SEFS Year-End Celebration: May 25!

Our annual Recognition Event has always been a festive celebration of all things SEFS, but the event’s name itself has sounded a bit stuffy. So this year we’re updating the name to the SEFS Year-End Celebration to reflect its proper role as a culminating party featuring a short awards program, wine and beer, catered snacks and the long-running silent auction!

We’ve set the date for this year’s celebration on Wednesday, May 25, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. For those who haven’t been before, it’s a wonderful occasion to recognize students and colleagues—including retiring faculty—who have made exemplary contributions to the school and academic community, and also just a great time to relax and chat with friends and colleagues.

2016_03_Year-End CelebrationAwards
We always kick off the event with the awards, and we’ll be presenting a range of student, staff and faculty honors. For students, the awards include the John A. Wott Fellowship in Plant Collection and Curatorship, and the Richard D. Taber Outstanding Wildlife Conservation Student Award. We will also present two Director’s Awards, one each for staff and faculty service.

After that, we depend on all of you to determine the final four awards, which are based entirely on nominations: Faculty Member of the Year, Staff Member of the Year, Graduate Student of the Year, and Undergraduate Student of the Year. We launched these awards two years ago to recognize the highest honor for a year of achievement and service, and they are open to nominations from all faculty, staff and students. Honorees will have their names engraved on a plaque in the Anderson Hall display case, so help us recognize the achievements of your students and colleagues.

Submitting a Nomination
Nomination letters do not need to be long—a good paragraph or two will suffice—but they should be specific and clearly demonstrate the qualities your candidate exemplifies. Nominations can recognize a wide range of qualities and accomplishments, whether in one area or across many, in one instance or sustained throughout the year. You may nominate more than one individual for each category, and all nominations will be reviewed by a panel of students, staff and faculty. You are not expected to know grant totals or grades or precise figures, though the selection committee may use these metrics as part of the selection process. Most important, all nominations must be sent to Sarah Thomas no later than Monday, May 2!

Below are some criteria and characteristics to consider:

1. Faculty Member of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Quality of teaching, advising and mentoring; student success in the field; new research grants and programs; recent publications, books, patents and invited lectures; contributions to the SEFS community and administration; preeminence in his/her field of study; etc. (Previous winners are Professors Sharon Doty and Jon Bakker.)

2. Staff Member of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Outstanding commitment to the school and supporting students, faculty and other staff; contributing to the positive spirit and cohesiveness of the school; outstanding, creative and/or innovative performance of duties; community participation and outreach; commitment to professional growth and development; etc. (Previous winners are Amanda Davis and Sarah Geurkink.)

3. Graduate Student of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Academic excellence and accolades; teaching; outstanding thesis/dissertation research and progress; extracurricular projects, collaborations and activities; conference presentations and other professional engagements; community participation and outreach; outstanding promise in his/her field of study; etc. (Previous winners are Hyungmin “Tony” Rho and Samantha Zwicker.)

4. Undergraduate Student of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Academic excellence and accolades; outstanding research projects; conference presentations and other professional engagements; extracurricular projects, collaborations and activities; community participation and outreach; outstanding promise in his/her field of study; etc. (Last year’s winner was Alison Sienkiewicz.)

Remember, nominations are due by Friday, April 29, so send them to Sarah as soon as possible!

2015 Recognition Event: Honorees and Auction Results!

In case you missed the SEFS Recognition Event this past Tuesday, we celebrated in style with a spirited wine tasting (featuring a record 38 donated bottles!), a delicious catered array of tapas offerings, all sorts of goodies in the Silent Auction, and, of course, our annual awards!

2015_05_Recognition ProgramWe’re still tallying the bids from the auction, but judging from the early returns, it looks like we are going to raise nearly $3,000 for the SEFS Scholarship Fund! If you won an item and didn’t pick it up on Tuesday night—or if you left early and don’t know whether you won yet—you can expect an email in the next few days. It will include instructions for how to make your donation online, as well as how to connect with a donor if you bid on a particular experience. Otherwise, you can pick up all unclaimed items in Karl Wirsing’s office in Anderson 107B.

Without further ado, the award results!

Staff Member of the Year: Sarah Geurkink
Faculty Member of the Year: Professor Jon Bakker
Graduate Student of the Year: Samantha Zwicker
Undergraduate Student of the Year: Sophia Winkler-Schor

(Each of these honorees received a certificate and will have his or her name added to the plaque display in Anderson Hall.)

The John A. Wott Fellowship in Plant Collection and Curatorship, given in recognition of outstanding research and contributions to the Washington Park Arboretum: Chris Watson

The Richard D. Taber Outstanding Wildlife Conservation Student Award, given in recognition of exemplary performance in wildlife conservation: Ghee-Hee Yang

Director’s Awards for Outstanding Service to the School
Faculty: Professor Josh Lawler
Staff: David Campbell

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating each of these deserving winners, as well as all of the fantastic nominees, for continuing to make our school such a vibrant and inspiring community.

Also, we’d like to give a special thank you to our selection committee, which had an especially challenging job this year, and to everyone who submitted a nomination letter. So many others helped pull this event together, as well, including Steve West spearheading another spectacular wine tasting (and for everyone who generously donated bottles); Greg Ettl for serving as Master of Ceremonies; Sarah Thomas for organizing the award process; Amanda Davis for managing the catering and a dozen other tasks; everyone who donated—and bid on—the wonderful prizes and experiences for the Silent Auction; and so many others. Thank you!

Already looking forward to next year!