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Awards highlight week of staff appreciation activities

2013 Staff Contribution Award winners, from left, Steven Altuna, Keith Brown, Pauline Raffestin, Tracy Frier, Kerry Stanhope, Eugene Frier, Beth Kent, Bobby Griffith, Stella Antic, David Broughton.Twelve staff members received awards for their contributions to the university’s success and goals at the annual Staff Appreciation Week presentation.

President V. Lane Rawlins welcomed attendees, noting that the recognition was “the best kind” of recognition – kudos from peers and supervisors. Seventy-eight staff members were nominated by co-workers.

Chris Foster, chair of Staff Council, and Rawlins presented awards to the 2013 Staff Contribution Award winners.

  • Learn more about award winners' contributions in the attachment below.
  • Find photos on InHouse faculty/staff website in the View All Photos, Share Photos function, along with photos from the Staff Appreciation Week picnic and book swap.
  • Photo, above, from left, Steven Altuna, Keith Brown, Pauline Raffestin, Tracy Frier, Kerry Stanhope, Eugene Frier, Beth Kent, Bobby Griffith, Stella Antic, David Broughton. Not pictured, Kashi Revanna and Vincent Santa Maria.

Keith Brown, Department of Philosophy and Religion

Keith was approached two years ago with the idea of bringing together the diverse UNT faculty who either study comics and sequential art or use it in their classrooms through what became the Comics Studies Conference.

As a result of Keith’s efforts, the conference was a big success. One of the nation’s leading authors of the top Comics Studies textbook was a keynote speaker. A UNT graduate student panel went on to present their scholarship at both regional and national conventions. A UNT graduate student was invited to present at San Diego’s international COMIC*CON event. And several UNT faculty members are in the process of publishing their own nationally recognized superhero scholarship. The conference also connected Denton public libraries to local K-12 teachers interested in the educational uses of comics. As the program prepares for the upcoming conference, it is flooded with submissions from across the South and the nation.  

Bobby Griffith, UNT Libraries.

Bobby is responsible for UNT Libraries' reference and departmental webpages and web-guides, but his impact goes well beyond this. Undergraduate students who encounter him at the reference desk find someone eager to help them with their research project. Bobby also helps support high-level faculty research, which is critical to UNT's goal of becoming a top research institution.

His knowledge of government information (both in print and digital formats), library databases and Texas history is a boon to faculty researchers.

As a Federal Depository Library, UNT libraries serve not only the UNT campus community, but also Texas’ 24th Congressional District and beyond. Bobby works tirelessly with public patrons who need access to our collection or help with a government website. He is also the “go-to” person for answering reference questions with his extensive knowledge of legal materials, and is responsible for all of the virtual reference done by the department. He regularly receives notes of appreciation from the many individuals around the world whom he assists

Pauline Raffestin, Department of Women’s Studies

Pauline advances educational excellence and helps UNT to prepare students to become thoughtful and engaged citizens of the world.

The most striking and recent example is through her involvement in a video conference between UNT students in Denton and participants in Mali. A Malian organization that works closely with refugee children was the main participant in this video conference.  

Additionally, Pauline helps the program's graduate students in important ways. For example, one graduate student from Egypt brought in a complicated application for a $10,000 scholarship shortly before the due date. Pauline extensively edited the documents, helping the student to adequately and correctly express herself in English. As a result, the student received the $10,000 scholarship.

Pauline is also a committee member for Denton’s Thin Line Festival, a film festival that attracts people from around the region.  

Kashi Revanna, Department of Biology

Kashi joined UNT in 2010 and plays an absolutely critical role in the biology research program. His main contributions are in bioinformatics data analysis and software development. Without the critical contributions from Kashi, the lab would not have been able to secure more than $2.1 million in external funding over the last three years.

Kashi has published four peer-reviewed research papers since he joined UNT. He is the first author of two papers for developing novel web-based bioinformatics tools, and both were ranked as “highly accessed” papers by the BMC Bioinformatics journal. The published software has been widely used by the research community.

Vincent Santa Maria, Learning Technologies  

As a consequence of Vinny’s diligent service, Learning Technologies is able to provide high quality learning and instruction to its many undergraduate and graduate students and has well-supported faculty and staff. His recent accomplishments include the deployment of a revised and updated management system that allows faculty and staff to access up-to-date information about  courses, schedules, inventory and much more. In addition, he recently updated the department's research facilities with a 3-D printer and a local network to support faculty research.  

Vinny works at a consistently superior level while also pursuing a master's degree in Learning Technologies himself, and he is scheduled to graduate this May.

Vinny has been described by a supervisor as someone who faculty and staff regard with respect and admiration and who exemplifies "a can-do, student­ centered, faculty- and staff-supportive attitude in everything he does."

Eugene Frier, Housing Administration

Eugene has aligned the department’s efforts and assessments under the university’s four bold goals and the Division of Student Affairs' goals. This past year Eugene has completed a host of assessments that included a Quality of Life Survey, has led several focus groups and is now taking on a significant Council for the Advancement of Standards. He coordinated a research committee to benchmark with UNT's 36 peer institutions, which led to revamping Housing’s programming efforts and completely changing its community development model.

Tracy Frier, Student Activities

When students find connections to the university and each other, they are more likely to remain at UNT. That is the mission of student activities, and Tracy helps fulfill this. Tracy has improved UNT’s largest student events and helped to increase attendance. For example, she connects 8,000 students to university and community involvement opportunities through the Mean Green Fling.

Tracy understands the benefits of engaging students in traditions, and one of her most important contributions has been to Homecoming.  

One of Tracy’s strengths is customer service. She helps with retention, engages students in campus life, and deepens pride in the university. Her commitment to education and the community carry over into her personal life as well. She is currently pursuing a second Master’s degree and volunteers weekly at a local animal shelter.

Beth Kent, Career Center

Beth directly contributes to the logistics program's success.

It achieved a 100 percent placement for its graduates, supports a required paid internship program, and has a "Top 4" ranking for the internship program. Beth's ability to consistently place students in internships is critical to the program’s success.

Beth has established contact with over 400 potential employers, many of whom have hired UNT students. Beth has arranged for several companies to host recruiting and information sessions in the college's atrium. These events have proven very successful in connecting students with internships and career opportunities due to the central location and student traffic.  

Kerry Stanhope, Student Health and Wellness Center

Kerry has been an inspiration to many by traveling over spring break with a group of UNT students to help others in need, making a clear impact on everyone involved. He has partnered with several entities on campus, exploring innovative options involving sustainability, which enhances both the Denton community and UNT communities.

He has organized a Wellness Fair in conjunction with the Pohl Recreation Center, and took over the responsibilities of UNT's Meadows Center for Health resources in January 2012. Since then, he has increased the number and diversity of educational programs offered to students. Attendance at these programs has also increased.

Kerry has also been integral in the expansion of the peer education program in which peer educators are taught skills and knowledge about health-related topics.

Stella Antic, Decision Support Services

Stella has extensive professional experience in enhancing the undergraduate experience, including everything from leadership development to campus programming to service learning.

The impact of her service to undergraduates can best be summed up in the words of Leidy Silva, an undergraduate student who worked with her: “Dr. Antic has always encouraged me to do my best and always boosted my confidence. It’s very rewarding to be inspired by professionals like her.”       

Prior to her current position, Stella served as the assistant director of institutional assessment in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, where she was instrumental in creating the first cross-campus assessment symposium featuring both student and academic affairs best practices.

Steven Altuna, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

Steven demonstrates his commitment to helping UNT accomplish its four bold goals through the creativity and quality he puts into UNT's multiple advertising campaigns.

Steve’s work on UNT’s undergraduate recruitment advertising highlighted UNT student researchers and leaders in order to reach prospective high-quality students. Last fall, UNT enrolled its largest and best qualified freshman class. .

Steve also designs ads for UNT's colleges and departments to assist them in recruitment and program awareness. He has designed high quality, creative ads for the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Office of the President, Admissions, the College of Engineering, and the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science — to name a few.

Steve’s designs have successfully showcased the UNT stage at the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival, one of the largest and most successful community engagement projects undertaken by UNT.

 His creative designs have been instrumental in winning multiple awards.

David Broughton, Advancement

David Broughton has become a tremendous asset for UNT by cultivating and converting external relationships into internships and career placement as well as obtaining the funding essential for UNT's academic programs. David has developed exceptionally strong relationships that have been key to advancing the College of Business.

For instance, David successfully transitioned support for the Logistics Center from an external foundation to an advisory board comprised of senior executives from leading corporations in the DFW area. The resulting board demonstrates the success of his efforts with executives of leading companies such as Pepsico, BNSF Railway and Sysco Foods.

His efforts also extend to UNT's Institute of Petroleum Accounting and Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship.  David has raised over $1,500,000 to support the College. David's interactions with the Logistics Center Board of Directors led to annual gifts exceeding $100,000.  

Photo by Michael Clements

2013 Staff Contribution Awards.docx25.34 KB

Posted on: Thu 28 March 2013

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