Spring 2019 Classified Staff Excellence Award

Amanda Brown
Amanda Brown

Congratulations to Amanda Brown, recipient of the 2019 Spring Quarter Classified Staff Excellence Award!

Brown is a Library and Archives Paraprofessional 3 for Cannell Library. During her career at Clark College, she was promoted to a part-time supervisory position and then to her current full-time role. Colleagues say that few people know Clark Libraries operations as well as Brown does. Focused on customer service and students, she is committed to encouraging students whenever possible.

“From hiring to graduation, Amanda is an active participant in our student workers’ success,” wrote a nominator. “She organized our department’s participation in the Winter 2019 student job fair to broaden the applicant pool for the position. She spends weeks collecting nominations for OSWALDs for students because she is committed to encouraging them at every level possible. Amanda also makes sure to promote students to more-advanced jobs when there are openings in our department.”

In addition to being student-focused, Amanda is someone who is seen as a resource in the library. “Many people pass through her office every day to ask her questions, which she patiently and thoughtfully answers,” observed a colleague.

Amanda is also committed to advancing Clark College’s mission and values by serving on various teams and committees such as the User Experience Committee for Clark Libraries, the Clark Art Committee, and the Clark College Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). One person said, “No matter the committee on which she serves, Amanda is quite simply a leader. Our department is lucky to have her, and so is Clark.”

Below are additional comments about Amanda:

  • “As an alumna as well as an employee of Clark, Amanda always looks for ways to contribute her time and skills to the community. In addition to her work on the User Experience Committee for Clark Libraries, Amanda also serves on the Clark Art Committee, CERT, and has been working with the administration on a comprehensive Libraries policy review. Her work on CERT especially has made her coworkers feel safer and more prepared to protect ourselves and our patrons in case of an emergency. As an advocate for Clark Libraries in these committees, Amanda makes sure that our department aligns itself with collegewide initiatives.”
  • “I also want to highlight how Amanda’s creativity has specifically benefited the library. The Clark Libraries Marketing Committee (on which she served for several quarters) recently designed an extensive set of templates to use for signs that are in line with the Brand Guide. Amanda was one of the lead creators of this project, and we print new signs from her templates almost every week. Additionally, every time I create promotional materials using the templates, I always check in with her because she knows just the expressive pop to make the sign really stand out, such as using the bold rather than standard font.”
  • “Amanda actively looks for ways to go above and beyond to serve Clark students. Last week, a student came to the Check Out Desk to check out a course reserve and was clearly upset. Amanda asked them about their day, and they told her that they were checking out the reserve because they had left their backpack on the bus an hour ago. Amanda was able to find the right numbers for them to call and even offered to get in touch with her own contacts at C-TRAN to make sure they were checking in all the right places.”

Congratulations, as well, to all nominees for the 2019 Spring Quarter Classified Staff Excellence Award:

Margaret (Peg) Estes is a Program Specialist 2 in Credential Evaluations. Among her other duties, she does all the diploma printing for Commencement.

Estes is described as someone who is not only good at her job, but is said to go above and beyond every day. One person said, “She not only does her job duties but she takes on new project whenever asked. Peg is amazing about just getting the work done, no excuses. Peg will stay overtime if asked, she has been helping with the build for the new CTC systems. Even when she has a lot on her plate, she still is very helpful with training and positive in giving directions. I really enjoy learning from Peg as a new employee. I think she is an amazing person and I look up to her work ethic!”

Additional comments about Peg:

  • “Peg has saved a lot of students from having to take extra classes or having to move their files. She is very in touch with her students and helps them stay on top of graduation requirements. Peg puts the students first even if she has a lot of other projects to work on, she always make sure students question are answered or problem gets taken care of right away.”
  • “Peg has great communication skills, she is very interactive with the faculty, staff, students and the public. She has shown me what a positive, hard-working employee looks like and she definitely goes above expectations on all her work.”

Darci Feider is a Program Coordinator for Student Life. She is described as someone who consistently goes above and beyond and is said to be a great team player. One person even said, “Darci is the best team player that I have ever had the joy of working with.”

Feider regularly manages the entire Student Life office on her own during the coffee rush, helps students fill out purchasing paperwork, and even sometimes puts together entire one-time funding request packets together on the student’s behalf when they are unable to do so on their own. Taking a student-centered approach, she is always helping with events, representing Student Life, and is said to be the “backbone” of any successful event that is sponsored by Student Life. It is said that “students (and the Student Leaders) always feel comfortable coming to Darci with questions because she never wavers with her helpful and cheerful nature.”

Additional Comments about Darci:

  • “Recently, Darci has taken on the project of planning a new floorplan for Student Life that is more inviting for students, because some students think the front desk and double doors are intimidating. This was a huge undertaking and she wasn’t asked to take it on, but it looks like, thanks to her, we are working on getting a quote to see how much a remodel might cost. Since this is a huge obstacle for Student Life, this project is a game-changer for the office.”
  • “If ASCC or APB is shorthanded and she can catch a break from her 1000 other responsibilities, she will be there to lend a hand, especially with preparation and set-up which is the backbone of any successful event. Darci makes every student in the office, in clubs, or visiting Student Life feel welcome, respected, and valued.”
  • “Her door is always open so students involved in clubs and programs always have access to her wealth of knowledge. She always helps students navigate through the treacherous sea that is purchasing, travel, and one-time funding request paperwork.”

Karina Gress is an Instruction and Classroom Support Tech 2 for Chemistry who colleagues say is a key contributor to the success of the Chemistry department. One person said, “She strives to ensure that students have the materials they need, that faculty are happy with the set-up, and that errors are corrected quickly.”

Gress’ work has a positive impact not just on her direct department, but on STEM as a whole. A nominator wrote that she “was a key contributor to the design and planning of the STEM Building. Karina learned how to read blue prints and schematic diagrams, and spent hours poring over them, ensuring that our labs and prep spaces had adequate power, storage, and experimentation space. She worked with movers and Facilities to coordinate moving equipment, chemicals, and materials while classes were in session during the summer 2016 term, to ensure that everything was ready for a busy Fall term in the new building.” One person said, “Karina has been an important liaison between the chemistry department and Facilities Services, ensuring that our students are experimenting in a safe and supportive environment.”

Additional comments about Karina:

  • “Karina has stepped up again in the spring term, as the other lab technician has left Clark College for other opportunities. Although this time, she was able to transition into the additional workload, Karina is still facing similar challenges as before. As she had some warning, Karina has worked diligently to prepare materials for her main job early, to carve out time for the additional workload. This has benefitted many of our students, as they have been able to work on experiments early, allowing the students to manage their time and workload heading towards some large, culminating projects in their science lecture courses.”
  • “During the winter 2019 term, Karina’s increased workload came with an additional challenge – the other technician was set to prepare equipment and materials for the Regional Science Olympiad (RSO). Again, with only few weeks to prepare, while performing regular fulltime duties of her own and of the other lab technician, Karina worked with the RSO coordinators and faculty to prepare chemical materials and equipment for this event, which is attended by middle and high school students across southwest Washington. This event is important to attract the next generation of Penguins to STEM at Clark College!”
  • Another faculty member writes: “She is quick to respond to faculty needs when equipment fails, is ready to lend a helping hand, and replaces broken equipment and empty stock bottles when we call. She’s like the Batwoman of the chemistry lab – always there to answer the call.”

Jennifer King is a Program Coordinator in Advising Services. Jennifer is praised for her high commitment to the college, exemplary customer service, and great value to Advising Services. Her contributions to the Clark College community include not just her technical ability, but also her customer service skills and her commitment to making Clark a welcoming environment.

One person said, “Recently we have been tasked with getting Insight, a new scheduling tool, up and running for Advising Services to pilot. This has been a daunting task and Jen has been instrumental in moving us to a place where we can be assured of a smooth roll-out. This took many hours of combing through the program, investigating all the options, syncing issues, and more. Jen developed a detailed training guide for advisors and another for support staff, making it easier to acclimate to this new program.”

Additional comments about Jennifer:

  • “Jen has been observed showing empathy for a student that was faced with personal difficulties that affected their education. She was caring and empathetic to the need and, as always, went the extra mile to facilitate a solution. This same attention is given to each student that Jen works with.”
  • “Jen is not shy to give feedback or ask questions, both in our office or in meetings. She seeks clarity and understanding. The college benefits from her willingness to do so.”
  • “Jen’s previous experience working with Running Start students and parents has been a benefit to Advising since the move of that area to our shared offices. She has a vast knowledge and is very helpful to both parents and front staff who have Running Start questions. Support staff are appreciative of her willingness to assist.”