SEFS Year-End Celebration: Tuesday, May 23!

We’re excited to announce the date for our annual SEFS Year-End Celebration is set for Tuesday, May 23, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Anderson Hall courtyard!

For those who haven’t been before, the Year-End Celebration is a high-spirited occasion to recognize students and colleagues—including retiring faculty—who have made exemplary contributions to the school and academic community. After the short awards portion up front, though, we dive into the catered snacks, an expansive wine tasting, a silent auction to raise money for the SEFS student scholarship fund (more on that to come!), and general merriment. This year, as well, we’re planning to make the party more of a spring picnic in the Anderson courtyard, so cross your fingers for a sunny afternoon (assuming such a vision still survives in your memory).

Remember this guy last year? SEFS doctoral student Matthew Aghai went home the big winner in the Silent Auction—to us, anyway—when he bid on this greater kudu head, donated by Professor Laura Prugh.

Awards
We always kick off the fun 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 three 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 the plaques in the Anderson Hall display case.

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 call out 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 emailed to Sarah Thomas no later than Friday, May 5!

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 include Professors Sharon Doty, Jon Bakker and Patrick Tobin.)

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 include Amanda Davis, Sarah Geurkink and David Campbell.)

3. Graduate Student of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Academic excellence and accolades; quality of 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 include Hyungmin “Tony” Rho, Samantha Zwicker and Allison Rossman)

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, leadership and outreach; outstanding promise in his/her field of study; etc. (Previous winners include Alison Sienkiewicz, Sophia Winkler-Schor and Stephen Calkins.)

Remember, nominations are due by Friday, May 5, so send them to Sarah as soon as possible!