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Big Turnout for Recognition of Staff Service and Excellence

May 17, 2023
Molly Elazier stands to be recognized along with other 5-Year Service Award honorees at a staff celebration May 15 in the Lakireddy Grand Ballroom (photos by Roger Wyan).

A standing-room-only audience in UC Merced’s largest room gathered Monday morning to honor staff employees who have reached milestones in service to the UC system and others whose work was recognized by their peers.

The Celebrating Service and Staff Excellence event served as a kickoff to Staff Appreciation Week, a collection of fun events presented by Staff Assembly.

The event in the Lakireddy Grand Ballroom honored 143 university staff who reached UC service milestones as of the end of 2022 – five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. Those in the latter two categories – there were 15 – received special in-person recognition from their division or office leaders.

In addition, Staff Assembly presented its Staff Excellence awards, which recognize outstanding achievements and meritorious service of staff employees nominated by their peers.

UC Merced staff awards from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies.
Doug Zuidema, left, receives his 25-Year Service Award from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies.

In welcoming remarks, Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said UC Merced staff “work harder and with more energy to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment our young people than the staff at any other campus I have witnessed.

“Your efforts, your service and your selflessness — and your passion for UC Merced and our mission — do not go unnoticed or unappreciated,” Muñoz said.

Appreciation was certainly the word of the morning, with attendees providing boisterous applause as names were announced or faces appeared on the ballroom’s two giant video screens.

In addition, two awards were presented by the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies. CUCSA Chair Dennis McIver gave the Kevin McCauley Outstanding Staff Award to Gallo School Program Assistant Director Alvin Cha and the McCauley Outstanding Senior Leadership Award to Chancellor Muñoz.

Here are lists of awardees:

Service Award: 25 Years

Belinda Braunstein

Doug Zuidema

Service Award: 20 Years

Diane Caton

Jesus Cisneros

Marci Gordon

Enrique Guzman

Min Jiang

Kyler Laird

Jose Magana

Pamela Moody

James Nardello

Luanna Putney

Joseph Ramos

Van Van Vleet

Sandy Yoshimi

Service Award: 15 Years

Adriana Signorini

Alicia Bellusci

Angelica Guillen

Arvin Custodio Tumonong

Blanca Jimenez

Carla Hunt

Christine Howe

Daniel Basaldua

Elizabeth Carlson

Erin Webb

Ernesto F Pasillas

Gary Lowe

George Gongora

Gillian Wilson

Gregg Camfield

Joshua Swink

Jovana Cruz

Juan Carlos Lopez

Juan Villegas De Santiago

Karen L. Linam

Karin Groth

Katherine Brown

Lezly Juergenson

Linda Hart

Maria Gonzalez

Martin Reyes

Melanie Cooper

Michelle Snyder

Mireille Smith

Molly Stephens

Patrick Hunt

Petia Gueorguieva

Rena Schneider

Rosalva Barriga

Trevor Hirst

Vanessa Hauser

Wayne Downing

Service Award: 10 Years

Allison Calistro Yazzie

Amelia Bomhoff

Amy Lozano-Smith

April Graves

Brian Chambers

Bryan Spielman

Cristina Flores Aguirre

Cynthia Nelson-Zimmerman

Daniel Lepe Jr.

Danielle Armedilla

Drew Shelburne

Dulcemaria Garcia

Eric Cannon

Gustavo Galindo

Jennifer Di Salvo

Jeramiah Nord

Joan Holmquist

Joshua Lutz

Justin McConnell

Kevin Pham

Kong M Moua

Lauren Hogan

Lorena Anderson

Lori Jane Callaway

Michael Knutson

Michelle S Law

Nidia Hartford

Ramsin Tamraz

Randolph Rogge

Rebecca Mirza

Robert Goodman

Robert Masasso

Robin Walker

Rogelio Chavez

Ruby Cahue

Salvador Moreno Pantoja

Steven Powers

Tracy England

Vanessa Woodruff

Veronica Martinez

William Hoppe

Service Award: 5 Years

Abhi Agarwal

Adam Ferdin

Albert Ortega Jr.

Andrew Mitchell

Anthony Garrison-Engbrecht

Aurora Perez

Bavneet Kaur

Brandi Alves

Carla Silveira LaBass

Carol De Hoog

Carrie Kouadio

Catrina Parr

Chuck Weir

Danny Feitel

Demitra Borrero

Destinee Baker

Dr. Jackson Muhirwe

Eddie Torres

Edith Ramirez

Eli Vargas

Eric Rahilly

Erin Griffin Meyer

Ernie Costello

Garett Gietzen

Isabel De Santiago De Los Santos

Jessica Ventura

John Newton

Julie Jones

Kim Overdyck

Kristopher Greene

Lauren Brackett

Laurie J Grissom

Maribel Lugo

Marlon Spinneberg

Marta Holtz

Martha Durand

Miguel Mendoza Miramontes

Mohabbat Ahmadi

Molly Elazier

Nancy Higareda-Marquez

Nicole Deleon

Pedro Beltran Guzman

Rafael Chávez III

Ruth Salazar

Soceek Tchouboukjian

Steve Davis

Sunni Nelson

Valara Villanueva

Yulia Hidalgo

Zheng (Jenny) Xiang

Staff Excellence Awards

Creativity: Angelica Guillen

Equity, Justice, and Inclusive Excellence: Charah Coleman

Organizational and Leadership Abilities: Erin Webb

Outstanding Customer Service: Jay Belhumeur

People Management: Angela Dixon

Staff Engagement: Leticia Aldama

Teamwork: Alyssa Conroy