University Staff Advisory Council announces 2020 staff award winners

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Each year, the University Staff Advisory Council (USAC) selects and honors three outstanding staff for their accomplishments and contributions to the University.

 “Even more so this year, it was a highlight for the USAC awards committee to read the many nominations describing the talented and diverse staff at Penn State,” said USAC Awards Committee Chair Terra Ingram. “It was difficult to choose just three winners, but Kristy Hove, Deborah Tomazin and Joan Miller are worthy recipients of the awards.”

Kristy Hove, a coordinator of Institutional Planning at Penn State Lehigh Value, is the recipient of this year’s Staff Leadership Award. In addition to her work within Institutional Planning, Hove also works behind the scenes of high level projects for her campus’ chancellor, cabinet and leadership team. This award recognizes someone who demonstrates excellence in leadership and resourcefulness while working to mentor, motivate and support those around them.

“We make progress as a result of her vision and direction. During periods of ambiguity, Kristy has an art for helping us to navigate dark corners,” wrote her nominators. “Her leadership on our campus retention plan has produced tangible results and has earned the support of staff, faculty, and campus administration. She supports colleagues in meeting tight deadlines on reports with ease.”

Deborah Tomazin, a marketing and communication specialist in the Department of Humanities at the College of Medicine, is the recipient of the Staff Excellence Award.  This award recognizes a staff person who exhibits creativity, innovation and initiative while seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth, promotes productive collaborations both in and outside of their work unit and demonstrates professionalism.

In her role, Tomazin has been integral in the creation of Wild Onions, a Department of Humanities student-led annual literary publication. She has worked with student leaders, judges and artists each year to build a community of roughly 100 people who attend an annual dinner and read-aloud of winners’ work.

“Deb is a supportive and creative professional whose talents have enhanced the work our faculty are able to do within and outside of the institution,” wrote her nominator.

Joan Miller, an academic advisor in the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), is the recipient of the Staff Morale Award. This award recognizes a staff person who fosters respect and cooperation, recognizes the potential within others, and demonstrates a concern for the well-being of their coworkers.

Miller is described by her nominator as “our mentor to the mentors, literally. When new advisers are hired, Joan seeks appropriate staff to mentor them and then she provides training and support for that mentor. Mentoring is so important to the onboarding of new staff and Joan is an expert on how to provide this scaffolding.”

Additionally, Miller is the co-creator of a “Healthy DUS” program that provides monthly healthy activities and education for the entire DUS staff. She has been developing this program for two years and has recruited others to contribute, giving staff the opportunity to learn about self-care and caring for each other.

USAC congratulates each of these winners and thanks them for their contributions to the Penn State community. An annual celebratory event is typically hosted in May by Penn State President Eric to thank the winners, but this has been postponed due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. USAC looks forward to celebrating with the winners at a rescheduled celebration event when public health and safety guidelines permit.

About the University Staff Advisory Council:

USAC serves the president and his administration in an advisory capacity through the vice president of human resources about issues that have an impact on staff across the University. USAC provides a forum for the exchange of ideas among the members of the University staff and serve as an advocate for staff welfare and development.

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Last Updated September 04, 2020