2019 Outstanding Staff Award Winners

April 29, 2019 by Alexa Zulak - A&S News

Established in 1999, the Outstanding Staff Awards recognize employees who have achieved excellence in support of the Faculty’s mission of teaching and research. David Cameron, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, presented the awards on April 24.

This year’s recipients are:

Christine Bulguryemez, Department of Statistical Sciences — Administrative Service Award

Headshot Christine BulguryemezChristine Bulguryemez, the Department of Statistical Sciences’ financial officer, joined the department in 2011, bringing with her a wealth of expertise in administrative and financial support at a time when statistics was experiencing exceptional growth. We all know what an intense time that can be, but even under the most stressful conditions, she is patient, kind and understanding — just simply unflappable.

Bulguryemez is known around the department for her unique inner strength and fortitude, mixed with healthy self-confidence and a strong sense of service. Armed with a positive attitude and strong work ethic, she is incredibly skilled at juggling multiple priorities — and performs her duties with energy, dedication and an outstanding level of professionalism, integrity and optimism. In the words of a colleague, “Christine deserves recognition for being consistently exceptional. I simply cannot imagine the Statistical Sciences team without her at the heart of it.”

Lindy Chan, Department of Chemistry — Administrative Service Award

Headshot Lindy ChanLindy Chan — manager of the Department of Chemistry’s chair's office — is a master of organization and strategy, and the incarnation of professionalism. Her integrity, warm spirit and great sense of customer focus have made her invaluable to the chemistry community.

One of Chan's duties is to coordinate faculty award nominations and she is known to turn what can be a stressful situation into a straightforward process. With constructive suggestions that improve the appeal and success of the nomination packages, she has been a vital resource in the department’s awards and recognition realm. She has also made a name for herself among chemistry chairs across the country — as well as staff at the Canadian Society of Chemistry — after helping plan the society’s largest and most successful annual meeting. 

Yanan Liu, Department of Earth Sciences —Technical Service Award

Headhshot Yanan LiuWhile Yanan Liu may hold the title of microprobe technician, her colleagues describe her as so much more. Unfailingly courteous, calm and unflustered under pressure — she has made herself an invaluable part of the earth sciences community. Microprobes are extremely complex instruments — even at the best of times — but Liu didn’t flinch when up against the department’s equipment. Instead she quickly learned to maintain the fragile hardware and mastered its complex third-party computer software — an impressive feat.

She’s polite, patient and poised, but don’t let her soft spoken nature fool you. Liu displays uncompromising leadership, initiative and responsibility — coupled with exemplary technical expertise and a sincere commitment to training and support for faculty, students and external clients alike. She's described as one of the friendliest staff members and always arrives with a smile on her face – no matter what challenges she may face throughout her day.

Ann-Marie Matti, Department of Classics — Distinguished Long Service Award

Headshot Ann-Marie MattiIt takes much more than years of service to earn the Distinguished Service Award. Honourees must demonstrate a sustained track record of going above and beyond the expectations of their administrative peers, academic colleagues and students. Ann-Marie Matti is no exception. Matti joined the Department of Classics as its business officer — and sole staff member — more than 30 years ago. And in that time she has continued to make a name for herself as unfailingly friendly, helpful and professional with a fierce loyalty to the department and its mission.

Always approachable with a ready smile and easy banter — Matti goes out of her way to take an interest in the lives of graduate students and faculty members alike. With her reliable help and steadfast support — faculty, graduate students and staff know they can count on her as a consistent source of pragmatic solutions. As one graduate student said, “Ann-Marie is a fixture of the Classics community, and she contributes significantly not only to its smooth functioning, but also to the conviviality of departmental life

Leah McCormack-Smith, New College — Student Life Award

Headshot Leah McCormack-SmithLeah McCormack-Smith joined New College as Dean of Students in January 2016 during a time of significant growth and quickly got to work revamping and reinvigorating the New College student experience. An exemplary collaborator — with an unwavering commitment to the core values of student services — McCormack-Smith's vision, innovation and leadership continues to change the landscape and raise the bar for student life work at New College and beyond.

Her commitment to student wellbeing has helped guide the development of new student programming, as well as the re-visioning of existing student services. She has been instrumental in developing robust programming to support the transition into university for first-year students — including adopting a highly successful e-mentorship program and increased programming for commuter students. McCormack-Smith has also worked to build strong collaborative partnerships with other units and programs, ensuring students have access to the most innovative and impactful programs. As one colleague said, “Leah is one of the most supportive and understanding student service staff I have ever worked with. I cannot think of another person more deserving of the Student Life Award.”