with, kind, approachable, smart, and funny. We are truly lucky to have her!"
Anesthesia and Pain Management
Carmen's two nominators spoke highly of her performance in the hospital over the past nearly two years.
"She is dedicated to her job and always has the patient's best interest in mind. She also excels at working with students and making every effort to ensure that they have success, no matter what the task at hand is. She always has a pleasant attitude and is great to work with."
"I look forward to weeks when Carmen rotates through the Charge Anesthesia Technician position because I know the day will run smoothly and the patients will be induced and in the operating room on time. When a task needs to be completed quickly and there is only one opportunity to get it right Carmen is the one to ask for help."
Program Administrative Assistant
Population Health Sciences
Elizabeth's nominator wanted to highlight and recognize what a productive and positive force Elizabeth has become in the Population Health Sciences department. Since joining the department, she has shown extraordinary work ethic and a become true team player.
"Elizabeth is always willing to step in and help wherever she is needed. She is always upbeat, with a smile that brightens the day."