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ETSU presents 2013 Distinguished Staff Awards

Award recipients

JOHNSON CITY (June 6, 2013) – East Tennessee State University’s Staff Senate presented the 2013 Distinguished Staff Awards recently to recipients nominated by their peers.

Awards were presented in five EEOC categories, and also included a Career Award.  Recipients were given a plaque and a $2,000 monetary award.

The Career Award was presented to Christine Collins of the Office of Housing and Residence Life.  Collins, an executive aide, is in her 40th year of employment at ETSU.  She began her career at the university in the Department of Biology, and since then has also held positions in Geology, Industrial Education, Physical Education and Campus Recreation.  Through the years, the ETSU alumna has served on various committees and organizations, including the Wellness Committee, Student Affairs Staff Development Education Committee and Staff Senate, and she has been a captain and co-captain for the Relay for Life Survivor Team for four years.  Collins’ “kind demeanor and caring personality have (given) inspiration and encouragement to hundreds of students who have worked under her supervision or come to her for assistance with a problem,” her nominator wrote.  “Her coworkers have been blessed by her diligent efforts to be a team player.  She is very conscientious about representing ETSU well in the Johnson City community.”

Two Distinguished Staff Awards were presented in the Professional Non-Faculty (EEOC 3) category.

Karlota I. Contreras-Koterbay is director of Slocumb Galleries in the Department of Art and Design.  Since joining the university in 2006, she has “demonstrated her commitment to the cultural and artistic betterment of the campus and community” by developing a year-round exhibition program of shows and collaborative activities with various ETSU academic units and area organizations.  Her nomination points out that “she generously passes along her expertise when working with students, artists and peers.”  This includes helping 25 to 30 bachelor and master of fine arts degree candidates each year in organizing, preparing, installing and promoting the exhibitions that are the capstone requirements for their degrees.  Seeing the need for additional exhibition space, she worked to secure the Tipton Gallery in downtown Johnson City and has maintained this in-kind gift to the university since 2007.  Contreras-Koterbay has strengthened Slocumb Galleries’ Visiting Artist Series and has met funding challenges through partnerships, collaborations and grant-writing.

Sue Russell , Student Support Services office manager in the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, has a hand in nearly all the major events ETSU’s medical students experience, from orientation and their White Coat Ceremony as they enter the college all the way to graduation.  She organizes Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism honor society induction ceremonies and provides support for a variety of student group activities, including fundraisers and travel.  Russell’s nomination notes that because of her efforts, the college’s Student Affairs office “has not only continued to provide the necessary support to our students” during a time of budget cuts and reduced office staff, “but also managed to expand programs and activities … to ensure that the needs of our students are met.”  Russell “is the ‘go-to person’ for students and their seemingly unending questions,” one medical student wrote in support of her nomination.  “Regardless of her workload, she makes each student’s request or question important and the focus of her attention.  It is people like Ms. Russell who give Quillen a wonderful reputation as a great medical school and for having a ‘family-like’ community.”

Linda Adams received the Distinguished Staff Award in the Clerical and Secretarial (EEOC 4) category.  Adams, an information research technician in the Quillen College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, is praised by the faculty and medical residents of her department for her “professionalism, dedication and good humor.”  “She is often the first point of contact in solving a wide variety of time-consuming problems,” one physician wrote in support of her nomination.  “Her knowledge of ETSU rules and procedures, along with a cordial, yet focused, approach, invariably results in a solved problem.”  Another wrote, “She is efficient, intelligent, honest and professional.  I trust her judgment and seek her advice.  She greatly enhances my ability to do my job … (and) is known for her resourcefulness and persistence.” 

Brad Davis was presented the Distinguished Staff Award in the Technical and Paraprofessional (EEOC 5) category.  An electronic technician for the D.P. Culp University Center, Davis “is both a diplomat and a ‘behind-the-scenes’ wizard” who “handles students, guests and fellow employees with respect and gives everyone he encounters his best efforts,” his nominator wrote.  “Without Brad, the plays, concerts and other events held on campus would not be as smooth and enjoyable.”

The Distinguished Staff Award in the Skilled Crafts (EEOC 6) category went to Mike Nichols , an automotive mechanic in the Motor Vehicle Operations unit.  His nominator praised his dedication to ETSU and his job as he ensures that the vehicles in the university’s motor pool are in good working order.  “He is always pleasant, very professional and efficient, and for over 10 years my car has been clean, safe, gassed and ready to pick up.  I know I am always safe in my travels.”

Kelly Hunter Collins earned the Distinguished Staff Award in the Maintenance (EEOC 7) category.  Collins, a truck driver in Central Receiving, joined the university 12 years ago.  “Every single day, Kelly is out and about on campus making deliveries,” his nominator wrote.  “He is the face and voice of Central Receiving and he does a great job of representing us.  Kelly is very well-liked across the ETSU campus and trusted by all.  He handles literally millions of dollars of merchandise every year and does so flawlessly.”