The Distinguished Staff Awards, the university’s highest staff recognition, annually honors 12 staff members for their exceptional leadership, accomplishments and service to The Ohio State University.
On Tuesday, April 30, the honorees were recognized by university leaders, including President Michael V. Drake, MD, during a luncheon at the Longaberger Alumni House. This year’s winners received a $1,500 cash award, a $700 base salary increase and an engraved trophy. In addition, the recipients will be honored on the field at Ohio Stadium during the August 31 Ohio State football game.
Staff members are nominated and carefully chosen by the selection committee based on the following contributions:
- Enhancing the quality of work life for colleagues or customers
- Providing outstanding and ongoing service to university stakeholders
- Developing creative solutions to increase department or university operations
- Consistent demonstration of once or more of the university’s values
Congratulations to the 2019 Distinguished Staff Award recipients:
Senior Director of Dining Services
Office of Student Life – Dining Services
Zia Ahmed’s student-centric approach to reimagining the dining experience for Ohio State Dining Services has led to a locally-, nationally- and internationally-recognized operation. His focus on creating an extraordinary dining experience is demonstrated by how he worked closely with students to create menu options for diverse medical and religious dietary preferences, co-chaired the university’s “40% Local and Sustainable by 2025 Panel” and led student service-learning trips. Zia was also recently recognized with one of the National Association of College and University Food Services’ most prestigious awards.
Program Director of Outreach and Engagement
Quanetta Batts is known for the compassion and generosity she puts into her work, going above and beyond in providing excellent service and developing creative solutions. Her innovative nature led to the implementation of an online process workflow that increased Ohio State library efficiency and an online tool that facilitated idea sharing and problem-solving. Additionally, Quanetta’s unwavering commitment to helping others has impacted people beyond Ohio State’s campus through the relationships and volunteer efforts she has established with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the OSU Reads program and the Expanding Visions Foundation.
Director of Program Management
Facilities Design and Construction
Cyndi Fout has played a pivotal role in successfully managing countless construction projects throughout the university and medical center. With a collaborative, innovative and resilient leadership style, she has delivered projects ranging from classroom renovations, residence halls, hospital facilities and the Mirror Lake district. She also implemented projects to increase effectiveness and efficiency, such as a project contracting initiative and a construction management software program. Combined with her expertise and foresight, Cyndi’s humble and empathetic nature make her an appreciated, well-respected leader and colleague.
Department of English
As a key contributor to one of the largest graduate English programs globally, Kathleen’s calm demeanor navigating complex projects is a reassurance to students, faculty and staff throughout the department. Her unconditional support of more than 150 students – from application to beyond graduation–helps enable their success as students and young professionals. Kathleen’s initiative and innovation have greatly impacted the department, and she is lauded for her effort to establish the Graduate minor in English.
Department of Speech and Hearing Science
Patients, faculty, staff and students recognize Shannon Hand as the “heart and soul” and the “backbone” of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science. Her patient-centered care, empathetic listening and task-oriented skill set have significantly enhanced the customer service experience. Additionally, Shannon’s relationship-building skills have greatly benefited the department, particularly through the connection she maintains with previous graduate students, which fosters connections and collaboration with other clinics in the region and across the country.
Faculty Recruitment Coordinator
Department of Pathology
College of Medicine
Wendy Karavolos is a model of excellence in faculty recruiting and candidate care, which has been an integral part of the department’s faculty recruitment focus. Wendy has coordinated the hiring of highly-qualified faculty members across the pathology discipline, and her thoughtful approach makes her an asset to the recruitment of new faculty and the onboarding process. With a constant focus on creating a seamless interview and employment experience, Wendy created standardized hiring materials and makes herself available as a trusted mentor to new employees.
Health and Safety Program Coordinator
College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Kent McGuire values and fosters an environment that is safe for employees. He goes above-and-beyond to develop safety initiatives to protect employees in a diverse variety of areas such as chemical labs, machine shops and research farms. Through creative solutions and outstanding service, Kent has developed a more interactive safety program, implemented strategies to increase safety awareness and conducted training to reduce employee injuries. His work has positively impacted more than 2,500 Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science employees across all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. He has also cultivated strong partnerships with other university health and safety experts to maintain safe facilities and work environments.
First Year Experience
Office of Student Academic Success
Jenny Osborn embodies a “student-first” mentality in every aspect of her role and is known for her “Buckeye heart.” As an advocate for a positive student experience with a detail-oriented approach, Jenny facilitates a compassionate, welcoming orientation experience for all new students on the Columbus campus. Her commitment to collaboration and always doing what is right for students is evident through her close relationships with student groups, campus partners and regional campuses. She also represented the university by co-chairing the Large Institution Network for NODA, the association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education.
Senior Design Engineer
Department of Astronomy
Dan Pappalardo’s exceptional leadership has extended the international reputation of the Department of Astronomy for its ground-based instrumentation development used by astronomers worldwide. Dan has designed numerous instrument electronics systems, and one of his greatest contributions was introducing industrial standards for motion control and systems automation. In addition to his remarkable work, Dan is also appreciated for the hands-on mentoring experience he provides undergraduate electronics engineering students.
University Center for the Advancement of Teaching
Stephanie Rohdieck plays an important role in advancing Ohio State’s teaching mission with her thoughtful, expert guidance and support. Since 1999, she has provided instructional consultations, workshops and resources to thousands of teachers, who in turn have been better equipped to positively impact the learning of countless students throughout every college at the university. Stephanie’s passion for her work extends to the leadership she brings to Ohio State’s teaching initiatives, the mentorship she provides to her team members and the dedication she puts into shaping the future of the educational development field.
Advanced Practice Providers, The James Cancer Hospital
With a passion for health care, Robin Rosselet has helped increased staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and advance the work of the Advanced Practice Professionals (APP) program at The James. Through leadership, innovation and a genuine affinity for people, Robin developed a new graduate APP fellowship to provide better support and education. She also established multiple initiatives to expertly train and mentor APPs as well as drive collaboration across the university. Her efforts also contributed to The James APP Fellowship receiving the American Nurses Credentialing Center accreditation with distinction, the first in the country.
Academic Advisor and Staff Assistant
Center for Life Sciences Education
Peggy Strow is recognized for her supportive and encouraging approach to advising hundreds of biology students. During her career at Ohio State, the number of biology majors has more than doubled, but the personal connections she establishes to help students succeed has helped improve retention and time to graduation. Her collaboration also supported regional campuses in implementing the biology major. Additionally, during her time with the university, Peggy played an integral role in the quarter-to-semester transition and enhanced the efficiency of the Center for Life Sciences Education advising system.