Staff Citation of Excellence Awards

Award Winners


Coby Dillard

Coby has consistently showed a high level of investment in the center since he began work at UCSB last year. He immediately implemented several programs for veterans, including awareness events and events directed at outreach. Coby has made an effort to integrate the issues facing veterans and families of veterans into discussions of social justice. It is clear that he has carefully considered the important challenges and problems facing military students in university settings. Through these efforts Coby has dramatically increased awareness of military students and their families. Coby immediately joined one of our teaching teams for a course designed to help transfer students. He is a great teacher with a style informed by his military background and academic achievements. He constantly asked me for feedback and always took a humorous but useful “meta perspective” on his interactions with students.

If there is a theme to Dillard’s work at UC Santa Barbara, it would be INCLUSIVITY. Mr. Dillard has taken an operation that once focused primarily on undergraduate student veterans and scaled his attention to include military dependents, families, and area veterans.

Tania Dunson

As business officer, Tania takes on several formal roles, ranging from financial management to personnel coordinator. She performs a wide range of tasks, which seem to expand daily as members of the department recognize her competence and willingness to help. In these various roles, Tania has demonstrated that she is a highly respected manager, a knowledgeable information source about everything from copier troubles to visas for international visitors, and a critical resource for all departmental members who must navigate the bureaucracy of UCSB, which is at times possible due only to her considerable insight, experience, and knowledge. I have also witnessed her tremendous acumen in dealing with fellow staff members, whom she manages seamlessly and skillfully. She has fostered a truly collegial environment for staff, students, and faculty, every one of whom she clearly respects and enjoys.

Tania's duties include financial management, personnel management, student affairs and managing our space and equipment. Personnel Management is   Ms. Dunson’s greatest strength and I cannot imagine anyone doing the job with more professionalism and caring. This year was extraordinarily difficult because we were already short-staffed and then our financial assistant went on medical leave and then our undergraduate advisor left to take another position on campus.  So in addition to creating positions, interviewing applicants for the new staff positions, she was filling in for the staff that were absent. It was extraordinary and we managed to hire 3 new positions in 3 weeks and are finally now up to full strength (6 staff in total).

In addition to personnel management, she also has many duties regarding the financial management of our Department. Ms. Dunson is an excellent financial manager. She, along with our Financial Assistant, keeps me informed on the budgetary dealings of the Department, advises me on planning FTE, curriculum, temporary faculty hiring, and support costs which all affect the Department budget directly. She continued training and working with other staff on the new UC Path system.

Syreeta Elie

Syreeta Elie is an invaluable member of the Alcohol and Drug Program team. She is dedicated to the safety and well-being of our students and community members and finds ways to spread the program's message whenever she can, wherever she can. The population that the Alcohol and Drug Program serves is often very fragile and at-risk. The concerns and issues that Syreeta is faced with each day can be critical and sensitive in nature, and require thoughtful, strategic and compassionate skills. Syreeta is most often the first person to greet students at Embarcadero Hall and also the first person to receive calls of concern from parents and others on campus or in the community. Students are hesitant, often unsure about how to even begin to access help. Parents are worried as well, and don't know how to begin to share their worst fears. Syreeta offers a comforting, capable and reassuring presence. And her support for the professional and student staff is extraordinary.

Syreeta has also created a team of student administrative support staff for the Alcohol and Drug Program who manage the program's front office and perform essential administrative tasks and services. Syreeta has created an unmatched opportunity for these students to engage in a high-level professional learning environment to develop and practice essential leadership and management skills that will serve as the backbone for any work endeavors they will choose to pursue. Syreeta is also a crucial support for our professional staff. She is able to help debrief our clinical staff with complicated cases with referred students and organize a very hectic and busy program into a smooth and compassionate resource for our students. She balances her busy family life with her work life. Syreeta is consistent and loyal, going the extra mile to make sure each person she interacts with is taken care of.

Nancy Eyrie

As a Financial Aid Advisor, Nancy coordinates and administers financial aid programs that contribute to the allocation of over $400 million per fiscal year. Nancy is responsible for interpreting policies and procedures related to federal, state and UC guidelines and ensuring that compliance requirements are being followed. This is no easy feat, as policies can change and as an advisor, she is required to adapt and respond to ensure that our services to students are not negatively impacted. Much of the work that takes place to ensure that this happens is not visible to the public or to students but requires working often under pressure of timelines and expectations.

With efforts across the UC to increase study abroad opportunities for students, particularly those with high financial need, there has also been a substantial increase in the demand of Nancy's time. While she is great at working with students directly, her ability to think ahead and anticipate challenges is just as admirable. She is extremely proactive in identifying ways to help us provide timely responses to students and bring options to how to address challenges so that we can ensure the best experience for them.

Monica Illes

Monica joined the Bren School in 2015 to help manage the document review process, online social networking program, and the alumni newsletter. In all my years of employment (over 23 years at UCSB and prior work at a Future 500 company), I have not found a more productive, hardworking, and customer service oriented employee. Monica has the unique ability to balance her friendly and caring attitude with her "get the job done" and "go above and beyond what is expected" approach. She takes full advantage of every minute of the day and always looks for ways to make the Bren School, the Career Development Program, and the students better. I, along with all the Bren School faculty and staff, have complete confidence that Monica will complete every task in a quality manner and the task will be completed on time and within budget.

Monica and her extraordinal work helped the Bren School Career Development Program receive exceptional evaluations in 2019 annual student survey. Monica serves in the key position of Program Manager, overseeing the three important areas of the Bren School: career document review program (resumes, cover letters, personal statements, and job applications for over 200 students and   1500 alumni), BrenConnect (a robust social networking community platform for students, alumni, faculty, and staff), and all career-related communication with students and alumni (Read, Attend, and Do weekly career newsletter for students and the Bren and Beyond newsletter for alumni).

Over the years, Monica Illes has consistently exceeded our expectations through her professional approach to working with excellence, precision, creativity, diligence, and enthusiasm. Monica's thoughtful feedback to our students regarding their resumes, cover letters and other job application materials gives Bren graduates an extra edge in the competitive job market. Monica applied her creative talents to develop the Bren School Alumni newsletter that keeps our worldwide community of alumni connected to the latest news from the Bren School. Monica's exceptional contributions are an important part of what is arguably the best Career Development team in any environmental science graduate school in this country!

Andrea Jorgensen

Andi’s job knowledge is phenomenal.  If something arises that she is not familiar with she researches the topic until she finds the answer.  The quality of her work is beyond reproach and she is extremely accurate when creating departmental reports.  Andi’s ability in planning and organizing her workload is exceptional.

Andrea greatly cares about other departments and he campus as a whole.  She consistently offers to assist others in need as it comes to her attention.  One example is she created and has shared with other departments, a Start-up Package Tracking Spreadsheet for detailing faculty spending in each category (which changers often) for each fiscal year.

Andrea is one of the most sincerely kindest person I know, she always has a positive attitude and is generous with her assistant and knowledge with everyone.  All who come in contact with her; students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors always comment on how helpful and wonderful she is to work with.

Samantha Oglesby

Samantha is responsible for essential department operations such as managing all faculty (senate and non-senate) recruitment, merit and promotion cases, assists the department chair on all academic and departmental administrative tasks and special events, and coordinates public relations and publicity for the CS department.

Samantha also serves in many committees in the CS department. Specifically, Samantha serves on the Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, Public Relations & Awards, and the CS Summit committees. I have been impressed with her work in the Public Relations & Awards category and she has made an impact on promoting our department's brand. Her contributions in this area consist of managing the current CS website and social media pages (facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.), designing a brand new CS department website, created our 40th anniversary logo, designs and gathers content for our CS annual newsletter, and currently manages a PR assistant to work on branding and create articles on various activities our department is engaged in.

The amount of work that Samantha has to do just for faculty recruitment is astounding. She coordinates visits, meetings, travel arrangements, information packages, and much, much more for 25-30 interviews, and then several more second visits by candidates. Supporting the recruitment committee, interfacing with Academic Personnel on a complicated recruitment process, communicating with the candidates, assisting the chair with the administrative issues, ensuring that the visits go smoothly, etc. Samantha does all of this with a positive attitude that represents the department beautifully.

Jill Title

Ms. Title is one of the best administrators with whom we have ever worked outside of Cheadle Hall. Her excellence was especially clear this academic year—a year marked by the death of an active faculty member, significant staffing changes, and at least one major student crisis.

This academic year has already been more than a challenge. An esteemed, senior faculty member in Religious Studies suddenly died. Her undergraduate students were not only grieving but also stranded; they needed immediate help to complete their coursework with her. That task largely fell to the undergraduate advisor. But, just prior to the winter break, he abruptly quit, leaving numerous tasks uncompleted and/or only recently begun. Without hesitation, Jill expertly stepped into the void. She completed all time-sensitive tasks, such as course scheduling, book ordering, course petitions, as well as the actual and pressing issues of student advisement and counseling. Filling in for the UG advisor, she met regularly with many undergraduate majors and minors. She also helped faculty with long-range planning.Jill serves as the Student Services Manager for the Humanities Administrative Support Center and oversees the programming and curricular needs for the departments of Classics, East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, History, and Religious Studies. She is regularly commended for her work by faculty across our four departments, administrators across campus, and fellow staff. Jill is accessible, organized, responsive, and reliable. She can be counted on to go the extra mile, think creatively about problem solving, and give an honest and straight forward answer about what our policies and resources will and won’t allow so departments and individuals can make the most informed decision possible. She is a thoughtful and engaged administrator, who brings the same principles to her management role as she does to her administrative support role.

JoAnn Villanueva-Salvador

JoAnn is a phenomenal Student Affairs professional who has distinguished herself through her holistic and theory-informed approach to her work with students. Within her role, she provides individualized counseling services to over 4200 students, and facilitated over dozens of educational workshops and information sessions for students wanting to learn more about their career options and to invest in their success with their transition to life after UCSB.

JoAnn has consistently demonstrated an exceptional commitment to her Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. In 2013, JoAnn was one of the driving forces for revitalizing the Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (APIA) organization, previously known as the Asian Faculty Staff Association (AFSA) to support API-identified staff and faculty on campus.

Beyond her work with students as a career counselor, JoAnn is a pillar for the API community at UCSB. As the current Co-Chair for the API Task Force, long-time member of Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (APIA), and mentor for API-identified students, she has taken on these voluntary roles to foster and sustain a visible, supportive API community of students, staff, and faculty.

With a particular interest in first-generation students, JoAnn has exhibited a dedication to helping with the retention and graduation of this population through her collaborative work with EOP in ensuring these students thrive during their time at UCSB.

Meghan Zero

Meghan joined our staff from a previous career as a high school teacher, and she has used those skills to develop excellent resources and workshops for our undergrads. Even though she has been on campus for less than a year, our faculty and students appreciate her quickly acquired advising expertise. She has done terrific work introducing our new pre-major program to our students.

Meghan has also gone the extra mile to communicate and coordinate with a wide range of faculty--senior, junior, and new--during a period on-boarding four new faculty in our department who arrived on campus this year.  She has helped guide our curriculum planning process for faculty offerings in relation to student needs for different levels and types of courses to better serve the impacted major, which I supervised as Vice-Chair. Meghan has become an essential resource for our undergraduate students and faculty alike.

Meghan has built helpful online resources for our majors, started an online appointment system, led student workshops, streamlined the language requirement procedures, worked with our faculty Undergraduate Committee to help deal with academic dishonesty cases, among other issues — all within the first few months of working here.

Previous Award Winners


Chelsea Boone
Brittany Boxley
Angelica Caudillo
Richelle De los Santos
Monica Dussert
Corena Herrera
Dana Huffman
Alexa Johnson
Pamela Scott
Rickie Smith


Kathy Dunson
Britta Dysart
Frances Fouch
Emily Grace Goldberg
Joe Jablonski
May Pothongsunun
Deborah Puro
Margaret Salisbury
Maya Salmon
Ryan Sims


Jane Castillon
Louisa Dennis
Jen Johansen
Jane Kittle
Craig McComb
Anna Roberts
Robert Sams
AJ Sims
Sara Sterphone
Melissa Warren


Giulia Brofferio
Angie Tozier Bryan
Tawny Hernandez
Julie Luera
Lily Maestas
Kathy Murray
Lisa Romero
Coleen Sears
Kim Summerfield
Yukina Warner


Joseph Blakemore
Karen Cisneros
Jodi Joanne Cutler
bj Danetra
Jennifer Gwen Farrar
Alex Glover
Chris McFerron
Staci Richards
Paula Ryan
Mike Tucker


Mary Ellen Anderson
Patricia Dent
Jill Dunlap
Joan Giovannone
Kelly Hayton
Kit Holmlund
Connie Howard
Amy Meredith
Jarrod Sprague
Molly E. Steen
Mallarie Anne Stevens


James Caesar
Michael Deal
Coni Edick
Gaucho FYI Team: Genie Kim, Valerie Stevé
Jeff Goldmann
Kristen Robinson
Marilyn Romine
Tiffany Sabado
Dana Spoonerow
Elizabeth Streeper


Advice Nursing Team: Maria Allensworth, Norma Jean Leifer, Holly Smith
Ramon Avita
Lisa Blanco
Shasta Delp
Anne Elwell
Leroy Heu
Hazra Kamal
Haley Orton
Maureen Turner
Mia Vela


Diego Hiroshi Auchstetter
Richard Bush
Susan L. Cochran
Donnell R. Dixon
Lisa King
Julie Miller
Dave Prine
Lucia Serrano
Janice Strobach
Lin Young


Sara Bard
Matthew Bowman
Albert Coghlan
Margarita Espinoza
Ed Minekime
Alejandro Parra
Alex Pavellas
Sheryl Reimers
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Jesse Arreguin
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Paula Kelly
Michelle Keuper
Monica Mattice
Julie McAbee
Rebecca Meredith
Diane O’Brien
Lainie Pascall
Kim Summerfield
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Joan Calder
Debbie Ceder
Greta Halle
Kathy Jenquin
Lou Anne Lockwood
Sally Lombrozo
Katie Maynard
Carlos Ornellana
Don Voita
Brian Wolf


Mary Arroyo
Mark Cornish
Dawn Fink
Robert C. Fletcher
Tish Ramos
Gerianne Ramirez
Douglas Rehn
Jan E. Ricketts
Mary Rae Staton
Libby Straight


Susan Berg-Arnold
Michael Buck
Valerie De Veyra
Anya Engen
Lorraine Harvey
Amanda Hoagland
Allen Matlick
Alx Sanchez
Bruce Simioni
Jay Stemmle


Cresenio Acevedo
Marian Bankins
David E. Connors
Michael Deal
Blanca Garcia
Lisa Goto
Lynn McLaughlin-Hill
Christina Nelson
Connie R. Padilla
David Parker


Frederick Besancon
Donna Coyne
Lorna Cunningham
David Fishman
Jim Gallagher
Richard Harding
Terry Marchiando
Marcus McMullen
Blanca Nuila
Kathy Scheidemen


Charles Anderson
Debra Carter
Jonathan Cecil
Laura Crownover
Mary Flores
George Hopwood
Mary Jacob
Bob Kinkaid
Joanne Blair
Tanya Plant
Cristina Rumph


Hector Acuna
Kathy Carnahan
Barbara Cogan
Kimberly Fitzgerald
Regina Fletcher
Melody Johnson
Maureen Lovegreen
Mary Lum
Natividad Martinez
Mary Wenzel


Thomas Boren
Robert Bustillos
Marie Ciluaga
Steve Duley
Debreana Hanna
Tony Mastres
Romelia Sneddon
Candace Stevenson
Jennifer Thorsch
Lynn Wilcoxon


Stephanie Coghlan
Debbie Fleming
Rollin Fortier
Mohamed Hijazi
Ginny Johns
Elaine Merza
Ann Nomura
Heidi Poley
Heather Thompson
Dennis Whelan


Frank Bauman
Wayne Ferren
Art Gilbert
Barbara Kerr
Mary O'Brien
Lori Okamura
Joseph Palladino
Theresa Pena
Dana Spoonerow
Eric Wright


Roman Baratiak
Teresa Bertuzzi
Jeana Dressel
Brian Guerrero
Karla Judge
Doris Phinney
Tony Salmassi
Tim Schmidt
Paul Talaugon
Eric Zimmerman