Staff of the Month Nominations and Winners


Winner: Cate Jurek (Nominated by Gail Avendano)

We have not been able to conduct flight lessons during the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" time frame. This has resulted in Cate's hours being cut out at the airport. Despite having to reduce her hours, she has worked harder than ever in supporting our students and in supporting our flight operations.

As we have been developing plans to resume flight training, Cate has been a superhero. Cate made cloth masks to share with staff and students at her own expense. She even went out of her way to generously deliver some to my house at the beginning of April.

Additionally, she has spent countless hours securing hand sanitizer, thermometers, sanitation wipes, gloves, and other supplies to make sure we are ready to resume flight training safely. This was no small feat with so many supplies being unavailable from normal suppliers.

She has also collaborated with the rest of the team to create wellness checklists and other guiding documents in preparation for resumed flight training. Yesterday, she even offered to create some training videos for our students and flight instructors. Her focus is always on others and what is best for our students.

Cate's response to the pandemic is a great example of who she is. She is truly working for our students and doing everything she can to take care of them. Cate is generous, kind, caring, and a very important part of our aviation team. And, because she works out at the airport, her efforts are sometimes hidden from the rest of the campus community. I want to make sure others are aware of how amazing she is. We rely on her in so many ways.

Taylor Graham (Nominated by Arikka Von)

Taylor went above and beyond to recognize student work when the undergraduate conference couldn’t be held in person. Taylor created a stunning virtual undergraduate conference webpage and he did it in the blink of an eye. He received presentations from nearly 30 students just days before the conference date. He expertly designed a virtual experience so students could fulfill their WCore requirements.

Jimmy Kendall (Nominated by Christie Fox)

Jimmy comes to work every day specifically to work with students facing some kind of precarity at Westminster. For example, he has created a new program for students on academic probation and has been meeting virtually with students every day since we went online to help them manage the change and create new academic plans for success. He offered vital insight when we discussed changing the CR/NC deadline and policies and as we work with students who might be failing. He also provides academic advising support to the Legacy Scholars program and works with (non-transfer) pre-nursing students to help them navigate the requirements of our competitive program. And, he's doing all of this while working on his PhD in Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah!

Jana Smith (Nominated by Jodi Mayo)

Jana was such an awesome trainer. She spent hours doing step by step notes and she did such a terrific job doing the W2 processing when it was her first year doing it. She had to learn many processes on her own and sometimes work until 11PM or whenever to get it done. She has made my experience so positive.

Burnett (Nominated by Emily Swanson)

Valerie has been using her 3D printing expertise to print pieces for masks that are being assembled into PPE for medical personnel. Valerie joined a community of libraries across the country in printing much needed PPE for the COVID 19 crisis. I really appreciate the work that Valerie is doing. Thank you!

Winner: Kenton Gregory (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer)

Kenton is the quintessential Westminster employee. Kenton is one of the most supportive folks on campus. When you go to Kenton with a question, the answer is rarely no. Kenton believes in supporting our student and staff to his fullest capability. He believes in finding ways to make things work within the parameters that we have set. He wants our students to succeed and he will do all that he can do to make that happen. Last week, after the earthquake that rocked the region, Kenton and his entire team rushed to the residence halls to ensure that our residents were safe. They worked tirelessly all day and into the evening to continue to support our campus. There was not a single complaint among his team and I believe that goes to Kenton's leadership among the facilities crew. Kenton's dedication to our campus is strong and I am so thankful for him and all he does for our students.

Emily Swanson (Nominated by Madi Jones)

Emily has worked tirelessly to balance the needs of her library staff with those of our students and faculty. Emily was quarantined after returning from overseas but despite her inability to be present on campus, she took calls from home in the early hours and well into the night to do everything possible to support us emotionally and physically. Despite the responsibility of making decisions with administration, brainstorming and implementing new procedures to support students and faculty remotely, and making plans to ensure the safety of our building—all the while completing the daily tasks required of a library director—she still took time to check in with each of us regarding our mental state, listened and heard our concerns, and conveyed genuine empathy for each of our individual situations. Thank you, Emily, for being a rock through such a difficult time.

Chante Jimenez (Nominated by Melanie Agnew)

The School of Education Office of Field Placements has been particularly busy as a result of COVID-19. This office serves the faculty and students in the SOE but also serves supervisors, mentors, and school district personnel, among other education stakeholder groups. To this end, I would like to recognize the outstanding efforts of the Director of Field Placement, Chante Jimenez, who has fielded hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls, text messages and video conferences from individuals from school districts and the School of Education with a very high degree of energy and professionalism. Her strong commitment to the School of Education, to Westminster College, and to the profession is unparalleled.

Winner: Sara Demko (Nominated by Debbie Tahmassebi) 

This past month has been challenging for planning international trips given the Coronavirus and the unknowns regarding international travel. Sara, along with colleague Alison Vasquez, has been very proactive in facilitating campus messaging regarding the virus and potential impact on upcoming trips. She has been very focused on balancing providing students with the information that they need to make informed decisions while not creating anxiety.

Julie Tille (Nominated by Mackenzie Bledsoe) 

Julie's excellent support for students should be recognized on a campus-wide level. Julie shows compassion and empathy towards students and provides a space where students can be their whole selves without judgement. She truly cares about the students and their perspectives and creates space to intentionally collaborate with students to get feedback about the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement. I could go on and on about Julie's truly exceptional listening skills, thoughtfulness, and teamwork, but I could never do that justice. Additionally, not only is Julie a wonderful mentor to students, she is an amazing boss, which I hope to emulate as a supervisor. All of those reasons and more are why Julie should be Staff of the Month!

Hannah Thorne (Nominated by Andres Ramos) 

Hannah, the advancement events manager, has been extremely busy lately connecting and creating community at Westminster. Just this month, Hannah planned and executed the groundbreaking for Gillmor Hall, logistics for Westmixer, on-campus events for One Westminster Giving Day, scholarship receptions for donors and students, and numerous other events. Westminster has always been known as a place with a tight-knit, welcoming community and Hannah is doing inspiring work creating the spaces and opportunities where those connections can happen. Because of her work, donors, faculty, staff, students, and our community can come together to celebrate Westminster. Each of those events has been top quality as well. Hannah leaves nothing up to chance and does a great job of getting all of the details right.

Winner: Jeff Driggs (Nominated by Nancy K. Brown)

It seems fitting to honor Jeff Driggs, Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, in the month that Westminster breaks ground on Florence J. Gillmor Hall, an expansion of our performing arts facilities. Jeff has championed this capital project in the Advancement Office for several years. With his hard work, more than $14 million has been raised to fund the project, including an endowment that will support the ongoing operational costs for the building. A fundraising initiative of this magnitude is not accomplished without the active participation of many people across campus, but Jeff has provided consistent focus, enthusiasm, and energy for the project. He has written numerous proposals and provided updates and lead case statements using his eloquent words that have engendered support for the project from many foundations and individuals. His steady guidance and unfailing passion has been instrumental to its success and stands as an example of all of Westminster’s Core Values.

Earl Widner (Nominated by Nathan Aldrich)

Earl is someone here at Westminster that everyone recognizes. He spends his time tirelessly making sure that the campus is safe and clean. Whenever there is a problem with the facilities on campus Earl is always quick to respond and make it right no matter the weather. I have seen him doing everything from grounds keeping to recovering soccer balls stuck in the rafters next to HWAC. Personally he has helped me install a new outlet in my office and fixed a broken door lock. We are truly lucky to have someone as skilled and multi talented as Earl on our staff.

Jenteal Jackson (Nominated by Shelley Jarrard)

Jenteal, a Westminster College alum, has been working with our women's basketball program since 2012. Her growth and expertise since her graduation until now has been immense. I am extremely fortunate for her loyalty to Westminster and our program. Jenteal oversees all of our travel, scouting and perimeter coaching. She also recruits, works with players one on one, watches film at home and takes care of anything me or our program needs. We've had a heavy travel season and Jenteal has made sure we stay on budget without feeling the pinch. She is a great staff member of our program and Westminster.

Winner: Melissa Nisonger (Nominated by Gail Avendano)

I can always count on Melissa to help me with any unusual student registration request or transfer credit review. It seems as though I have had to rely on her even more than normal as our program is drawing to a close and as I have been working more with interns. Whether it's helping aviation students or business internship students, I know I can always reach out to Melissa for assistance and support. She is an unsung hero at Westminster—working tirelessly behind the scenes in ways that really benefit our students. I value her as a detail-oriented, dedicated, and very helpful colleague.

Winner: Chante Jimenez (Nominated by Heather Batchelor)

Chante recently started in the School of Education, but she has already made a tremendous impact. She immediately stepped up to make all of our student teaching placements, reaching out repeatedly to school districts, principals and teachers. Despite just starting, our students got their placements almost 2 weeks earlier than in years past. She has also been instrumental in supporting our dean in compiling material for our accreditation report. Her work ethic and ability to jump into a job and hit the ground running is commendable. I am so happy to work with her.

Marie Dorronsoro (Nominated Anonymously)

Marie is so kind and thoughtful. She always asks how my life is and I look forward to the check-ins we have. She works really hard-- she also works at the U. She got a degree from the U last year and is studying for the GRE (while working 2 jobs). She is all-around amazing.

Nichole Greenwood (Nominated by Debbie Tahmassebi)

Nichole has done tremendous work collaborating with others, both internally and externally, to gather, organize, and analyze a considerable amount of data to support the program portfolio analysis work. This is on top of doing an excellent job at reporting institutional data to several places including IPEDS and the board of trustees, as well as partnering closely with admission/enrollment to develop new dashboards and other tools. Nichole is incredibly talented, professional, and a pleasure to work with.

Winner: Todd Lindsey (Nominated by Christopher Dasanjh and Emily Swanson/Giovale Library)

Christopher Dasanjh: Maintenance has been operating at less than full staff, and yet, as a unit, they are performing at a high level. Recently, the Giovale Library ran into many maintenance issues and Todd addressed all of these in a timely and professional manner. He consistently went above and beyond on all of these issues ensuring that they were handled so that they would not happen again. He's also hands down a friendly guy that's fun to converse with!

Emily Swanson/Giovale Library: Todd has been doing so many projects in the library. He has been keeping the building together and looking great. The maintenance team has been down a few staff members, so they have been covering more buildings than usual. Yet, Todd has still found time to complete building requests and communicate with the library staff about the status of a project. Thanks Todd!

Jimmy Kendall (Nominated by Christie Fox)

I'm nominating Jimmy because he is always willing to go above and beyond to help students. He is an excellent, compassionate listener who can listen to a student describe their trouble and help them leave with hope. Lately, Jimmy has focused his efforts on students facing precarity and those on academic probation. He created an academic class for students on probation that helps them clarify their goals and motivation for being in college. He's also starting a research project to determine why some students leave the college and what we could do differently to retain them. Oh, and he's also working on his PhD at the University of Utah in Education, Culture, and Society--in his spare time! Jimmy is a leader on campus and exemplifies the Westminster value of putting students first.

Helon Gonzalez (Nominated by Michael Santarosa)

Although Helon is approaching her first year anniversary working for the College, this last fall was the first time she completed the athletic eligibility certification process at the start of an academic year. She handled this daunting task with ease, energy, accuracy, and enthusiasm. This involved sending faculty notification letters, getting travel schedules from coaches, ensuring accuracy of team rosters, closing out the prior academic year, completing fall checklists, registering student athletes for HPW 190 and adjusting schedules as needed, notifying coaches of changes to major declarations, and attending all the team meetings. With 264 athletes, there is a lot to manage on top of supporting the registrar's office main operations and being the communications point-person for the Review Committee that considers tuition refunds and record changes when students face extraordinary circumstances. I appreciate the way Helon maintains high ethical standards to ensure the trustworthiness of her work, advances college-wide excellence through compliance with NCAA regulations, and how she collaborates so effectively with the Athletics Department, particularly Lynn Meade.

Julie Tille (Nominated by Kerry Case)

Julie embodies the best of Westminster, and demonstrates each of the core values above. Student success is her highest priority, and it shows in the caring and thoughtful way she supports and mentors students. Her efforts have fostered a group of highly engaged students and positive impacts across the Salt Lake valley and beyond.

Julie continues to be a fierce advocate for college access and inclusion for all members of our community. Through her fundraising efforts, Walkways to Westminster program, and service on the college's access and success committee, Julie has helped bring students to Westminster who would not have been able to see themselves here otherwise. Our campus is a better place because of it.

Julie is an outstanding leader and mentor to the professional staff and students who work in the center. She has created a strong, supportive culture in which employees do good work and feel deeply connected to the college. Without fail, she leads with kindness and compassion.

It has been a true pleasure to work with Julie for over a decade, and I hope the committee will give a nod to her important work with this award.

Kristen Kerr (Nominated by Tiffany Karlik)

Kristen is always doing everything she can to make sure that things are running smoothly in our office and with all of the other offices that we work with on campus. She truly cares about Westminster and the success of our events. She is committed to bringing students here and making sure that they love their time on campus!

Royal DeLegge (Nominated by Rachel T. Forrest)

Dr. DeLegge is passionate about environmental health and ethics within public health. Not only does this show through his discussion in classes when talking about past experiences and examples, but also in his community work. Dr. DeLegge is the Director of Environmental Health for Salt Lake County Health Department and has been for the last 20 years. He also serves on several boards including: Utah Clean Cities Coalition, Utah Climate Action Network, Wasatch Clean Air Network, Salt Lake City Food Policy Task Force, and Food Safety Committee for the Utah Conference of Environmental Health Administrators. Dr. DeLegge regularly speaks at local and national health events including the recent United Nations conference hosted in Salt Lake City and as a guest speaker in the undergraduate public health class, Environmental Health. Dr. DeLegge is a real asset to our Westminster College community!

Winner: Candy Greenwald (Nominated by Piper Rogers)

Despite having many, many of her own responsibilities related to the annual audit that require her time, she still is available and happily willing to help others with any questions they have on their part of it. Sometimes it is helping someone new understand what the reports and forms mean, and sometimes it is researching and teaching new regulations that change the process. It can take hours of her day or days of her week to help others to learn their part of the process, but she does it willingly, patiently, and with a great attitude! Many of the things that she does are behind the scenes to help the College and our department run smoothly. She is just a great co-worker, mentor, and person!

Holly Patterson (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer)

Holly Patterson is by far the hardest working person at the college. I have watched Holly go from furniture delivery to room damage checks to bed bugs in the span of an hour or two. Yes, Holly has to regularly go into rooms and check for bed bugs. I am guessing that it is the least favorite part of Holly's job but she still does it with cheerfulness and professionalism. Holly embodies the core values of Westminster. She shows respect for all individuals from all backgrounds and tries to learn from each human with whom she interacts. She is a perfect example of collaboration and teamwork. She collaborates with so many offices working to make sure they have what they need to assist our students and the college in success. Holly is definitely deserving of the staff member of the month honor.

Anita de Azevedo Boeira (Nominated by Arikka Von)

When Anita taught herself how to sew, she probably never imagined she’d be volunteering her seamstress skills to Westminster students. But time and again, when she hears a student lamenting a hem or being anxious about a fit, she steps right in. She helped an international student sew a traditional dress from their country for a festival. And she recently tailored a formal suit for a student employee so they could confidently attend the HRC gala. When Anita is mentoring student employees she’s also paying attention to students’ many other needs and volunteering her varied talents.

Winner: Madi Jones (Nominated by Erin Merrill)

Madi has worked tirelessly to add over 140 textbooks to the Giovale Course Reserve system. To do so, she has coordinated with both faculty and staff and has updated the Course Reserve catalog for students to easily find their textbooks in the library catalog. Adding textbooks is a time consuming and detail orientated process, one of which Madi embraced with good spirits. Thanks to her efforts, students have an alternative to buying expensive textbooks.

Winner: Virginia Oelkers (Nominated by Nathan Aldrich)

Virginia is one of the newest full-time staff members working for Information Services. Prior to being hired as a full-time staff member she worked at the Help Desk as a student employee. Virginia is a dedicated employee that never backs down from a challenge. She has spearheaded a department effort to catalog every computer on campus. She has also taken it upon herself to become an expert at the campus's mac management system. This is in addition to her day-to-day efforts to keep the staff and faculty on campus happy with their technology. Virginia is also quick to volunteer with new student orientation efforts such as Griffin Gear Up. The campus could not ask for a better person to pick up the phone when they reach out for help.

Winner: Christian Fritz (Nominated by Molly Butterworth)

I am nominating Christian Fritze for staff of the month. She exemplifies Westminster’s core values, especially collaboration and teamwork, and has gone well above and beyond in her role. Christian started mid-semester, jumping into the Counseling Center at the busiest time of year for us. Despite being part-time, she has seen a phenomenal number of clients, far beyond what was expected. Her contribution has allowed us to keep the wait time for students to be seen at the Counseling Center brief (under a week!), all the way into April, despite being short staffed. Christian has also pitched in in other ways, stepping up to take on some of the director responsibilities. In her short time here, Christian has already begun developing innovative programming and prevention ideas which will foster college-wide excellence by allowing us to reach more students. She is a true team player and a creative, energizing and inspiring colleague.

Winner: Sally Drutman (Nominated by Sara Demko)

Sally stepped in last fall to help out with international admissions when we needed help. She took the initiative to learn complex international admissions requirements and procedures. She handled hundreds of inquiries over several months, in addition to managing her own role as a first year recruiter. Sally is a true team player and the best kind of colleague.

Brianna Buckley (Nominated by The Marketing and Communication Office)

Bri is a master organizer! She is always extremely well prepared for every meeting she hosts and works hard to make sure everyone stays on task. We appreciate her attention to detail with coordinating events like the Great Utah Shakeout and helping our office with communications like the emergency notification system tests and other safety messages. She always goes above and beyond to make sure everything is planned in advance and done right. We truly appreciate Bri’s efforts.

Winner: Sierra Krippner (Nominated by Jess Sweitzer)

Sierra always goes above and beyond to make sure that the students of Westminster are connected to the college. She believes that she is here to help our student in whatever way possible. She regularly goes above and beyond. She knows the majority of our students by name. Just walk across campus once with her and you will see her greet each person you pass by name and ask about something that is important to them. She does this while only being a part time employee. I am regularly impressed with her knowledge base and with her dedication to our student body.

Kristen Kerr (Nominated by Quincey Otuafi)

Kristen has only been at Westminster for a short time, but has really jumped right in and is such a great addition to the Admissions office as a whole. She is organized and energetic which is perfect in her area of campus visits and events. With the Fall events coming to a close, I have to give her a shout out for a job well done!

Stephanie Moyle (Nominated by Alysse Morton)

Stephanie has been working with our new database, Digital Insights, to bring all of the information for BVGSB research and teaching needed for AACSB reporting into a single source. She has spent countless hours training and preparing data. Additionally, when the AACSB report needed to be re-submitted in August, Stephanie took the lead and put in extra hours to get the report completed by the tight deadline. She wrote huge portions of the new report and pulled everything together across multiple people editing a complicated document. Plus, she's a pleasure to work with and always has a great attitude.

Kara McShane-Hefley (Nominated by Shoeleh Assemi)

Kara is hardworking, organized and very thoughtful, not to mention "patient". She manages the science office at Meldrum very efficiently and always with a smile. Getting things done is much easier when she is around.

Kenton Gregory (Nominated by Bri Buckley)

Every opportunity I've had to work with Kenton on a project or in response to an issue on campus, he has impressed me with his dedication to his responsibilities as the Maintenance Foreman and the leader of his crew. I always appreciate the work he does to help everyone on campus succeed in their own areas. None of the work we do to provide a good learning experience for our students would be possible without the work of Kenton and his crew.

Winner: Rodney Glore (Nominated by Emily Swanson)

It is fitting to nominate Rodney on the day of the Pie Competition. He has kept the pie competition going over a decade. But I am not nominating him for making delicious pies, instead I am nominating him for single-handedly creating, managing, and selling the LGBTQ+ Westminster shirts, stickers, and other merchandise. In addition to this work, he also organizes the Westminster float at the Pride Parade every summer. I recently learned that Rodney sells the LGBTQ+ merchandise at cost and reinvests it to buy more for the campus. He said he puts in all the time and effort because he believes it is important. I am so thankful that Rod does this. I appreciate it and I know that the campus does as well. Thank you Rod!

Jerad Nigh (Nominated by Doug Schooley)

As Supervisor of Campus Patrol, Jerad has recently worked EVERY shift (various hours; including day, afternoon, and overnight shifts) to cover many open shifts due to illness, request, or simply being shorthanded as a department. He has such a great "do what is necessary" attitude, and we never hear one negative word or complaint from him. His dedication to his position and the college truly is inspiring to our department. We are extremely fortunate to have Jerad representing Westminster!

Ryan Lewis (Nominated by Nicole Jenkins)

Two reasons: 1. Ryan is advocating to get the GAPS office back on WM main campus (we are the only office over on the Draw, totally isolated, go figure); 2. Ryan believes that the landscape of high education in the USA is changing (affordability, access to education, and growing enrollment to name a few) and that WM must change with it; hence the importance of adapting degree programs so that they may be completed online. He is highly skilled with technology and utilizes this skillset to "think-forward" about online degrees. He's an advocate for Higher Education, a creative leader, and I'm impressed by the goals of this office and where it is going. It is the "leading edge" of education. Kudos to Ryan and the team!

Roxanne Derda and Madi Jones (Nominated by Christopher Dasanjh)

Simple, Hogwart's Halloween! Seriously, have you seen the library? Every year the Giovale Library is transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and somehow, someway, Roxanne and Madi found a way to surpass years past by raising the bar yet again. They displayed tremendous enthusiasm and care in this years decorations and while creating and organizing the 100 plus clues for daily horcrux hunts for the Westminster community to enjoy! The time, energy and effort they put in to this year's Hogwart's Halloween is on full display; I encourage you to come by and enjoy this years Hogwart's Halloween!

Roxanne Derda and Madi Jones (Nominated by Emily Swanson)

Roxanne and Madi have turned Giovale Library into Hogwarts! The students love Hogwarts Halloween and I often hear them say that they look forward to it all year. I've heard it advertised on prospective students’ tour as one of the wonderful and unique things about Westminster. This year, Roxanne and Madi have gone above and beyond. They created flying keys, a dementor, Devil's snare, Drigible plums, and an event for students to make their own wands. It is truly magical and I know that our students will love it!

Winner: Cate Jurek (Nominated by Gail Avendano)

As a Westminster graduate and previous employee, Cate decided she loved Westminster so much that she had to return. We, in aviation, were very fortunate to have Cate recently return in support of the Flight Operations Center as our Dispatch Manager. While she was gone, we really missed her dedication, reliability, and attention to detail. We can always count on Cate to make sure our students are well cared for, oversee safe flight operations, and create a positive, encouraging atmosphere at the airport. In addition to simply being very good at her job, Cate has taken on the role of event planner and cheerleader for our department. Whether she is posting encouraging remarks and reminders to our students on our Facebook page or she's planning a chili cook-off or costume contest, we can count on Cate to celebrate each day. She is truly a valued colleague.

Leslie Freeman (Nominated by Alison Vasquez)

Leslie has been an integral part of organizing the Staff/Faculty Meet & Eat lunches hosted by the Provost and Staff Council. She helped with the initial planning, organized all the RSVPs, ordered the food, and communicated with all the participants. I really appreciate all she has done to make this a successful event to bring faculty and staff to break bread together.

Chloe Barnett (Nominated by Emily Swanson)

This is well overdue! While I was on maternity leave, Chloe took on a lot of additional work. She helped to train our new librarian, she helped to coordinate the Undergraduate Research Fair (a huge undertaking!) and she assisted with the Undergraduate Research Award. All of this happened all at the same time so I know she was exceedingly busy. I appreciate Chloe's willingness to help out and to take on added responsibilities. Thank you Chloe!

Nathan Aldridge (Nominated by Winter Morse)

Nate walks to work from the Sugar House area, and every morning I see him with a bag full of garbage that he has picked on his way in... I appreciate him keeping the campus and surrounding area beautiful for our campus community. Thanks Nate.

Madeline Gere (Nominated by Mackenzie Bledsoe)

Madeline came in as a full-time staff member and had the energy to turn good programming into amazing programming. For example, while Madeline has been in charge of Walkways to Westminster she completed the goal of having mentors for youth in Promise South Salt Lake from 6th-12th grade! On top of July that, she has done amazing work with the Diversity and Inclusion Center. Madeline's hard work, dedication, and persistent kindness, should be recognized campus-wide.