March 29, 2004

2004 Awards of Distinction

Congratulations to the winners of the 2004 Awards of Distinction. The following 11 individuals were honored at a March 17 ceremony, where each was presented a plaque and a $500 U.S. savings bond by President Jim Wagner.

Berky Abreu
Office Manager,
Women’s Studies

Berky Abreu “brings immense skill and wonderful exuberance” to her work, said nominator Pamela Hall, chair of women’s studies. With “remarkable professional energy … and great humanity,” Abreu kept the department on track in Hall’s absence last fall, overseeing budget and curriculum planning along with three special events, as well as helping coordinate the department’s move to the Candler Library in August. And the native Spanish speaker offers cultural expertise that helped inspire a student to pursue research in the Dominican Republic, wrote Frances Smith Foster, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women’s Studies. Abreu said she values the opportunity to use varied skills at work, and the relationships with colleagues that go beyond the job.

Veronica Carlson
Director, Circulation Services
Hugh F. MacMillan Law Library

Carlson manages more than the checking out and in of books. Terry Gordon, associate director of the law library, wrote in his nomination letter of “her unflagging willingness to define her job by what needs to be done rather than by what is included in her job description.” The list of chores she’s taken on includes coordinating facilities service requests and creating exhibits about legal issues. She oversaw the renovation an unfinished basement area that was completed in less than three months. She also manages art shows at the library simply because she thinks they add color to the place. Carlson said she so appreciates the people and atmosphere at work that she’d stay “even if I were independently wealthy.”

Chris Cook
Senior Administrative Director
General Counsel’s Office

Thanks to Cook, Emory’s attorneys are better able “to provide unified advice to all branches of the University,” according to nominator Kent Alexander, senior vice president and general counsel. Since arriving in 2002, Cook has overseen the consolidation of Emory’s lawyers from several locations into one, helped the office draft a strategic plan and policy and procedures manual, implemented a data management system, and developed a website where the attorneys offer advice on timely topics. Cook’s contributions are “already paying dividends for the University and will continue to do so for years to come,” Alexander said. Cook said he likes being part of an Emory family; wife Sarah works at the Association of Emory Alumni, and their son is enrolled at the Clifton School.

Linda Erhard
Business Analyst II
Information Technology Division

Erhard designs and implements websites and technology applications for the administration and affiliates, including the Board of Trustees and the budget office. That means “translating between big ideas in English and actual work in computer programs,” wrote nominator Mary Anne Lindskog, associate University secretary. “Her leadership among her colleagues is legendary.” Don Harris, chief information officer and vice provost for information technology, said Erhard “goes into each new assignment as if it were an adventure and is able to convey that sense of excitement to the people she works with.” Erhard said she values working in a “creative, engaging” place that’s “challenging and willing to be challenged.”

Elaine Gossett
Technical Writer
Facilities Management

Gossett’s strengths with planning and detail echo across campus.
As chief safety marshal for Commencement, she helped design a new evacuation plan for the Quadrangle, and she’s also behind Emory’s award-winning recycling program. She’s on a team that initiated the new Mentor Emory program and serves on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. As technical writer with FM, she recently helped draft a major report on the operations of Emory’s physical plant. Gossett “demonstrates her ability to ‘make it happen’ with all assigned tasks—and she’s always cheerful,” wrote nominator Jim Murtha, FM resource planning manager. Gossett said she appreciates working in a “progressive place” seeking “world class” standards.

Kathryn Heath Graves
Assistant Dean for Development
and External Relations
Rollins School of Public Health

Graves has raised an untold number of dollars during her Emory career of more than 20 years. Three colleagues nominated her for “the active role she has played in helping to grow the [Rollins school] from a department in the School of Medicine to a nationally ranked, free-standing” school. Graves is “an expert in development, which ultimately is all about building and sustaining relationships; she is uniformly admired and respected by colleagues … and by friends of the school,” wrote Raymond Greenberg, former Rollins dean. Graves said she’s always thought working on a college campus was “the ideal life,” and added it’s a privilege to work with donors for the cause of protecting public health.

Beverly Medley
Office Manager
Department of Physiology

Physiology recognized Medley for her work with an innovative mentoring program that places post-doctoral students at schools serving minorities. The FIRST (Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching) program trains students in partnership with Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College. Emory has gained national attention for the success of the program, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. As FIRST program coordinator, Medley is “a scrupulous and unbiased advocate for the postdoctoral fellows,” wrote physiology chair Robert Gunn. To Medley, her work is all about community; she likes seeing the students succeed and also looks forward to seeing colleagues and retirees at Staff Fest.

Roark Miller
Assistant Director
International Students and Scholars Program (ISSP)

Miller ensures Emory’s compliance with the federal Student Exchange Visitor Information System, a database of international students that is used by the federal State and Homeland Security departments. He researched hardware and software compliance options and gathered data from across campus to submit federal enrollment applications. To help maintain campuswide compliance, Miller conducts “extensive education and coordination with every school, department, program or office that enrolls or provides a service for international students and scholars,” wrote nominator Lelia Crawford, assistant dean of Campus Life and ISSP director. Miller said he enjoys the diversity of people and perspectives he encounters every day in his job.

Julie Moran
Assistant Operations Manager,
Animal Care
Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Moran brings “an innate animal sense” to her work with animal care and safety, wrote nominator Mark Sharpless, Yerkes Field Station operations manager for animal care. She’s an effective communicator with human primates, too, managing the staff training and bridging “barriers of culture, age, understanding and ability,” Sharpless said. “[Moran] constantly seeks ways to improve the Field Station operations, whether it falls within her job description or not.” Moran said she loves the animals and likes to observe and learn from them, focusing on the bigger picture: Quality animal care forms a basis for science that finds cures for diseases.

George Nikas
Media Specialist
Candler School of Theology

Nikas handles audiovisual equipment for presentations, a behind-the-scenes job loaded with stress and deadlines. He has a “reputation around campus of being able to do the impossible,” said Student Activities Director Karen Salisbury. “George’s talent, dependability, competency and good humor” have earned him fans not only at Candler, where he’s based, but also in administration and elsewhere, added nominator Marilyn Schertz, Candler media director. Nikas said he remains calm on the job and keeps his work in perspective because “nobody gets hurt or dies if it doesn’t work.” He also enjoys meeting the different people who come to campus to speak.

Debra Siegel
Office Manager
Career Center, Campus Life

Siegel is recognized for her talent for turning piles of paper into online systems at the Career Center. This allows Emory students to better compete for places in graduate schools and post-college careers. Among the highlights: Siegel led a team that put letters of reference online, a fundamental change that saves time and hassle for students and others. She also supervises the center’s front desk, monitors the budget and oversees renovation and repairs. Siegel is a “whirlwind of innovation, creativity and operational efficiency,” wrote nominator Tariq Shakoor, Career Center director. “She is our ‘go-to’ person and she never disappoints.” Siegel said she appreciates getting to see students decide what to do with their lives and achieve their goals.