Every year, Staff Council collects nominations from the campus community to recognize the work of staff over the past year and selects one winner per category to receive an Staff Community Award.

The nomination form will be open April 3–29, 2024.

Collaboration Award

The Collaboration Award promotes and rewards outstanding collaborative efforts between colleagues at Westminster University. This award recognizes collaboration that positively improves the lives of Westminster students, faculty, and staff, making Westminster University an exceptional place to live and learn. Collaborations could be between staff members, staff and faculty, across departments, etc., as long as 2 entities are working together.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Nominations must include parties taking part in a collaborative effort
  • Collaborative efforts must exhibit a positive impact towards strengthening colleague relationships
  • Collaborative efforts must exhibit a positive impact towards improving the Westminster experience

Winner: Britany Hansen

Department: McNair Scholars
Nominator: Christie Fox
Nomination: It is a pleasure to nominate Britany Hansen for the Staff Collaboration Award. Britany works at Westminster as the Coordinator of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program—we are the only institution in the state with this federally-funded program! Britany has been working tirelessly for the McNair Scholars since she started, but particularly after July 2022, when the Director of the McNair Scholars Program left Westminster. Britany quickly realized that collaboration was the best way to ensure good, timely service to our amazing McNair Scholars!

Britany started her collaborative efforts with First Scholars and Honors, two close allies to the McNair Program. Britany made sure that the relationships between McNair and these offices remained strong and that students felt supported. She then focused on the Advising team and worked with Westminster Advising to ensure that students were registered on time and for the correct classes, and that their academic needs were being met, especially if any of them faced struggles.

Britany’s focus on collaboration doesn’t end at 1300 East, either. Part of the requirements of the grant are that we recruit students from Salt Lake Community College and the College of Southern Idaho. Britany made sure that she had strong relationships with folx at these institutions so that eligible students might hear about the McNair Scholars Program and think about transferring to Westminster to complete their undergraduate degrees. She also fosters strong relationships with the TRiO programs at SLCC and the University of Utah so that the very most students who can be served under the grant feel supported and heard.

Meanwhile, the McNair Scholars Program moved locations to be more centrally located in Gore, so Britany worked with facilities to enact that. She also has developed strong ties to the Registrar’s office, Financial Aid, and Student Account Services. She has also worked directly with faculty across campus to recruit students to the program and to recruit faculty to serve as mentors for the Scholars’ research projects.

In a short amount of time, Britany has not only met colleagues across campus, but forged strong ties with these offices, all with the goal of better serving our students. Britany is an outstanding asset to Westminster and an amazing collaborator!

Nominee: Sophie Caligiuri

Department: Provost's Office
Nominator: Keaton Schrank
Nomination: In her time at Westminster, Sophie has truly demonstrated what being a team player looks like. She is consistently tasked with working on multi-office/department projects and is always making sure that all voices are heard and that all parties are satisfied. She is a reliable colleague who can always be trusted to do her part and more in collaborative efforts. Sophie is such an asset to this campus, and her positivity and hard work always make her a joy to have on any team or project.


Emerging Leader Award

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a new professional at the university or a professional who has recently moved into a new leadership role on campus. The recipient has created an impact on campus within their role by being open to learning and challenging themselves and others. This staff member has demonstrated commitment to the university and is seen as an outstanding professional in their department and/or within their field of work.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Seeks additional responsibilities and opportunities and (either formally or informally) influences and inspires others to improve and grow
  • Has demonstrated a commitment to their role and the betterment of their team’s experience working at the university
  • Engages in and/or develops opportunities for community development and serves as a positive member in the campus community

Winner: Piper Rogers

Department: Budget. Accounting Services. and Student Account Services 
Nominator: Twila Wycoff, Yvette Gilgen, Jennifer Medrano 
Nomination: Piper accepted the responsibility to be our leader in Budget, Accounting Services, and Student Account Services for almost a year now. Piper has committed herself to all of us with weekly one on one meetings to ensure our sanity, workload, and attitudes stayed in check. With her experience at the university and knowledge of all job duties in this area we were able to continue to grow and thrive through a very difficult year. I credit Piper with holding these departments together.

A year of changes in Bamberger was made possible by Piper's leadership. Through liaising with an outside accounting firm, regular one-on-one meetings with other department supervisors, and a willingness to take on the necessary responsibilities, Piper ensured our departments success. She is always available to help or answer questions, and her vast institutional knowledge allowed the admin and finance departments to function smoothly through any obstacle. She always has our backs, and we are grateful.

Piper has been an outstanding leader in the absence of a CFO and Controller in the accounting department. She has learned everyone's job duties and has assisted everyone. She takes time to meet at least once a week to check in with everyone. This is on top of her regular duties. She is well respected within the department and also outside of the department. I feel that Piper goes out of her way to help and assist everyone in the department with a very eager attitude.

Nominee: Rebecca Riley

Department: Enrollment Management
Nominator: Maddie Hayes
Nomination: Rebecca was promoted in June and promoted again in January. In July, she also took on the role of leading the "KICKA" team in admissions. For many months, Rebecca was the only member of the grad admissions team, but she addressed any question about grad admissions that came her way. When Julie Hildebrand began in October, Rebecca efficiently brought her up to speed. Rebecca is tactful and kind in her interactions with students, faculty, and other staff. She is a pleasure to work alongside.

Nominee: Yvonne Francis

Department: Honors College
Nominator: Jose Hernandez Zamudio
Nomination: Yvonne excels in all three areas required for the Emerging Leader Award:

  • Leading a successful social media presence
  • Producing professional-grade annual reports
  • Organizing successful events such as One Westminster Day programming (videos, professor dance offs, etc.)
  • Guiding and supporting student workers in Nunemaker
  • Supporting high-profile initiatives such as statewide essay contests
  • Being an active member of the Staff Council
  • Serving on the Pride Planning Committee

Nominee: Erynn Covarrubias

Department: Student Success and Retention (Academic Advising) 
Nominator: Shae Barber, Christie Fox
Nomination: Erynn recently moved to the role of Assistant Director of Advising. While we have been short-staffed she stepped up to fill the gaps, meeting with a higher volume of students and developing her skills as a leader and supervisor. Her efforts to build relationships with campus partners have made a huge impact on our work as Advisors. She made significant contributions to Pathways as part of Westminster at 150, major exploration, on-campus tutoring services, and revising New Griffin Enrollment.

It is a pleasure to nominate Erynn Covarrubias for the Emerging Leader award. In 2022, Erynn became Assistant Director of Advising after serving as an outstanding academic advisor for two years. Erynn jumped into the role, made more difficult by the departure of the Director of Advising. Erynn took on many of the responsibilities of the director, including mentoring and training new staff and being a calm support for the other advisors during what can be stressful and difficult days. At the same time, Erynn is meeting with a full caseload of students, listening to their concerns, and helping them make good decisions about their lives and their classes.

She has shown particular leadership through the Advisor Outreach process—formerly known as Retention Alerts—and tutoring. Even one of these assignments would be a lot for a full-time advisor, but Erynn has managed both with aplomb. In the Advisor Outreach realm, Erynn worked to improve the form that faculty and staff complete to request an outreach, instituted automatic responses and a check-back process in which faculty are asked if the student is doing better. This considerably improves communication with faculty regarding Advisor Outreach and will, we hope, result in more faculty using the system. The goal of Advisor Outreach is to be proactive instead of reactive. For tutoring, she is systematizing training and time card entry for tutors, particularly those in the tutoring centers, so that all tutors will be trained on bias and best practices for working one-on-one with students. This additional training will significantly enhance the tutors’ work experience and will make tutoring better for the tutee.

At the same time, Erynn has taken on teaching WRIT 110, and constantly devises innovative assignments and classroom activities to help students feel more comfortable with writing and with academic writing specifically. She works to make writing fun and interesting in her classes, setting students up for success in later Westminster classes. Her role as instructor also allows her to meet more students and to interact with them in a different way, even as she brings her advising best practices and campus knowledge to those classes, which usually are composed of first- and second-year students, who generally need the most guidance and support.

Nominee: Erin Gantz

Department: Residence Life
Nominator: Jess Sweitzer
Nomination: Erin embodies the spirit of this award. As a new pro, she exemplifies what it means to be truly student centered. She seeks additional opportunities to help those around her. On a daily basis, she works to better the student experience for all students. Students are at the front of all she does. She knows the name and many details of every student living in our halls. If you walked across campus with her, you would know what I mean. She truly cares about this community and those around her.


Exemplary Griffin Award

The Exemplary Griffin Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates leadership by mentoring, coaching, inspiring, and motivating colleagues. The recipient promotes excellence in teamwork, performance, and achievement within their department and demonstrates a commitment to and support of the university’s vision, creativity, and innovation while promoting inclusiveness and respect for difference.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Mentors and coaches colleagues in both their department and/or across the campus
  • Serves on committees to represent their peers and to support change impacting the university
  • Often recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of their peers and actively engages in providing critical and constructive feedback

Winner: Shae Barber

Department: Academic Advising
Nominator: Christie Fox
Nomination: I am pleased to nominate Shae Barber for the Exemplary Griffin Award. Shae serves Westminster as an Academic Advisor, but they do so much more! As you know, Shae is also part of Staff Council, and through that work is a cheerleader for involvement on campus—especially trivia and March Mammal Madness! Shae also works on the Campus Pride Committee, helping to create a more inclusive and welcoming Westminster through our Pride Celebration and through our everyday work. Shae brought invaluable knowledge from their stint as an Admissions Counselor to their role as Advisor, strengthening that relationship between offices and bringing their advanced Slate knowledge to help everyone in Student Success and Retention be better Slate users.

Recently, Shae has become passionate about sophomores. Students in their second year often suffer from a “sophomore slump” because the classwork is harder and all of the excitement and programming from first year has diminished. Shae jumped into work on Soaring Sophomores, doing outside research, exploring best practices, and ensuring that Wellness Wednesdays—a weekly messaging that encourages student self-care—is a success. Shae has seen very strong engagement with these messages and is currently creating plans for an even better Soaring Sophomores next years. Get ready, first years!

In short, Shae embodies the Westminster values of teamwork, inspiring colleagues, and achievement. Shae always has time to teach you something, explain a process, or listen to a student. Shae makes Westminster better for students and better for their colleagues.

Nominee: Amy Westberg

Department: Marketing, Communication, and Events
Nominator: Claire Prasad
Nomination: Amy has been a huge part of my success in my new role at Westminster. Recently, she organized a visit to one of our partner printing facilities so that our team could better understand the complete design and production process. She also supported me in applying to the Staff Professional Development Fund. She is uplifting, supportive, and non-judgmental in all of her interactions with colleagues. She is most deserving of this award.

Nominee: Lisa Heiskell

Department: Career Center
Nominator: Trisha Jensen
Nomination: Lisa is an exemplary griffin! She juggles many priorities for the career center with an expertise that I cannot fathom. She collaborates with campus partners to ensure all students have access to high impact career development, no matter what their home department or future plans are. Her focus on constantly making all aspects of our work better makes her an invaluable member of our campus community. In addition to her coaching, she's served on staff council and is always willing to jump in.

Nominee: Trisha Jensen

Department: Career Center
Nominator: Jess Sweitzer
Nomination: Trisha is a mentor & a coach to all. She exemplifies what it means to be a griffin. T uses her position to create educational opportunities for our students and has their futures in mind when making decisions. This year, T has led her team through challenging changes. T acts with grace and professionalism. She models responsibility and compassion in all she does. I try to emulate her professionalism & positive attitude in all I do professional. What more can one ask from an exemplary griffin?

Nominee: Anna Leiber

Department: MSCMHC
Nominator: Dalton Bamburg
Nomination: Anna furthers the vision of Westminster to the fullest possible extent - she has helped direct the launch of Westminster's own Community Clinic and Training Center for our MSCMHC students to gain clinical experience. This center pairs trained MSCMHC students with members of the community for cost-free counseling and is a huge asset to both our students and our community. Anna embodies our commitment to equity and service in this life changing work.


Campus Innovation and Impact Award

The Campus Innovation and Impact Award recognizes a staff member or department who uses creativity to develop new or improve processes, systems, products, methods, or services and encourages others across the campus to do the same. The recipient makes innovation a priority and takes reasonable and calculated risks that improve Westminster and make the campus community a better place to live and work.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Carefully assesses and identifies problematic systems or processes impacting the campus community and quickly implements new ideas into action to solve the issue(s)
  • Questions existing assumptions and beliefs and considers diverse perspectives in challenging those ideals
  • Creatively navigates limited resources to address rising concerns impacting the university and provides a wide range of suggestions to approach change in a practical and mindful manner

Winner: Haley Mahler

Department: Career Center and Student Employment
Nominator: Trisha Jensen
Nomination: In Haley's 2.5 years she has fostered great change in the campus' student employment processes and successes. She conducted supervisor listening tours and used the feedback to expand campus supports. She also onboarded a new recruitment platform, introduced new supervisor trainings, and recently hosted our biggest Student Employment Appreciation week of events to date to celebrate our student employees and their supervisors. We had 100+ participants come and celebrate our student employees. WOW!

Nominee: Keaton Schrank

Department: Environmental Center and Purple Basket
Nominator: Bri LeBreton
Nomination: Keaton is campus impact personified. I'm impressed with Keaton innovative stance on enviro and food justice. One phrase Keaton tells me is "environmental justice is social justice." Keaton's passion for the work always has students needs at the forefront. An example of this work is advocating for the usage of the Purple Basket. Keaton truly is working to alleviate food insecurity on campus. She has increased fundraising efforts and created a Basic needs survey to better assess and serve students.


Student Success Award

The Student Success Award recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond to provide support and services for students. The recipient is known to create space for students to be heard and valued and acts as a mentor to students to create a transformational and accessible student experience. This staff member cares deeply about students and their education.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Seeks to improve services, processes, systems, and/or products that enhance the living and learning environment for Westminster students
  • Creates space for students to feel safe and respected and works diligently to advocate on behalf of students by bringing their voices to the decision table
  • Positively speaks about the university student experience while promoting new ideas to elevate the standards of learning at the university (i.e. through collaborative efforts with other departments and faculty)
  • Invests time and energy in mentoring and coaching students through their student development and creates learning opportunities outside the classroom for students to implement their learning into practice

Winner: Audrey Clare

Department: Career Center
Nominator: Trisha Jensen
Nomination: Audrey is an amazingly student-focused career coach, who meets with a wide range of Griffins- from exploring first years to alumni who have been laid off and are searching for their next steps. Her energetic approach and dedication to meeting students where they are makes her a very busy career coach, with many coming back to share their job search successes. Her focus on incorporating students' identities and experiences into the career development work done by the career center is invaluable.

Nominee: Bri LeBreton

Department: Student Diversity and Inclusion
Nominator: Keaton Schrank
Nomination: Bri is such a champion for students, especially those with marginalized identities. She goes above and beyond to make sure that students are supported and have access to the resources they need to be successful in and out of the classroom. I have personally seen Bri go out of her way to check in with students and help them with whatever problem they were dealing with. She serves as an amazing supervisor and mentor for students and helps them with their identity and academic development.

Nominee: Chanae Allred

Department: Marketing, Communication, and Events
Nominator: Claire Prasad 
Nomination: Chanae is constantly creating new opportunities for student success in the MarComm department. She works closely with students in creating a diverse range of digital media content, allowing students to gain invaluable skills that will help them in their future careers.

Chanae regularly meets with students and encourages them to share their ideas and take the lead on projects. This helps students feel confident and supported in their work. Chanae is more than deserving of this award!