Staff Recognition

Staff Recognition

We Are

Nominate staff members for a "We Are!" shoutout in Penn State Today. Find the form and more information about nominations and eligibility here.

Positive Paws

Staff from all over the Commonwealth can request Positive Paws, branded sticky notes used to encouraged fellow staff members with a short note of thanks, appreciation, or encouragement. Read more about Positive Paws

Staff Recognition Awards

The USAC Staff Awards recognize University staff members who go above and beyond their normally assigned job responsibilities, perhaps by resolving a particularly difficult dilemma, being exceptionally creative, or being responsive to the needs of others regardless of status.

The University Staff Advisory Council has Staff Awards in the areas of morale, leadership, and excellence. These nominations are evaluated on the candidate’s ability to encompass and embody the Penn State Values set forth by the President’s Office. 

Nominations are now closed.

Award Types

Staff Excellence Award


The purpose of this award is to recognize a Penn State University staff person who demonstrates integrity, respect, and excellence in all aspects of their position.


  • Integrity - Behaves in an honest and ethical manner; demonstrates accountability; identifies problems; gathers facts in order to make ethical decisions.

  • Respect - Embraces an understanding of social norms; embraces all perspectives; shows regard for other’s traditions, abilities, and qualities.

  • Responsibility - Demonstrates professionalism; seeks out opportunities for professional development to better understand their role within the organization; works independently.

  • Discovery - Accepting and encouraging creativity and failure when it happens; fosters creativity in problem-solving.

  • Excellence - High performing; sees excellence everywhere; takes initiative to make processes/procedures better.

  • Community - Makes outstanding contributions to the university community both internally and across other units.

Staff Morale Award


The purpose of this award is to recognize a Penn State University staff person who demonstrates enthusiasm and optimism in order to create a positive, inclusive, and supportive work environment for all. 


  • Integrity - Leads with enthusiasm; fosters respectful & cooperative work climate; demonstrates accountability; makes ethical decisions.

  • Respect - Recognizes potential within others; values other’s opinions; practices active listening.

  • Responsibility - Considered trustworthy by peers; acts in an honest, optimistic and ethical manner.

  • Discovery - Encourages people to speak up; encourage creativity. 

  • Excellence - Provides excellent customer service; provide support and guidance to those around them to help make work life better. 

  • Community - Works to create a culture that is safe and inclusive; gets people to coalesce around institutional goals.

Staff Leadership Award


The purpose of this award is to recognize a Penn State University staff person who demonstrates excellence in leadership and serves as a positive role model for others.


  • Respect - Focuses on the team; listens and learns from others around them; inspires performance; supports others around them.

  • Responsibility - Recognizes natural gifts in team members and works to develop them; works with others to own mistakes and problem solve; demonstrates professionalism.

  • Discovery - Encourages growth among others; creates an environment where failure is part of learning; exhibits resourcefulness.

  • Excellence - Seeks ways to improve methods; practices for the betterment of the unit/college/university; goes above and beyond the job duties to contribute.

  • Community - Establishes relationships both internally and across university units; serves as a mentor; serves on college/dept and/or University committee memberships or service. 


  • All full-time staff are eligible.

  • Anyone at the University (staff, faculty, and students) may submit a nomination, regardless of level. 

  • Every nomination is considered on its own merit and will be given equal consideration regardless of type or level of staff position held within the university.

Awards Purpose and Criteria

Nominators are asked to complete and submit a nomination form which may include up to 3 letters of support that must be uploaded at the time of submission. Candidates may be nominated for more than one award. However, they can only receive one award.

Honorees are recognized at an Award Ceremony hosted by President Bendapudi.

Award Nomination Forms

Forms are now closed!

2023 staff award winners 

Past Honorees

  • 2023 (News Article)
    • Staff Excellence Award
      Matt Jones, Research Assistant, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences
    • Staff Morale Award
      Alexandria Kinder, Staff psychologist, Counseling and Psychological Services, University Park
    • Staff Leadership Award 
      Yu Tai Chung, Director of information technology, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications
  • 2022 (News Article)
    • Staff Excellence Award
      Sherri Gilliland, Graduate Program Staff Assistant, Psychology, College of the Liberal Arts 
    • Staff Morale Award
      Maria Pilar M. Kim, Industry and Career Services Coordinator, School of Hospitality Management
    • Staff Leadership Award
      Jane Pflaum, Administrative Support Coordinator, chancellor’s office, Penn State York
  • 2021 (News Article) 
    • Staff Excellence Award
      Sonia Delaquito - Learning Center Coordinator, Penn State Berks
    • Staff Morale Award
      Brosi Bradley - Labs & Field Technician, Department of Ecosystem Science & Management, College of Agricultural Sciences
    • Staff Leadership Award
      Katina Posney - Administrative Support Coordinator, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, College of Earth & Mineral Sciences
  • 2020 (News Article)
    • Staff Excellence Award
      Deborah Tomazin - Humanities, College of Medicine, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
    • Staff Morale Award
      Joan Miller - Division of Undergraduate Studies, Undergraduate Education, University Park
    • Staff Leadership Award
      Kristy Hove - Institutional Planning, Lehigh Valley
  • 2019 (News Article)
    • Staff Excellence Award
      Hilleary Himes, Director of Advising, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
    • Staff Morale Award
      Thomas Kell, Laboratory Supervisor, Penn State Harrisburg
    • Staff Leadership Award
      Jeremy Fisher, Administrative Support Coordinator, College of Arts and Architecture, School of Visual Arts
  • 2018 (News Article)
    • Staff Excellence Award
      Corinna H. Fisher, Constituent Programming and Event Officer, College Relations Office, College of Agricultural Sciences
    • Staff Morale Award
      Kristy Bryan, Adviser, World Campus Academic Advising and Student Disability Services
    • Staff Leadership Award
      Jamie Perryman, Administrative Support Coordinator, Stuckeman School
  • 2017 (News Article) 
    • Maria Rosalba (Alba) Congiu
      Senior Financial Analyst, The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences
    • Cathy Holsing
      Director, The Huck Institutes of Life Sciences & Director, Filippelli Institute for e-Education and Outreach
    • Jill Schulte
      Research Project Manager/Team Lead for the Technical Assistance team, Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State
  • 2016 (News Article)
    • Karen Brewster, Executive Assistant to the Dean of the College of Information Sciences and Technology
    • Stephanie Chastain, Academic Adviser and International Programs Coordinator, Smeal College of Business
    • Ann Lalik, Director and Arts Coordinator, Penn State Lehigh Valley
    • Mary Runco, Administrative Support Assistant, College of Nursing, Penn State Worthington Scranton
    • Deborah S. Sam, Administrative Support Assistant, Architectural Engineering
    • Allison Shauger, Client Service Manager, World Campus