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!

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!

Recognition Event: Honorees and Auction Results!

Yesterday afternoon—Monday, May 19—a great crowd of students, staff and faculty gathered in the Forest Club Room for the annual SEFS Recognition Event. It was a high-spirited celebration of our school and community, including the presentation of a number of awards, recognition of retiring faculty (David Ford and Frank Greulich), fantastic catered snacks and enough wine to keep a cruise ship afloat.

Silent Auction

Browsing some terrific options for the Silent Auction.

It also looks like we eclipsed our total from the Silent Auction last year and should raise more than $3,100 for the SEFS Student Scholarship Fund. Nice work, everyone!

In case you missed the fun, below are the honorees for this year’s awards. Congratulations to all of you, and to the many other tremendous nominees!

Staff Member of the Year: Amanda Davis*
Faculty Member of the Year: Sharon Doty*
Graduate Student of the Year: Hyungmin “Tony” Rho*
Undergraduate Student of the Year: Alison Sienkiewicz*

Director’s Award for Faculty Service: Sarah Reichard
Director’s Award for Staff Service: Theresa Santman

The John A. Wott Fellowship in Plant Collection and Curatorship: Eve Rickenbaker
The Richard D. Taber Outstanding Wildlife Conservation Student Award: Kyla Caddey

* Each of these honorees will have his/ her name engraved on a permanent plaque display in Anderson Hall, to be unveiled later this summer.

A HUGE thanks, as well, to everyone who helped pull this event together. Contributions were many and much appreciated, including: Greg Ettl for serving as Master of Ceremonies; Vince Gallucci and Ettl for commemorating departing faculty; Nevada Smith for arranging the catering and door prizes; Abraham Ngu and Amanda Davis for helping set up the room in advance; Michelle Trudeau for impressively folding every single program; Steve West for organizing another spectacular wine tasting; the awards committee for reviewing an exceptionally large and competitive candidate pool; and everyone who donated—and bid on—the wonderful prizes and experiences for the Silent Auction. I know I’m forgetting some important contributors, but know that I appreciated every nudge of help and support. Thank you!

Photos © SEFS.

Silent Auction