Established in 1999, the Outstanding Staff Awards recognize staff-appointed administrative and technical employees who have achieved excellence in support of the Faculty’s mission of teaching and research. These staff have earned the respect of their colleagues for their professionalism and teamwork, and for making an impact that extends beyond their unit or department.
Congratulations to this year's recipients:
Student Life Award
Ben Weststrate, Communications Officer, Innis College
Weststrate’s portfolio includes three primary responsibilities: governance, communications and advancement. In each of these, he is credited with developing initiatives and approaches that orient students, boost their skills, and reinforce their value and importance to College life. He has served as an ambassador for ensuring the undergraduate co-curricular student experience is a fulfilling one, focusing on personal growth and increased self-confidence. This is reflected in his approach to every initiative that asks, “How can we include students in a meaningful fashion?”
Sarah Lee, MFI Graduate Administrator, Department of Statistical Sciences
Beyond the regular duties of a program coordinator, Lee assists with professional development activities, templates for resumes, program outreach, connections with industry for internships, bringing in professional seminar speakers, counselling students, and coordinating with businesses for information sessions. As well, Lee designed and edited the department’s student profile booklet, which is essential in showcasing students to industry. This booklet is now widely distributed, and other professional programs have asked for Lee’s input into how they could design and create a similar piece.
Technical Service Award
Tatjana Vasic, Lab Coordinator and Technician, Department of Cell & Systems Biology
A lab technician for over 16 years, Vasic’s diligence in sourcing supplies has resulted in cost savings for the department’s labs. This supports undergraduate students by improving their learning environment through the opportunities to purchase a wider variety or volume of materials at a lower cost. Also considered a valuable technical resource to her colleagues in the undergraduate teaching laboratories, Vasic serves the department as a first aid building representative and contributes to ensuring that proper health and safety procedures are consistently followed.
Administrative Service Award
Katrina Mintis, Executive Assistant to the Chair, Department of Statistical Sciences
Earlier this year, Mintis organized two significant and successful online events: ‘Celebrating Student Excellence — Department Awards Virtual Celebration’ and the new ‘Orientation for New Faculty.’ The former provided a much-needed opportunity to celebrate students and to gather as a community. The latter grew out of Mintis’ creation of the department’s new faculty handbook. The event’s goal was to welcome new faculty more warmly, and it was so well received that it’s now an annual event. Mintis is also known as the “go-to” person who points new faculty towards the people and resources they need to build success.
Pavi Chandrasegaram, Graduate Program Manager, Department of Computer Science
Chandrasegaram was instrumental in a complete redesign of the office’s procedures and record-keeping, reorganizing the filing system, and moving all processes and records online — a task that took several months, further hindered by the pandemic and limited access to on-campus paper files. She also genuinely cares about students and although she herself is not in a frontline position, she is highly active in caring for students.
Distinguished Long Service Award
April Seeley, First Year Undergraduate Assistant, Department of Physics
Seeley has worked in support of department programs for 33 years, providing administrative support to the undergraduate teaching program, working directly with students and instructors. Although her primary responsibilities are in administrative support, she has broadened her skillset by adopting new technologies for her own purposes, as well as gaining the expertise to be a resource for others, particularly instructors. This has included maintaining advanced skills in desktop and internet publishing, various database and student results management tools and University Learning Management tools.
Brenda Registe, Alumni Development Officer, New College
Registe has worked for University Advancement for 30 years, including as an alumni development officer at New College since 2001. She has consistently integrated anti-racism work into all aspects of the University, including mentorship programs, alumni lecture series, and all other aspects of alumni development work. As an alumna herself, Registe continually creates opportunities for alumni to share their work and experiences with other alumni, as well as with current students.
David Powell, Undergraduate Student Advisor & Placement Coordinator, School of the Environment
Powell has devoted his many years of service to making a positive impact on students’ lives by advocating for students and by advising and exploring options to best meet each student’s academic interests. Supporting students through degree planning, he uses his extensive knowledge of the University system and degree requirements to help students navigate their programs. Committed to student success, he works tirelessly to help students finish their desired degree programs on time, often recommending additional potential minors.