Class of 2023 encouraged to ‘build a better world’
Four Connecticut College staff members and one outstanding volunteer were recognized for their valuable contributions to the College at the 10th annual Presidential Staff Recognition Breakfast and Awards Ceremony on May 12.
The awardees were selected from 74 nominations in the citizenship, inspiration, rising star and service excellence categories. The outstanding volunteer recognition is a special one-time award.
The 2023 Presidential Staff Recognition Award winners are:
The Citizenship Award, which honors an individual who has enhanced the quality of life and made a substantial difference for the College community, was awarded to Brunetti for not only the invaluable role she plays as a pre-law adviser in the career office, but also for taking on an additional project that brought great acclaim to the College—replacing Yale on short notice as host of the American Mock Trial Association’s 2023 regional competition in February. She gracefully supported Conn’s mock trial team in arranging housing and meals for approximately 230 students from institutions including Yale, UConn, MIT, Tufts, Wesleyan and Trinity; reserving 17 rooms in campus buildings for the trials and tailoring each to specific aspects of the tournament; and recruiting approximately 60 people to judge each of the competitions over the weekend.
“Deb has a preference for staying out of the spotlight and underplays her contributions,” said one person who nominated Brunetti for the award. “The behind the scenes and onsite scrambling she did during the long competition weekend made things look seamless and showed competitors and guests our best.”
A student nominator added, “She looks out for us as individuals, helping us as we think about law school and look for jobs and internships in the legal field. Deb is truly irreplaceable and deserves to be recognized for all the work she does for us and the Connecticut College community.”
The Inspiration Award, presented to an individual who excels at building relationships and motivating others to higher levels of performance, was awarded to Lamb for inspiring her students and peers with her quiet leadership. Since joining the Goodwin-Niering Center almost 10 years ago, Lamb has fostered a higher level of community among her students that reaches far beyond their academic journey. She has a gift for mentoring, making sure that the people around her are seen and understood, and providing the stability and continuity to keep the Center strong and focused on its academic mission.
“Jen remains reachable to our GNCE community at all hours of the day, and any day of the week,” said one nominator. “She often meets up with alumni during her vacation time in Maine, sharing light and wisdom on her own time.”
Another added, “I wish that you could join us for the GNCE certificate recognition ceremony at the end of the year, where Jen takes time to gush individually about each student. She can do this because she puts in the time to get to know every single student.”
The Rising Star Award, which recognizes an individual who has worked at the College for less than three years and has made a recognizable impact, was awarded to Mars for her work to stimulate a more fruitful relationship between Advancement and DIEI, which has allowed for new ways to include alumni in gender and sexuality and race and ethnicity programs. Mars has also taken on several volunteer roles as an adviser to QTIPOC and the Women’s Center, assisted with this year’s Pride Show and Black History Month programming, provided countless hours as a student mentor, and created the HERD mentorship program, which has advanced student connections with the alumni community.
“Within her first year, she has truly modeled full participation, inclusive excellence, and holistic student engagement,” said one nominator.
Another wrote, “Jacquida has rebuilt the way our school handles equity and inclusion work in Advancement.”
The Service Excellence Award, which honors an individual who demonstrates distinction in the conduct of his or her responsibilities at the College, was awarded to Lewandowski for her ability to singlehandedly manage the different personalities and demands of five academic departments and three academic programs. She flawlessly prepares files for tenure and promotion review, skillfully manages the budget, expertly organizes events, monitors major and minor status, and keeps her faculty colleagues informed and on deadline. Lewandowski also volunteers on PPBC and Staff Council and mentors many of the other academic assistants across campus.
One person who nominated Lewandowski for the award wrote, “Nancy responds to emails quickly, she handles impromptu office visits with grace and serenity and, on the rare occasion that she is not around—likely because she is helping someone else in another location—she leaves notes and guidance on her office door and in her email notifications in anticipation of your needs.”
Six chairs of departments housed in Winthrop Hall teamed up to write in a shared nomination letter, “Despite the heavy burden she shoulders, Nancy is always professional and kind. She keeps the place running smoothly, through thick and thin. As an alumna of the College, she is also an important part of the institutional memory of this place and someone who has been deeply dedicated to the College’s liberal arts mission.”
Dole was recognized with a special award for his more than 25 years of volunteer work as the College’s Pre-Health Paramedic Internship instructor. The program was originally launched in the early 1990s by an L+M Hospital paramedic who hoped to create a physician assistant program for the region. By the mid-1990s, the program hadn’t taken off and the partnership was set to dissolve until Dole stepped in and took charge. Dole grew the program to provide expanded opportunities for students to shadow ER doctors, PAs and surgical specialists. Doug has mentored more than 250 Conn students and allowed them to learn much more about the healthcare system than they otherwise would have. His work honors the College’s commitment to equity and inclusion and deepens engagement with the New London community.
One former intern wrote, “I know that Doug’s teachings have led to a myriad of students pursuing various medical careers. During my time in the military, I used multiple tips Doug taught me to help treat trauma patients.”
Another wrote, “Observing Doug’s compassionate interactions and collaborating with Doug in emergency situations influences my interactions with patients and coworkers in the healthcare field. I strive to be a compassionate and thorough provider as a PA, just as Doug is in his role as a paramedic. Doug taught me how to stay calm in emergency situations and make thoughtful decisions quickly and effectively.”