Spring 2020 Changemaker of the Week


Spring 2020 Changemaker of the Week

Spring 2020 Changemaker of the Week

Each week during the spring 2020 semester, we honored a Drew faculty or staff member who made a difference during this unique time. Individuals named moved us forward institutionally in the new DVT environment by offering new opportunities for faculty and/or staff, providing an educational moment, or somehow made work better for others in a positive and meaningful way.

Week of July 8: President MaryAnn Baenninger

Here’s just some of what MaryAnn’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew during DVT:
"MaryAnn has led senior administrators, staff, faculty, students, trustees and the community through this pandemic. Her leadership had been indispensable and without pause. Additionally, she has brought constituents together on campus—that is unprecedented in most higher education models. In fact, this collaboration has guided some of the narratives within the Middle States Self Study,” "Personally she has guided many of us to reach new professional growth while softly pushing us to strive for more. Her leadership, mentorship and unrelenting support will be missed,” "What MaryAnn has made possible over the last five months is nothing short of spectacular and she has managed to set up shared services with Saint Elizabeth's University at the same time. This is pretty amazing!” "MaryAnn has been a fearless leader and friend through this trying and uncertain time. She has always led with fairness, compassion, and certainty. She has allowed us to explore new possibilities within ourselves and the University. I will be forever grateful for all that she has taught me,” "I truly admire MaryAnn and the unwavering strength and leadership she has demonstrated over these last few months in particular. She’s led Drew through challenging circumstances and continues to support us as we plan for the next chapter of our University. I am proud to have served this institution, our staff, and our students under her leadership,” "MaryAnn has approached DVT as she approaches all tasks—with knowledge, logic, organization, and dedication. She acknowledges problems and roadblocks and addresses them systematically in a way that moves us all closer to our end goals,” "Her work on DVT has prepared us to weather this challenging moment for Drew, and from her we have learned a lot about how to approach these kinds of challenges in the future.” Congratulations and thank you, MaryAnn!

Week of July 1: Doug Sage, Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach

Here’s what Doug’s colleagues had to say about their contribution to Drew and DVT: "Doug has been a real positive leader for the coaches and athletic staff with his weekly coffee club discussions. He has covered a wide range of important subjects that have made all of us dig deep in thought about answers and solutions to some very serious topics. In short, Doug Sage has made us all better during this critical time period,” "when DVT started back in March Doug worked with Head Coach Darryl Keckler to move their student-athletes leadership meetings, "Win the Ranger Way," to virtual on Zoom. Coach Sage and Keckler offered 3 different hourly meetings every Tuesday and Thursday to accommodate more student-athletes. After a few successful weeks with the student-athletes, Doug created a Wednesday morning coach "Coffee Club" where he discussed the leadership topics they were working on with our athletes. As time progressed, Doug took it upon himself to grow these Wednesday morning "Coffee Clubs" into engaging opportunities for professional development for our Head Coaches. He introduced works from Jon Gordon, Simon Sinek, Brenee Brown, Les Brown, and Angela Duckworth, among others. We worked on building a positive culture, our core values, recruiting philosophies, etc, as well as addressing current events affecting our Drew community. Our entire department has grown closer and stronger as a group during these challenging times thanks to Doug Sage's efforts on our behalf and that's why I believe he deserves this honor,” "He has been working tirelessly to keep the department engaged and involved with new ideas. Since DVT began Doug has led weekly meetings bringing new topics to the table that all department members can engage with. It has bonded our department more while we are so far from each other,” "Doug has been creative and thoughtful while engaging the entire athletic department and keeping everyone involved in professional development," "Doug has done a tremendous job bringing our athletic department together and helping to make us stronger throughout our DVT time. He has challenged us to grow and learn each week as well as get to know each other better so that we can become stronger when we come back to campus.” Congratulations and thank you, Doug!

Week of June 24: Candace Reilly, Special Collections Associate, Methodist Archives/Library

Here’s what Candace’s colleagues had to say about their contribution to Drew and DVT: “Candace has long been a champion for Drew students. This is no more evident than the announcement that one of our student workers, Jessica Corjuo, won the Student Worker of the Year for the whole state of New Jersey! It was through Candace’s hard work, care, and mentoring that Jessica was able to thrive in her position in the Archives. Candace works closely with a lot of our student workers in the department and has helped the students to learn and grow on the job, truly exemplifying what Drew and Launch are all about,” "Candace put her efforts and energies into making the Archives website and social media as welcoming, enjoyable, and helpful space as she helps make the physical building. Through the creation of a "virtual" Reading Room, constant updates to the Drew community through blog posts, and an ever-popular Instagram account (@drewarchives), Candace has transferred her amazing skills from in-person to online with great success,” "our faculty and students have benefited from her work by being able to still access resources from the archives through various platforms. This includes direct guest lectures in classes that Candace and I run, giving people a chance to "see" the archival material and rare books even from a distance. I am so proud to have Candace working for me in the Special Collections department and cannot think of a better person to receive this recognition as a Changemaker!” Thank you, Candace!

Week of June 17: Jack Margiotta, Facilities Service Coordinator

Here’s what Jack’s colleagues had to say about his contribution to Drew and DVT: "Jack has taken on a leadership role in the Facilities Department by working more closely with the maintenance, custodial, and grounds teams as well as supervising student workers. He has been keeping everyone focused during a tough and ever-changing environment and he is committed to keeping the work moving forward. He consistently has a great attitude and is willing to work with everyone to prepare the campus for the students returning,” "Jack shows up to campus every day with a smile to provide the necessary support to all the Facilities personnel working on campus. He responds to requests for service from our on-campus student community, he leads the Facilities student employee team each day, works with Public Safety on the general oversight of the campus and assists faculty and staff both on-campus and off-campus as needed. He is integral to keeping the Facilities Department running,” "Jack has done an outstanding job keeping Facilities coordinated during DVT. He has supervised the student work crew in preparing buildings for reopening in August, all times with a smile on his face,” "He's been very helpful and supportive to everyone who comes by or calls Facilities looking for support.” Congratulations and thank you, Jack!

Week of June 10: Rachel Sawyer, Coordinator of Residential Engagement

Here’s what Rachel’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: "Rachel is unequivocally and unapologetically an advocate for all students. She has single-handedly created space for black and brown students to feel seen and heard. She is an asset on all accounts,” “Rachel is always sharing knowledge on how to be an ally and support people of color and the LGBTQ+ community,” “Rachel and the CRE team are essential for a reason—we couldn't do what we do without them! The CRE team has continued to work and live on campus over the last three months providing resources for our students still residing on campus and our students returning to move out their belongings,” "Rachel is on the frontlines providing our students, parents and other members of the Drew community with the excellent customer service and care needed to help diffuse the worry and concern that comes with these uncertain times.” Congratulations and thank you, Rachel!

Week of June 3: Steph Mazzarella, Director of Student Engagement

Here’s what Steph’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: "Steph has been an incredible team member in Student Engagement. She literally can do ANYTHING! She has done incredible work this year as she stepped into a leading role overseeing and managing many processes related to student housing, a process that can bring out the best of some, and at times the most challenging aspects of others. This is her first year managing this program and she's learning and navigating it in this new DVT environment," "Regardless of what challenges come her way, Steph always gives 150% in her role, and she is appreciated by students, parents, and her colleagues for her endless dedication to help students and provide them with an outstanding experience at Drew,” "the backbone of all housing logistics and behind the scenes elements of our housing system. Steph tackled her first housing application process this past month with grace amidst the challenges brought on by DVT. Steph's positive attitude and determination to provide all students with an outstanding experience at Drew also makes her the backbone of the Res Life team," "Steph is always willing to jump in and help anyone! She continues to take on projects during DVT and executes all of them masterfully.” Congratulations and thank you, Steph!

Week of May 27: Joelle Falaise, Assistant Director, Educational Opportunity Scholars

Here’s what Joelle’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: “Joelle has been, what Professor Son calls, a Joy Finder. She reminds me of new ways to be a Joy Finder as well,” “Ms. Falaise helps our students find new ways of addressing life in the COVID-19 pandemic. Counseling and providing workshops online is not easy, but she has shown patience, leadership and provides the energy to give students hope and the practical means to find and share joy,” “she helps the students to find the space for personal reflection, and as a result, new ways to make creativity and balance new avenues to be joyful rather than anxious,” “her work is a great gift to our students and to the staff.” Congratulations and thank you, Joelle!

Week of May 20: Heather Robinson, Director, Campus Experience for Admissions

Here’s what Heather’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: "Heather has coordinated and moderated numerous virtual webcasts and yield events for admitted students since DVT began,” "she has worked across the campus community to partner with faculty, staff and students so that we can continue to promote Drew in this virtual environment,” "she is coordinating our student-to-student outreach programs via calling campaigns and our social engagement platform,” "Heather did an excellent job moderating our CLA virtual reception post Commencement. All students felt celebrated and heard,” "Heather pivoted on a dime to provide admitted students and prospective students virtual campus experiences that gave them exposure to an admitted student experience, classroom experiences and interaction with current Drew students, professors and cabinet members.” Congratulations and thank you, Heather!

Week of May 13: Max (Yifan) Zhang, Experiential Education Manager & Chinese Language and Culture Advisor, Tilghman International Student Center, INTO Drew

Here’s what Max’s colleagues had to say about his contribution to Drew and DVT: “From the start, Max has worked very hard to ensure accessibility of information, with care and deep consideration,” “Max is a consistent advocate for our international students,” “he always looks for opportunities for his students to thrive and feel connected during this time,” “Max is always a joy to work with,” “Max organized and facilitated opportunities for our Chinese students to have access to Commencement activities and stay connected to Drew.” Congratulations and thank you, Max!

Week of May 6: Jenn Islam, Launch Catalyst, Immersive Learning Coordinator, Center for Internships and Career Development

Here’s what Jenn’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: “Jenn is an unsung hero of DVT,” “she’s been a constant force in the successful execution of the Drew 110 Launch semester and only enhanced that support once the courses went virtual,” “she’s a key member of the Center for Internships and Career Development and hosts several career workshops for our students; she consistently advocates for our students and wants to make sure they are getting what they need,” “she’s always willing to lend a helping hand on any project with any department or any task,” “Jenn’s positivity is infectious in a time when we need it most.” Congratulations and thank you, Jenn!

Week of April 29: Audra Tonero, Assistant Director, Outreach/Education, Center for Counseling and Psychological Services

Here’s what Audra’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: “Provides students with positive and thoughtful posts to read every day,” "she is easing the minds of students,” "enthusiastically supported the ideas of her staff and no matter what," "kick-started virtual programming efforts, took her counseling services online to support students, and has been leading the @DrewCounseling Instagram account with her uplifting and informative posts,” "she is creative, thoughtful, a problem solver and always looking for new ways to engage the Drew community.” Congratulations and thank you, Audra!

Week of April 22: Kristen Daily Williams, Executive Director, Communications & Marketing

Here’s what Kristen’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: “Kristen has been the lifeline to keep the Drew community informed throughout DVT,” "She helps all departments finesse their communication, ensures that our overall communication is clear and is always such a joy to work with,” "Kristen has been an incredible partner to work with, and we were so far ahead of our peers because of the endless hours she put into drafting messages and posting text online. She is always willing to help strategize and partner with all areas of the university communications, often taking on more than is required," “Kristen has provided incredible leadership to our team and others across the university. She’s taken on so many projects of all shapes, sizes and priorities, and set up both Communications and Drew at large for success at every turn," “I have learned so much from Kristen during DVT. She has so much on her plate but is gracious with her time and always willing to coach someone on better ways to communicate effectively,” “She’s an amazing mentor and leader!” Congratulations and thank you, Kristen!

Week of April 15: Joan Galbraith, Director of Health Services

Here’s what Joan’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: “Joan took on new unprecedented challenges in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak,” “was able to keep Health Services staffed and open without any disruption in service,” “Joan was ready when the time came to switch our office to entirely telehealth,” "she kept the students at Drew healthy and safe, while calming many fears of parents,” "Joan has been there for the university and her staff through all of this, many nights losing sleep trying to figure out how best to take care of our students, who are our patients.” Congratulations and thank you, Joan!

Week of April 8: Megan McHugh, Director of Student Activities

Here’s what Megan’s colleagues had to say about her contribution to Drew and DVT: “She is creative and energetic and a great team player/leader,” “helping create community for the students and staff/faculty alike,” “headed into this crisis full steam ahead,” “is smart, creative, organized, always positive, always willing to help, an incredible team player and above all else, extremely kind.” “Megan's virtual programming is incredible!” “She is a superstar!” Thank you, Megan.

Week of April 1: Shawn Spaventa, Director of Instructional Technology

Here’s what Shawn’s colleagues had to say about his contribution to Drew and DVT: "Working tirelessly and generously,” “an amazing colleague under the best of circumstances, and these are far from that,” “above and beyond in his dedication to Drew” and “an integral part of strategizing instructional continuity planning and ensuring the transition to DVT for students, faculty, and staff is as seamless as possible.” Congratulations, Shawn!

Week of March 25: Frank Merckx, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Affairs & Dean of Students

Since January, Frank has been leading the charge to ensure Drew is compliant with federal, state and local orders related to COVID-19. He has guided other New Jersey colleges and universities with their planning and coordinated efforts among these schools. Amazingly, he’s managed all of this while retaining his sense of humor! Thank you, Frank.