UCR employees honored by Staff Assembly

Author: Imran Ghori
June 17, 2019

UCR Staff Assembly presented awards to eight staff members at a June 12 reception at the chancellor’s residence as part of its annual recognition of exceptional employees.

The Outstanding Staff Awards recognize campus staff “for their commitment to the university’s goals of higher education, research and service, and for making UC Riverside and their communities a better place for all,” said Ross French, president of the Staff Assembly.

The employees, who were nominated by their peers, provided testimonials to the Staff Assembly, which had a selection committee choose the finalists and winners.

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox praised the university’s staff members as impressive in their dedication and the diversity of work done.

“We have a variety of tasks and individual talents that you find in few other places in the world and across that an amazing set of talents and abilities,” he said.

Awards were presented in five categories: Staff Who Make a Difference, Tartan Soul, Commitment to Diversity, People Helping People, and Volunteer of the Year. For the Staff Who Make a Difference award, employees were recognized in four different staff subcategories.

Here are the winners:

Staff Who Make a Difference

 •  Marcelina Ryneal, a research administrator in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, who won in the administrative category.

Marcelina Ryneal
Marcelina Ryneal, second from left, with Chancellor Kim Wilcox, Ross French and Crystal Petrini.

•    Kristin Roberts, a career counselor and senior success coordinator in the Career Services Center, in the professional category.

Kristin Roberts
Kristin Roberts, second from left.

•    Emily McCoy, a residential accounts supervisor with Housing, Dining and Hospitality Services, in the service category.

Emily McCoy
Emily McCoy, second from left.

•    David Kyle, residential technical coordinator with Housing, Dining and Hospitality Services, in the technical category.

Tartan Soul
•    Devon Sakamoto, director of the Well, UCR’s student well-being and health promotion department.

Devon Sakamoto
Devon Sakamoto, middle, with Chancellor Kim Wilcox and Ross French.

Commitment to Diversity

•    Jamal Myrick, a resident director in Housing Services’ residential life division, who served as co-chair of the department’s social justice task force.

Jamal Myrick
Jamal Myrick gets up to receive his award.

People Helping People

•    Gary Heron, an assistant strength and conditioning coach in Intercollegiate Athletics.

Gary Heron
Gary Heron, middle, with Chancellor Kim Wilcox and Ross French.

Volunteer of the Year

•    Valerie Batlle, cooking program coordinator and demonstration chef with the recreation program.

Valeria Batlle
Valerie Batlle, middle, with Chancellor Kim Wilcox and Ross French.

At the ceremony, the winners were presented with trophies while finalists were also recognized and presented with certificates.

Dominca Albitre from the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences was a finalist for the Tartan Soul Award. Patricia Smith-Hunt and Dani Cook from UCR Library, and Michelle Sansone from the Student Recreation Center were finalists for the Commitment to Diversity Award. Militza Seehaver of student affairs was a finalist for the People Helping People Award.

The luncheon was the final event for the 2018-19 Staff Assembly board members, who were also recognized for their service.

They are: Ricky Haro, director of events; Cherie Pierce, director of professional development; Paige McGee, co-director of communications; Veronica Ramirez, co-director of communications; Daisy Dizon-Thomas, director of fundraising; Jeff Girod, director of fundraising; Johnathan Lozano, director of involvement and recognition; Kathy Van Horn, co-director of outreach; Dennis McIver, co-director of outreach; Treasurer Penni Ebina; Secretary Jennifer Talbot; Vice President/President-elect Crystal Petrini; immediate past President Julie Salgado; and President Ross French.