Feb. 22, 2023

Recipients of UNT’s 2023 Staff Awards will be recognized during the 2023 Staff Appreciation Luncheon, which is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, at the UNT Coliseum. Make plans to celebrate your colleagues' accomplishments!

The staff award winners to be recognized are:

Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award

Natalie Bernard, Director of Graduate Admissions and Academic Advising in the G. Brint Ryan College of Business

Natalie Bernard portraitThe G. Brint Ryan College of Business has experienced unprecedented growth at the master’s level, with applications and enrollment more than tripling over the last four years. Natalie Bernard has been the driving force behind this sustained growth. In the past two years, she has taken over all front office operations, including the supervision of six positions, while working on her doctoral degree. She found tools to streamline operations and empower her group to keep up with the increased volume while continuing to support advising operations. She meets regularly with her staff to ensure they are happy and strategize ways to help them achieve their professional goals. Natalie is known among her colleagues for her cheerful smile, dedication, passion and empathy for staff and students.

Katie Herring, Associate Director of Research Development in the Division of Research and Innovation

Katie Herring portraitAs an executive assistant, Katie Herring was known for her efficiency, positive attitude and passion for process improvement — traits that continue to make her shine in her role as associate director of research development. She harnessed her background in data analytics to develop new ways to examine UNT’s research productivity data, compiling large data set reports and assisting with analysis. The division is currently implementing her ideas for improving research development practices and programs ranging from the D.C. Fellows Program to the Research and Creativity Awards. Katie consistently exceeds expectations and is always available to assist her colleagues during heavy workload periods. She also is an avid fan of UNT athletics and can frequently be found at basketball games cheering on the Mean Green.

Kelley Pound, Senior Director for Recruitment Marketing in the Division of University Brand Strategy and Communications

Kelley Pound portraitKelley Pound leads the university’s efforts in recruitment marketing, working continuously on outreach efforts that make UNT a trendsetter in attracting and retaining a large pool of exceptional applicants each year. With a positive and forward-looking attitude, Kelley spends countless hours developing strategies to surpass university enrollment and retention goals. These initiatives include creating content in both English and Spanish, finding creative ways to market events and developing online resources such as virtual tours. To improve engagement with the families of Spanish-speaking students, Kelley’s team worked to create a Spanish online “welcome center” showcasing the UNT experience and processes for admissions and financial aid. Under her leadership, her team has been instrumental in growing UNT’s graduate enrollment and targeting prospective transfer students, with Admissions reporting that the 2022 Spring Preview event was the second-largest in event history.

Megan Wheeler, Director of Special Events for the Office of the President

Megan Wheeler portraitFrom commencement ceremonies and ribbon-cuttings to holiday parties, welcome receptions, private VIP luncheons and more, Megan Wheeler is the driving force behind some of UNT’s most important events. Students, staff, faculty and special guests such as regents and legislators experience the flawless end product, unaware of the immense effort it takes to pull off a successful event. Even as the university is taking steps to reduce expenses, Megan remains committed to excellence and is unparalleled in her ability to make UNT shine. She recently lent her expertise and meticulous eye for details to help System employees executive Chancellor Williams’ Values Journey campus events, ensuring everything was up to presidential standards. Megan is helpful, pleasant and consistently exudes UNT pride and passion in all she does.

Administrative Professionals Award

Gylynn Hanson, Senior Executive Assistant in the Division of Finance and Administration

Gylynn Hanson portraitDedicated and organized with a keen understanding of operations, Gylynn Hanson is central to supporting her office and division. She has served as the building representative for Hurley Administration Building, collaborated with the UNT Police Department to organize tours for other executive assistants and maintains a close relationship with the UNT Food Pantry to help sponsor their events. She successfully communicates with different groups on campus while efficiently navigating her own day-to-day tasks. In all that she does, Gylynn takes into consideration the needs and interests of others to best support them in their endeavors. She is always looking for ways to broaden her professional development, support the professional and personal needs of others in her division and support the UNT community.

Chaun’ta Laurent, Executive Assistant to the Dean in the College of Health and Public Service

Chaun'ta Laurent portraitWhether she’s supporting students in the Career Center or ensuring smooth operations in her new role as executive assistant to the dean in the College of Health and Public Service, Chaun'ta Laurent always has a smile on her face. She is a bright light to those she works with, consistently providing top-notch service that makes everyone feel heard and taken care of. As an administrative coordinator in the UNT Career Center, she went above and beyond to support marketing campaigns and assist the Student Employment team by streamlining numerous processes. She elevates the culture of every office she works in and has a way of making people feel like they’re more than just a coworker — they are a part of her family.

Rhiannon White, Senior Executive Assistant in the Division of Planning

Rhiannon White portraitRhiannon White is a trusted collaborator, problem-solver and positive engagement leader for her division. As project lead for an at-risk student initiative pilot, she handled communications, contracting, purchasing and grant editing. She led collaboration across eight divisions to have new technology for the program approved and a grant submitted, all on a tight deadline. Skilled at synthesizing information and research, Rhiannon provides proactive, thought-provoking recommendations that solve complex and important problems. She analyzed the division’s compensation practices and alignment with workload and duties, proposing a reclassification for a colleague whose duties far exceeded those in the same band. Creative, hard-working and attuned to the needs of her team members, Rhiannon is the glue that binds together UNT’s Division of Planning.

Creating UNiTy Award

Jessica DeLeón, Assistant Director of Publications for the Division of University Brand Strategy and Communications

Jessica DeLeon portraitA talented writer and dedicated advocate, Jessica DeLeón works to ensure her stories represent the caring UNT community and alumni who are making a difference. Her compelling North Texan stories “Thriving Through Adversity” and “Justice for All” feature alumni who have overcome major obstacles and are fighting for a more equitable world, and her “Creating Health Equity” story for Research magazine highlights researchers’ efforts to make health care more equitable. As a leader of the UBSC Equity and Diversity Council, she has organized presentations from the Pride Alliance and ODA to share news about their services and best practices for serving those from all backgrounds. She also is a member of UNT’s Unlikely Allies program, which works to build community across racial barriers. As she actively serves the university community, she also serves as a role model and demonstrates a spirit of unity for all.

Macy Elzonkoly, Executive Assistant to the Dean and Associate Deans in the College of Information

Macy Elzonkoly portraitMacy Elzonkoly is the definition of a servant leader, actively supporting mental health initiatives, professional development and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within her department. She cultivates an atmosphere of unity as she plans holiday parties, lunch and learns for staff and faculty, staff town halls and a faculty and staff retreat that builds rapport and awareness of department members’ strengths. She diversifies her knowledge by collaborating with diverse groups to learn best practices and equitable ways to meet the needs of others. As the assistant to the dean, she ensures that students’ needs are met when they come to her with challenges. A magnet for unity, Macy exemplifies the true nature of equity for students, staff and faculty.

Lucy Gafford, Director of UNT Workplace Inclusion & Sustainable Employment (UNT WISE)

Lucy Gafford portraitLucy Gafford is a champion for equitable experiences for UNT students. She has collaborated with numerous departments on inclusive projects such as UNT ENGAGE, UNT ELEVAR and the Transition Summer Programs for graduating high school seniors with disabilities. Lucy is always eager to share her knowledge on how to develop inclusive and accessible environments. Outside of her work at UNT, she impacts the community both locally and statewide by providing informational and instructional training on disability and inclusion. She spearheaded a work skills training program for people with disabilities new to the workforce at the local WINCO Distribution Center, and she and recently secured a $12 million grant in collaboration with Texas Workforce Commission’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services that will help further inclusion accessibility to help unify Texas communities.  

Linda McKeiver, Director of Academic Research and Finance at New College and UNT at Frisco

Linda McKeiver portraitAs the “chief happiness officer” for both New College and UNT at Frisco, Linda McKeiver embraces a culture of happiness, gratitude and wellbeing and is intentional about connecting with each person in the organization. She is encouraging and supportive and others adopt the inspiring behavior she models. In a program she developed called H.O.P.E (Helping One Person Everyday), Linda collects inspirational stories of how faculty and staff have gone out of their way to assist students and one another. She also organized diversity resources and training, as well as a Frisco-specific session and a Diversity and Inclusion Council at New College in Frisco. She always has a smile on her face, an upbeat tone and a greeting for every person. She embodies unity and is constantly recognizing others and advocating for every team member she encounters.

Customer Service Award

Jay Dotson, Systems Integration Manager in the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation

Jay Dotson portraitJay Dotson is a UNT alumnus turned full-time employee working on the front lines of customer support in DSI Tech. His caring and considerate attention to the UNT community makes him a role model for students and colleagues alike. Jay has dedicated himself to eliminating technology barriers for faculty, staff and students by effectively communicating, collaborating and truly caring about the people he serves. Throughout the pandemic, Jay worked dutifully with end users to facilitate the transition to online learning and engagement, helping people with their devices, assisting them in planning successful virtual events and giving them the confidence to tackle any technological task. Jay understands that people have different levels of comfort and familiarity when it comes technology, and his cool head and creative problem-solving skills reassure everyone he works with that we are all in this together. 

Lisa Hollinger, Assistant Director of Marketing and Outreach in the College of Information

Lisa Hollinger portraitIn her relatively short time at UNT, Lisa Hollinger has made a tremendous impact in the College of Information. Each day she brings an abundance of enthusiasm, energy and pride to her role. She has built a network of contacts across colleges and divisions to promote collaboration, earning her a stellar reputation among students, faculty and staff as a responsive and reliable communicator. Additionally, Lisa has fostered a thriving community of donors, forged relationships with industry professionals and strengthened engagement with alumni through initiatives such as the Dr. Yvonne J. Chandler Scholarship Mentorship program. Whether it’s taking the time to give flowers to a coworker who lost a loved one or mailing a thank you card and gift to an invited guest speaker, Lisa exemplifies the generous and caring spirit of our university.

Laila Reis, Program Project Coordinator in the Honors College

Laila Reis portraitEven in the most difficult circumstances, Laila Reis goes the extra mile to ensure students have what they need to succeed. She takes on tasks with an aptitude for logistics, organization and focus. She sees all students inherently worthy of great counsel and exceeds expectations in offering guidance on their academic and career plans. Such a commitment has been evident in her recruitment of McNair Scholars. From calming the fears of first-generation McNair Scholars who are apprehensive about taking the GRE to dining with students to help them cultivate the art of adult dialogue, Laila demonstrates through her actions that she truly cares for students. Even if a student doesn’t qualify for admission to the McNair Scholars program, Laila takes time to offer them advice on their academic journey and encourages them to believe in themselves. Servant leadership is at the heart of everything she does.

Scott Windham, Police Officer in the UNT Police Department

Scott WindhamScott Windham puts UNT community members first in all he does. No matter the task, he begins from a place of respect as he offers his guidance, always maintaining others’ dignity. Whether he’s calming a raucous crowd, comforting someone who’s just been in an accident or explaining the parameters of free speech, he operates with kindness and intention, seeking to serve the wider community by ensuring that all interests are protected. He takes care with every person he encounters to address their needs while also recognizing that there are so many competing needs that making everyone happy is just not always possible. Officer Windham is so committed to serving UNT that he came out of retirement because the university needed him, and he continues to give 100%.

Zach Yeager, Academic Counselor in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Zach Yeager portrait“Zach helped me with so much more than I’d asked.” “Always a super sweet person to talk to.” “I know when I leave the call I won’t be lost at the end. He always takes care of me.” These are just a few of the positive comments students have made about Zach Yeager during his more than five years as a CLASS academic counselor. Zach also serves as liaison to the International Studies Program, where many of his advisees refer to him as “the GOAT” — the greatest of all time. He works tirelessly to ensure students feel confident in their career tracks by effectively listening and suggesting specific courses or a plan of action to help them achieve their goals. Students frequently request Zach by name because of his dedication to making education accessible for everyone he encounters.

Digital Innovation Award

Chris Foster, Assistant Vice President of Student Accounting

Chris Foster portraitChris Foster embodies the spirit of collaborative innovation at UNT. He frequently partners with the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation to provide state-of-the-art service, and his caring, creative and collaborative attitude puts students at the center of every joint project. With DSI, Chris developed two fully online Coursera programs, worked with corporate partnerships for tuition benefits, created Canvas messaging for financial aid support and completed a variety of other new and innovative projects. He consistently evaluates processes to ensure there is space to pilot new technology, programs or initiatives. He cares deeply for UNT students, understands the important role that digital innovation plays in their success and is always ready to think through challenges to ensure a positive experience for UNT’s online students.

Neely Shirey, Facilities Senior Project Manager in the Division of Finance and Administration 

Neely Shirey portraitNeely Shirey goes to great lengths to ensure UNT's classrooms are designed and funded with modern digitization in mind. Thanks to her skillful efforts, UNT students enjoy hyflex, hybrid and overall adaptable learning environments that ensure they can connect physical and digital resources, ultimately leading to more access to education and the art and science of learning. She has made numerous contributions to the work that fuels digital transformation at UNT, and her eagerness to work with divisions across campus ensures that the technology and construction elements of UNT’s learning spaces are designed and implemented in harmony with one another, empowering students to benefit from her efforts.

Excellence in Leadership Award

Abraham John, Assistant Vice President of Administrative IT Services in the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation

Abraham John portraitWithin his team and throughout the UNT community, Abraham John is known for doing whatever it takes to get a job done right, often devoting long hours to deal with unexpected outages or troubleshoot an issue that might lead to downtime for any UNT systems. His AITS team recently launched a revamped tech support services page at techsupport.unt.edu that ushered in a new era of easy-to-use, one-click tech help for students, faculty and staff. Currently, Abraham is overseeing UNT's major multimillion-dollar Wi-Fi refresh and expansion project. He not only leads the largest IT team on campus, but also teaches a course on IT to undergraduates in the college of business. His leadership has provided career growth for his team and created strong promotional pathways for emerging leaders.

Sampath Pamidimukkala, Assistant Dean of Strategy, Technology and Marketing for the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism

Sampath Pamidimukkala portraitIn his short time as dean, Sampath Pamidimukkala has implemented several successful marketing and recruitment strategies, using data analytics to evaluate the college’s progress. Sampath’s data-driven leadership ensures his team is meeting the college’s mission, vision and purpose, growing enrollment by working closely with units from across campus such as Admissions, DSI and the Welcome Center. His ability to encourage his team to reach their highest potential is remarkable. He maintains high expectations but leads with a caring, mentoring mindset that empowers people to accomplish their shared and individual goals — practices that result in a team that gets things done and feels good about it. Sampath has established his presence across campus, and everyone he works with respects his input and his commitment to being a UNT Eagle.

Mentorship Award

Joanna Hussey, Senior Executive Assistant to the Provost

Joanna Hussey portraitJoanna Hussey dedicates herself to being a source of support and institutional knowledge for UNT’s many executive administrative assistants to the deans and vice provosts. One of the most important ways she does this is by promoting training and professional development, encouraging them to pursue opportunities like workshops and conferences. For the deans’ assistants’ group, she invites speakers to their monthly meetings so they can learn more about UNT, and she recently led their book club discussion of Atomic Habits. Joanna also championed the reclassification of the senior administrative coordinators who support both vice provosts and deans to executive assistants. She takes a personal touch in her mentorship, offering everything from a listening ear during challenging times to a hug and a high-five to celebrate a birthday or promotion.

Angela Millican, Student and Program Director for the Toulouse Graduate School

Angela Millican portraitAngela Millican’s more than 31 years of service to UNT have been marked by dedication, leadership and mentorship. In her many roles, she has risen to the top as a resource for others. Her willingness to assist coworkers and graduate students, and the fact that people from all over the university come to her for assistance and guidance, exemplify her commitment to exploring new challenges and supporting the UNT community in any way possible. Angela has dedicated her career to improving every aspect of the UNT experience for students. While creating and ensuring efficient procedures, Angela's heart for quality customer service is always at the forefront. Her passion for her work and for the university is evident, but even more inspiring is her passion for improving the lives of everyone around her.

Ana White, Assistant Director of Advising for New College

Ana White portraitAna White has been with UNT since 2006, and mentorship captures her unique brand of collegial leadership. Ana took a risk and accepted a leadership role in a new academic unit a year ago with the opportunity to create the culture. Advising had been overlooked, the advisors were overworked and frustrated and there were almost no documented procedures or clear expectations. With the combination of her extensive experience, her commitment to excellence and her willingness to work hard and advocate for her team, Ana has built an environment where her advisors feel supported and valued. Grounded in her people-first philosophy, she is capable of upholding UNT policies and requirements while ensuring that each student she interacts with feels heard and cared for. UNT is a better version of itself every day because of Ana White.

Rising Star

Cindy Clark, Administrative Coordinator in the Department of Physics

Cindy Clark portraitCindy Clark has brought a fresh and positive perspective to the physics department since she joined the team in June 2021. As an administrative specialist, she learned UNT purchasing requirements, streamlined the purchasing process and proactively sought out new skills to share with others. She continued to spread her wings after being promoted to administrative coordinator, instituting monthly meetings with faculty and improving payroll and finance processes with her attention to detail and stellar communication skills. She pays special attention to students, helping them solve their payroll issues and secure well-earned raises. Cindy transcends her job description with an unmatched resourcefulness, asking questions, doing research and finding creative solutions to better support staff, faculty and students. Her ability to quickly learn job duties and excel in them makes her a tremendous asset to the department.

Cody Faucett, Skilled Craft Technician in the Facilities Sign Shop

Cody Faucett portraitSign making, design, manufacturing and fabrication are niche skills that are often undervalued. They’re also the skills that make Cody Faucett an irreplaceable member of the Facilities Maintenance Sign Shop team. A UNT alum, Cody uses his knowledge of the university and his wide range of skills and experience, which includes IT in an educational setting, to improve processes and procedures in his department. He is adaptable, detail-oriented and “as reliable as the sun,” with quick critical thinking skills that have helped to solve problems and boost efficiency for his colleagues. It’s not unusual for him to come in to work in the morning with a creative solution to a problem his team encountered the previous day. With a positive attitude and exceptional customer service skills, Cody is a rising star who makes his whole department shine.

Toni Sorsdal, Compliance Analyst for University Integrity & Compliance

Toni Sorsdal portraitToni works to make everyone she interacts with feel cared about, whether they come to her wanting to make a report or just need someone to talk to. She has had difficult conversations well past what many would be willing to, just to help someone understand a situation and know they are being heard. Whenever Toni is working a project, she keeps her team up to date and helps them work together more efficiently. Whether she meets you on the sidewalk or passes you in the office, she is quick to ask how you’re doing and how your day is going — and she genuinely wants to hear about it. She is a ray of sunshine, as engaging and caring with our community partners as she is with her UNT colleagues.

Staff Excellence in Research Award

Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Scientific Instructional Technician for Biological Sciences in the College of Science

Ryan O'Shaughenessy portraitRyan O’Shaughnessy makes sure research projects are cared for whether rain, shine — or ice. Because experimental researchers depend on lab equipment and facilities, the equipment and facilities maintenance Ryan provides for experimental research is vital. His vast knowledge and capacity to serve a variety of researchers make him invaluable to the college. When ice storms hit, he checks on researchers’ needs and will come to campus to initiate preventative and maintenance processes to protect researchers’ work. When equipment failures or electrical outages occur at off hours, Ryan arrives with a smile and an easygoing demeanor. Despite the heavy workload, he serves the research community in a collaborative, thoughtful, caring and intelligent way. He is solution-driven and resourceful, aware of fiscal limitations and employs creative thinking to make sure researchers’ needs are met.

Soaring Integrity Award

Wendy Risdon, Senior Director of the Division Budget and Operations for the College of Science

Wendy Risdon portraitEthical leadership comes naturally to Wendy Risdon. She models exceptional behavior by simply promoting a culture of integrity and accountability through her daily interactions. Wendy inspires the people she interacts with as she leads by example, tackling tasks and challenges enthusiastically and going above and beyond what is expected. When asked to assist in a compliance discussion, Wendy volunteered her expertise and much-needed support to provide knowledge and guidance that was invaluable to the University Integrity and Compliance team. Most importantly, Wendy is dedicated to making UNT’s ethical culture a priority and UNT a better place through her commitment to doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

Student Success Award

Danielle Champagne, Assistant Director of Financial Wellness in the Student Money Management Center

Danielle Champagne portraitDuring a time when financial inequality is one of the biggest challenges facing students pursuing a college degree, Danielle Champagne has made an exceptional impact on the lives of UNT students. In the last academic year, she led the Student Money Management Center’s coaching services team that conducted 1,094 personal sessions with students who represented all classification, ethnicity and college affiliations. Sessions were conducted online, in person and by phone. She also managed the center's 2021-22 emergency loan program, which helped 679 students facing unanticipated or emergency expenses stay enrolled at UNT. All the students reported that they could more easily focus on their academics because their financial concerns were addressed by the emergency assistance. Danielle’s selflessness and dedication to students has been crucial in helping them solve their financial struggles and bolster UNT’s retention efforts.

Jared Countryman, Computer Lab Manager in Academic Technologies

Jared Countryan portraitJared Countryman is a man of the people. As a lab manager, he serves at least 25,000 students each year. He is known in his department for being caring and empathetic and going above and beyond to ensure the success of his team. He uses these same qualities to develop the skills and preparedness of his employees, making sure to establish a personal connection with each one of them. As a manager of student employees, he strives to promote student engagement. He makes it possible for students to learn and benefit from being great employees by helping them get accustomed to a work schedule, make professional connections, understand their job responsibilities and craft the perfect resume. Jared’s generous and understanding nature makes him a favorite among staff and students.

LeAndra Dinicole, Student Employment Coordinator in the UNT Career Center

LeAndra Dinicole portraitLeAndra Dinicola is the person everyone turns to when they need help. But the members of the UNT community who benefit the most from her caring nature are our students. LeAndra works one on one with every student to help them find on-campus employment, taking the time to get to know them and develop a meaningful relationship so every student has a chance to land the job they really want. She asks them about their major, reviews their resume, discusses what they want and need in an on-campus position and evaluates their Handshake account to ensure they are as professional as possible. LeAndra has met with more than 350 students and has an 89% hire rate. Her unceasing dedication to the success of UNT’s students has helped many of them further their careers.

Heather Guerrero, Application Support Manager in Enrollment Systems

Heather Guerrero portraitHeather Guerrero is committed to every student’s success from the very first step they take toward UNT: the admissions process. Her primary role is to provide and manage systems support and design solutions for UNT Admissions. She coordinates with Admissions, the Registrar’s office, ITSS and other departments across UNT to ensure the right tools and processes are in place to provide the best service to incoming students. She is always looking for ways to improve the application experience for prospective students. Heather demonstrates for her team the importance of teamwork and cooperation, not just through the way she does her job, but also through the values she emphasizes. Her calm demeanor and ability to manage any challenge thrown at her is an inspiration to her colleagues.

Yunju Langran, Senior Student Success Coordinator in International Affairs

Yunju Langran portraitDuring her more than 15-year career at UNT, Yunju Langran has directly contributed to the success of thousands of students — particularly international students. Through her caring nature and gracious personality, Yunju cultivates strong relationships with students and their families, providing a safe and comfortable environment in which students can grow and find their place at UNT. She dedicates countless hours to students, from advising on U.S. tax filing documentation to giving tips for getting involved in campus life and lending a listening ear when a student is struggling. Years after graduation, former students travel to campus just to see her and thank her for the difference she made in their lives, for helping them feel at home when they first arrived on campus and for her encouragement, support and thoughtful guidance.

Teamwork Award

Experiences at UNT at Frisco

Better Together. That’s the core value the Experiences at UNT Frisco team demonstrates with their passion for making students feel at home and poised for success. Rooted in the strategic goal of growing the new branch campus in Frisco, this team includes collaborators from Admissions, DSI, DSA-UNT at Frisco and New College. Separately and as a group, they’ve invested countless hours to ensure students have quality experiences from their first touchpoint with the university to commencement. They worked together to identify shared values that guide their shared work, making decisions about recruiting events, orientations and First Flight Week. They do warm hand-offs and walk students from one person to the next. This group of unsung heroes collegially (but persistently) advocates for additional resources and services for the students and faculty they serve in Frisco. They understand working through values and carry that passion through their interactions with our students.

Robert Brown
Robert Brown, New College

Latrice Moore
Latrice Moore, Admissions
Megan Cunningham
Megan Cunningham, Division of Student Affairs, Frisco

Kevin Sanders
Kevin Sanders, Division of Student Affairs, Frisco
Courtney Graham
Courtney Graham, UNT at Frisco

Diving Eagle in a circle
Jennifer Theodore, UNT at Frisco
Rachel Grimes
Rachel Grimes, Division of Student Affairs, Frisco

Ana White
Ana White, New College
Katie McCoy
Katie McCoy, New College

Diving Eagle in a circle
Matt Wierzbicki, Digital Strategy and Innovation Administration
Multicultural Center and Program for Counseling Diverse Students

The teams in the Multicultural Center and the Program for Counseling Diverse Students have built a collaborative relationship across their respective divisions with the common goal of providing safe and affirming spaces for students of color. Their partnership centers trust, wellness and student engagement to serve UNT’s diverse community. They have provided various services and support to students, especially mental health services that aim to meet students where they are, encourage their sense of belonging and cultivate a growth mindset. This not only destigmatizes mental health within student communities but also normalizes the importance of holistic wellbeing. Their work has produced results that increase their respective teams’ productivity and efficiency, boost morale, improve customer service and support retention.

Lilliesha Grandberry
Lilliesha Grandberry, Counseling and Testing
Joshua Hamilton
Joshua Hamilton, Multicultural Center
Marcos Villarreal
Marcos Villarreal, Multicultural Center
President’s List Certificate Team

Each semester, students who achieve a 4.0 GPA make the President’s List and receive a certificate, which has historically been printed and mailed. Approximately 10,000-12,000 students earn this distinction every year, but every year — for reasons beyond UNT’s control — around 1,500 of these certificates never make it to the student. Not only was this costly to the university, but it was also extremely disappointing to students. Jamie Moreno, senior administrative coordinator in the Office of Provost, teamed up with Diana Bergeman, executive assistant in the college of business, to develop a process to send these certificates electronically, saving UNT approximately $50,000 a year. They sent the first digital certificates in spring 2022. Jamie and Diana are a perfect example of how important interdepartmental relationships are to our university: their collaborative effort to increase productivity and efficiency saved an immense amount of time, effort and resources.

Diana Bergman
Diana Bergeman, G. Brint Ryan College of Business
Diving Eagle in a circle
Jamie Moreno, Office of the Provost
Work Control

Work Control collaborates every day with faculty, staff and students across the university, deploying resources wherever necessary and completing work that is invaluable to every single person at UNT. They are continuously in contact with building representatives from all different departments, communicating updates about current work orders, scheduled and unforeseen outages, construction that could affect operations and any other facilities-related news that is vital for keeping the campus running smoothly. During an average month, this team processes more than 3,000 work orders, and they do it amid many other requests that require their attention. Despite their heavy workload, they never fail to participate in spirit events and take every opportunity to celebrate someone or mark an occasion. They continually encourage Facilities to get involved in team-building activities such as decorating and dressing up for holidays and events.

Kathy Neira
Kathy Neira, Facilities
Lucymarr Ramirez
Lusymarr Ramirez, Facilities
Christian Stobaugh
Christian Stobaugh, Facilities

UNT Spirit Award

Daniel Bernardo, Digital Accessibility Specialist in the Center for Learning Experimentation, Application, and Research

Daniel Bernardo portraitDaniel Bernardo is the personification of a servant leader. Since joining the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation, he has been an advocate for growth and success as he completed extensive trainings and supported faculty and administrators in course development process. With every new challenge, Daniel embraces the journey with curiosity and an eagerness for learning. When connecting with other staff or faculty members, he is able to promptly provide solutions, assist with problem areas and convey a sense of hope—which is why he has been named the “faculty whisperer.” Daniel exemplifies what it means to have Mean Green spirit and a genuine commitment to upholding UNT’s values.

Adam Chavez, Web Developer for the College of Information

Adam Chavez portraitAdam Chavez is a role model for demonstrating care, creativity and Mean Green spirit not just within the College of Information, but across the university. He was instrumental in motivating faculty in his college to showcase their research and achievements through personal websites, social media and podcasts, and his caring attitude encouraged faculty members from other colleges to reach out for advice. He also initiated a collaboration with a handful of campus departments to feature one another’s information on their display monitors to make students aware of events and opportunities in other disciplines. The Staff Senate newsletter is another success born out of his collaborative spirit. Adam was invited to the President's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and his passion for making the university a great place to work and study has received praise from faculty, staff and students alike.

Winston Franscini, Associate Director of Admissions Recruitment

Winston FransciniWinston Franscini exudes pride for UNT, and he brings a sense of excitement, energy and passion to his daily work on the Visitor Experience team. Everyone who interacts with him — from current and prospective students to on- and -off campus partners — finds it hard not to love UNT even more after speaking with him. His Mean Green spirit is demonstrated in the way he interacts with and supervises the Admissions Events team. Though his job is demanding, he ensures that the events he leads for thousands of visitors every year are executed thoughtfully. He genuinely values his team members and always ensures that they are heard. Soon to earn his second UNT degree, Winston has a genuine love for UNT and for the relationships he’s built here that is both fun and contagious.

Dana Mordecai, Assistant Director of Graduate Recruitment in the Toulouse Graduate School

Dana Mordecai portraitDana Mordecai works tirelessly for UNT and is foundational to recruiting graduate students into our broad range of programs. She is the friendly face that many potential Ph.D. students see at recruitment fairs and outreach programs. Her intense dedication to UNT and the enthusiasm she has for this process is what keeps students interested. She is thoughtful in all aspects of her job with an understanding and awareness of the students she recruits. Her willingness to travel and carry big boxes of recruitment materials across the state and country shows just how much she cares about the future of the UNT community. To do her work, one must care deeply about the wellbeing of our future scholars. Dana’s caring spirit has made a lasting impact on the Toulouse Graduate School.

Sergio Renovato-Vasquez, Assistant Director for the Center for Student Affairs at Discovery Park

Sergio Renovato-Vasquez portraitSergio Renovato-Vasquez consistently displays values that define what it means to be in the Mean Green family. Upholding university traditions and programs comes second nature to him. He has earned the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) Advisor of the Year award three years in a row in recognition of his constant support of the organization. A true team player, he leads student employees with respect and open communication, always seeking their input on important projects. Sergio embodies kindness and is always willing to assist, whether he’s handing out refillable water bottles during hot Texas summers or providing snacks to students at Discovery Park during exam weeks. His love and passion for all things UNT is contagious and inspiring to all who cross his path.