by Eva Gudbergsdottir

Above and Beyond award recipients 2019 by Lara Soto Adobe
The 2019 Above and Beyond Award recipients in front of the Lara Soto Adobe on the Middlebury Institute campus. From left to right: Trish Aportela, Jennifer Peck, Alisyn Gruener, Andrew Hernandez. (Credit: Kelly DeWolfe MPA '20 )

The Above and Beyond Award was established in 2006 to recognize staff members who go above and beyond the normal duties of their position. 

The Above and Beyond Award was established in 2006 to recognize staff members who go above and beyond the normal duties of their position.  Each award winner receives a certificate and $500 in cash.  When nominations are solicited from staff and faculty at the end of the year, they are asked to consider the following criteria of someone who:

  1. Consistently provides outstanding customer service.
  2. Is the “go-to” person.
  3. Provides an outstanding service that is not part of their normal job duties.
  4. Strives to innovate, improve, or streamline processes.

The 2019 awards were announced at the end-of-year staff and faculty celebration in December by Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson. He said these four winners “have all gone beyond the call of duty and given faculty, staff, and students more than they expected, and done so cheerfully.”

The Above and Beyond Award was established in 2006 to recognize staff members who go above and beyond the normal duties of their position.

The first recipient to be announced was Andrew Hernandez, director of facilities services. Hernandez, Dayton-Johnson said, “is the first person that gets called when the lights go out, a toilet explodes, a piece of furniture needs repair, or a classroom needs some attention. He is also the staff member who makes sure that these types of issues get taken care of quick, fast, and snappy.”

Next up was Jennifer Peck, academic coordinator in Language and Professional Programs. “She works quietly and tirelessly behind the scenes to efficiently organize and execute some of the most complicated and demanding programs we have at the Institute,” Dayton-Johnson said in his announcement and added that her “outstanding work has directly impacted the increase in revenue over the past few years in her department.”

The third recipient to be announced was Trish Aportela, assistant director of student financial services. Dayton-Johnson said that her deep understanding of the complex rules and regulations of her department helps her provide students with options that are fully explained in a clear and complete way. In addition to that, he went on to say, Aportela “stepped up to the plate and also assumed the duties of her supervisor who was unexpectedly out of the office for six months. She did so willingly and competently, resulting in a smooth operation during a very difficult time.”

Last, but in no way least, was Assistant Dean of Student Life and Engagement Alisyn Gruener. “She has excelled in creatively establishing exciting, useful, and responsive student activities,” Dayton-Johnson said in his introduction. He added that she “also thinks broadly and strategically on how to create a robust and meaningful student life experience while also engaging colleagues and community members in the process.” He quoted a faculty member who said: “Without fail, she is gracious, enthusiastic, and responsive to the needs of the campus community, putting student well-being and success at the forefront of our endeavors.”

For More Information

Eva Gudbergsdottir
eva@middlebury.edu
831.647.6606