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Organizational Excellence

Staff Recognition Awards

Congratulations to the 2021 Winners

In an effort to further recognize the exemplary work of our staff we launched the Staff Awards program in January 2020. (This program was the result of a 2018 Bold Idea and recommendation of a CAIFE team and was modeled after the Provost’s awards).

Congratulations to each of the 2021 winners. 

Bulldog Spirit 2021 Winner

DeAnn Vonberg







DeAnn Vonberg, Retiree - Office of Faculty Affairs

The Bulldog Spirit award recognizes a staff member who displays exceptional Fresno State pride and spirit.

An excerpt from the nomination submitted by Diane Volpp:

We are proud and excited to nominate DeAnn VonBerg, Faculty Affairs for the Bulldog Spirit Award. She is the definition of spirit, passion, and pride for Fresno State. She promotes, shares, invites, and educates others about being a Bulldog.  For the new faculty that she onboard each semester, she shares a wealth of information on how to engage on campus with resources, athletics, students, arts, and other employees.  Over the years she has on-boarded over 350 new faculty members.

DeAnn participates in everything she can to share her excitement about Fresno State - from leading Transformation Challenge groups, to attending wellness classes, to giving high-fives to new students, to the Red Friday celebrations - DeAnn is there. DeAnn is known for visiting art exhibits during lunch and then returning to the office to share exhibit information about them - showing excitement and encouraging others to attend. She spends time outside of work, learning about events, and even about the people behind the events.  She is a Bulldog and a champion of Fresno State!

Congratulations to DeAnn!

Spirit of Innovation 2021 Winners

Samantha Ray,

Samantha Ray, Kreman School of Education and Human Development

The Innovation Award recognizes a staff member who has made exceptional contributions and improvements to their department or division through creativity and innovative thinking.

An excerpt from the nomination submitted by Rebecca Wass and Selena Kinder:

Sam was the first communication specialist to take on major website upgrades and worked hand-in-hand with Fatih in Technology Services to complete the project. Their website launched March 30, 2021. 

While undergoing her own website updates, Sam took time to prepare and present a power-packed hour-long presentation to the communication specialists about what she has learned so far with Kremen's website upgrade, to prepare us to better serve our own colleges and areas in the coming weeks. Her leadership is always inspiring.

Sam dedicated long days and late nights to ensure completion of this project. She did this all with grace and a smile. Sam has set an outstanding example as a Fresno State employee and for all of us across campus who manage the website. 

Congratulations to Samantha!

Spirit of Innovation 2021 Winners

Nancy Rosales





Nancy Rosales, Learning Center

The Innovation Award recognizes a staff member who has made exceptional contributions and improvements to their department or division through creativity and innovative thinking.

An excerpt from the nomination submitted by Ko Yang:

When the swift transition to distance learning took place, Nancy knew immediately how uncertain and stressed SI Leaders (student employees) would feel. Nancy aimed to create online resources that would ease the transition and help SI Leaders still feel confident in their work with students. 

Nancy worked diligently to transform the SI Guide, an online resource site containing training and program content for SI Leaders. She accumulated Zoom navigation videos, designed online classroom management guides, and produced example videos on facilitating learning in an online space. Nancy understood another challenge was keeping services engaging to students. Nancy and her team researched best practices and online tools essential to help students conquer learning online. Nancy developed training to help SI Leaders adapt course content to embed online interactive tools, such as WordWall and Padlet. Additionally, Nancy helped submit a proposal for funding specifically to support online learning tools and applications. Nancy never gave up on finding innovative solutions to help propel the work of SI.

Congratulations to Nancy!

Principles of Community – Outstanding Staff Award 2021 Winner

Shimel Her Saychou

Shimel Her Saychou, Cross Cultural and Gender Center

The Principles of Community Outstanding Staff Award acknowledges a staff member who upholds Fresno State’s Principles of Community (respectful, kind, collaborative, accountable) and consistently excels in their work. This award seeks to recognize a staff member who maintains a positive attitude, interacts with others in a friendly, welcoming and inclusive manner, and inspires others to model these behaviors.

An excerpt from the nomination submitted by Estevan Parra: 

We all need a Shimel in each department at Fresno State. Whether it is an 8 am or 6 pm meeting, Shimel comes with the utmost positive attitude, smile, and a welcoming character. Her presence makes you not only feel welcome but respected. One of the unique features Shimel carries is her willingness to continue learning how to support students who come from similar and different backgrounds. 

When hate crimes have taken place around our nation, Shimel is one of the first leaders to always step up and organize events and/or hold space for communities to unite and support the people (faculty, staff, students, and community) who are in grief. Not only does she lead with the heart, but listens to listens, and comes prepared to share resources. 

Shimel understands the value of community and allyship. Shimel manages two programs at high standards and equally supports her colleagues at CCGC and departments around campus. For example, Shimel serves as part of the Fresno State Men's Success Initiative and helped develop the first men of color mentorship program where faculty and staff are assigned to mentor incoming freshmen who self-identify as men of color. This mentorship program was recognized nationally by INSIGHT into Diversity - Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award 2020.  

Without a doubt, Shimel plays a major role in the ongoing success of the Cross-Cultural and Gender Center.

Congratulations to Shimel!

Lifelong Learner 2021 Winner

Lori Alamano

Lori Alamano, Police Department

The lifelong Learner Award recognizes the staff member who attends the most professional development classes in person and online offered through the Office of Organizational Excellence in an academic year.

Lori participated in 104 different learning opportunities offered in 2020-21. She regularly attended Lessons from our Leaders, Coffee and Connect, Campus Spotlight sessions, and wellness activity classes.  She also attended a few CSU cross-campus collaboration sessions, including “Giving and Leveraging Effective Feedback”, “Self-Coaching”, and “Virtual Facilitation, among other learning opportunities.  

Congratulations to Lori!

Community Engagement Award 2021 Winner

Calliope Correia








Calliope Correia, Agricultural Operations

The Community Engagement Award recognizes a staff member who works to make a difference on campus and in the local community. This award signifies our institutional commitment to community engagement and community service.  

An excerpt from the nomination submitted by Dvera Saxton: 

Calliope Correia is constantly building relationships with her students as well as with diverse groups of community partners in the San Joaquin Valley. She works tirelessly with students at the Fresno State farm and greenhouses, supporting and guiding them in the production of transplants, cut flowers, and herbs for sale at the Gibson Farm Market. She has also contributed transplants for a number of community gardens including the Insight Program at Avenal State Prison, Valley Children’s, an on-campus program that pairs students with young people with developmental differences, the Fresno Freedom School, and the Plazita Pixley community garden in Tulare County. She is constantly providing community groups not only with chances to get their hands dirty by gardening and growing things, but also with her knowledge about plants and soil. 

Calliope contributes to the agricultural mission of the college but also the greater goal of fostering improved wellness in communities that struggle a great deal with devastating disease burdens, social and environmental disparities, and societal and institutional abandonment.

Congratulations to Colliope!