UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Each year, the University Staff Advisory Council (USAC) selects three outstanding staff for their accomplishments and contributions to the University and honors them at a celebratory event.
Typically hosted in May by President Barron, the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but a virtual ceremony was held on May 21 to recognize winners from 2021 as well as the winners selected in 2020.
“We received more than 100 nominations this year. Being able to see the work our amazing staff at the University have accomplished in a year of upheaval and a world of unknowns is inspiring to say the least,” said USAC Awards Committee Chair and Chair-Elect Terra Ingram. “After much reading and deliberation, the Committee collectively decided on Brosi Bradley, Katina Posney, and Sonia Delaquito as this year’s awards recipients.”
Staff Leadership Award
Katina Posney, an administrative support coordinator in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at University Park, is the recipient of this year’s Staff Leadership Award, which goes to a staff member who inspires performance and supports those around them. Recognizing the natural gifts of their team members, they develop colleagues and seek ways to improve methods and practices for the betterment of their unit, the college and the University.
Her nominators shared, “Katina not only deserves the Staff Leadership Award, but she also exemplifies what it stands for. Katina is one of those rare staff people who brings a sunny, can-do personality, combined with an outstanding level of competence and exudes pure joy in being of service to others.”
In their nomination, some of Posney’s colleagues said they have noticed from day one in their department that she is the “go-to” person when there is a question, and that if she does not know the answer, she finds it for you. She is described as a natural leader with an unmatched ability to plan a strategy and make sure each task assigned is accurate and quickly completed. She works to develop the staff that works alongside her, encouraging professional development that will help them find their common core competencies while encouraging community building. Additionally, serves as a mentor to many and always works to find better ways to streamline processes and procedures to ensure that her department is working as efficiently as possible.
Staff Excellence Award
Sonia Delaquito, coordinator of the Learning Center at Penn State Berks, is the recipient of the Staff Excellence Award. This award recognizes an employee who behaves in an honest and ethical manner and embraces an understanding of social norms and other people’s perspectives. They foster creativity in problem solving, take initiative to make processes and procedures better and to make outstanding contributions the University, their communities and work units.
In the fall of 2020, along with her regular duties, Delaquito also served as the acting Student Disability Resources Coordinator at Penn State Berks. When the Penn State Homework Hotline initiative needed to be refreshed, she performed a detailed analysis of the program and determined it was not serving its original purpose, ultimately deciding to end the hotline. Her decision allowed reallocation of funds and staff to engage in different activities. She started a national network of professionals who share a common vision and was asked to be a featured speaker at the 39th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience held in Washington, D.C.
One of Delaquito's nominators noted, “One of her most impactful contributions to our college has been the co-facilitated creation and execution of the Lionside Chat series to promote intra- and inter-community engagement in remote settings. She has successfully coordinated, executed and advocated for the programming platform which has presented a wide array of topics beginning late spring 2020. These faculty-, staff- and student-led virtual sessions are designed to continue to build and strengthen our educationally based relationships within our community. The ‘Lionside Chats @ Berks’ series has included information on COVID-19, race and diversity issues, helping first-year students transition to college life and choose majors, resources available to students and more.”
Staff Morale Award
Brosi Bradley, a labs field technician in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is the recipient of the Staff Morale Award. This award recognizes an employee who leads with enthusiasm, fosters respectful and cooperative work climate, values others' opinions, practices active listening and is considered trustworthy by peers. Acting in an honest, optimistic and ethical manner, they work to create a culture that is safe and inclusive and help others to coalesce around institutional goals.
Bradley’s nominator said, “The workload is year-round and involves working in all types of conditions, precisely collecting and documenting data, and while managing both crops and people. She seamlessly integrates her work responsibilities with a proclivity for lifting spirits. In doing so, she teaches us all that having very high standards in our work doesn’t have to come with tough interpersonal interactions. Rather, our work and morale are uplifted together.”
Each year, Bradley organizes an art show that gives the scientists in the Agricultural Science and Industries Building a chance to socialize and show different sides of themselves. Additionally, she is working on creating a new exhibit for the Pasto Agricultural Museum to continue encouraging creativity and ways of expression. “These new types of expression – art and museum exhibits – help us hear different voices in our community and expose us to a broader suite of values and opinions,” wrote her nominator.
USAC congratulates this year’s winners and thanks all Penn State staff for their tremendous work this year to get us through one of the most trying experiences of our careers. The University is successful because of the work you do.
About the University Staff Advisory Council
USAC—the voice for Penn State staff—consists of dedicated staff who act in an advisory capacity to the central administration; explore issues, policies and practices that impact staff; suggest revisions to policies and new policy initiatives; and advocate for staff welfare and development. USAC serves the president and his administration through the vice president of human resources and accepts new members annually. USAC can be contacted via email at [email protected] and can also be found on Facebook.
Staff members from across the University may engage with the Council through USAC’s ‘get involved’ page.