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Four to receive Outstanding Employee Awards

Steve Miller outstanding employee award winnersUNT will honor four staff members with the newly defined Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award. This year, the award was re-established as the highest honor a staff member could receive, and it is given to employees who work professionally and collaboratively, promote the university’s mission and demonstrate strong initiative and a positive attitude.

President Smatresk will present these awards during the Staff Appreciation Luncheon, which is being rescheduled due to inclement weather.

The Steve Miller Outstanding Employee awards are after a former assistant vice president for human resources who died of cancer in 2005.

In addition to those honors, Smatresk will present new awards to 11 staff members, recognizing them for specific areas of excellence.

This year’s winners come from a wide variety of academic and service departments. InHouse asked the winners to describe how they strive for success in the area they are being recognized. Some reflected on specific areas where they have succeeded, and others reflected on the attitude they bring to work each day.

During Staff Appreciation Month, InHouse is featuring their responses:

Melissa BoyerMelissa Boyer, student services coordinator, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships

Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award

Students succeeding at UNT is what drives me. I love working at UNT because I can use my knowledge and experience to help students accomplish their goals, understand their finances and educate them in graduating with as little debt as possible. I’m always looking for ways to enhance services and do more for students and staff. I enjoy the work I do in Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, serving as a leader within our team, providing assistance, learning new information and training staff for excellent service. Working as part of a team allows me to be a part of making students’ dreams come true.

bruce HunterBruce Hunter, instructional lab supervisor II, Institute of Applied Science

Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award

“It takes a village.” Clichéd? Yes. Is it true? Absolutely. I am surrounded by wonderful co-workers and fantastic “clients” – our students. They are here because they have placed their trust in us to facilitate their success. I have the greatest co-workers because they also believe in that mission, and we love working together to achieve it. 

I have worked in many professions, but never in one like UNT, in which I am excited to go to work daily, where I am encouraged to be creative and productive, and where I feel personal success as our students move on in their careers. 

My goal has always been to help students to build careers. My world of geospatial technology is rather small; the community tight. It is a wonderful feeling to run into former students in the industry and to hear their appreciation of our efforts. The name of UNT is well known in our professional community, particularly in Texas, and I am very proud of that.

How do I strive for excellence? It’s easy. Belief in what we are doing, a ‘family’ of co-workers that I thoroughly enjoy, and excellent students who are fun, energized, excited and hard working. 

Julie Willems-EspinozaJulie Willems-Espinoza, assistant director II, Department of Marketing

Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award

In the UNT logistics program, we strive to be the best professionals we can be to set good examples for our students. We focus on not just the internal learning environment, but also bringing the external world to students as well via professional development events and networking opportunities with industry contacts.  The more we can expose students to before they leave us and the more tools we can add to their toolkits, the better they will be, the better our program will be, and employers will keep coming back to recruit. Since I joined the logistics program I have watched our rankings climb from unranked to 24th to 6th in North America by Gartner Inc. We will continue to strive toward a top ranking by adding new program elements, being externally focused and trying new ways to build soft skills, which is a commitment from both our team and our supporters. When a student talks to me about a job offer or having problems deciding between multiple job offers I feel one more victory has been accomplished. The more people I talk to every day, the more opportunities I have to create awareness of the wonderful program we offer.

Kevin YanowskiKevin Yanowski, administrative specialist IV, English

Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award

I strive to ensure that everyone I encounter at UNT is treated with kindness and respect. These simple actions foster a friendly, trusting and supportive community, which allows UNT to maintain a superb research environment and deliver a high quality educational experience.

Read what other staff members said.

 Here are the names of all Staff Appreciation Award recipients:

Customer Service Award:

Diversity Award:

Rising Star Award:

  • Naomi Alvarado, administrative coordinator II, History

UNT Spirit Award:

Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award:

Student Success Award:

—Compiled by Matthew Zabel, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

(Photo by Ahna Hubnik / URCM)

Posted on: Fri 20 February 2015

Owning Excellence

Faculty and staff members have roles in transforming UNT into a nationally prominent university. Share your ideas on how you can help UNT to own excellence, keep students on track and improve graduation education.

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