Awards Ceremony Honors Outstanding Staff

Friday, May 12, 2023

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Dean Reed and Jolene hold up her award plaque as they stand in front of the photo backdrop
Dean Willie Reed presented the 2023 Outstanding Staff Award to Jolene Knuth, anesthesiology technician supervisor in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital.

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Willie Reed recognized outstanding staff at an awards ceremony last Friday, May 5, in Lynn 1136. “I want to thank each of you for joining me this afternoon to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our Purdue Veterinary Medicine staff members who are receiving Outstanding Staff and Bravo Awards this afternoon,” Dean Reed said as he began the program. “Formally recognizing the significant achievements of these individuals is an important tradition in our college.” 

The dean first presented the 2023 Outstanding Staff Award and Outstanding Research Staff Award. The Outstanding Staff Award recognizes excellent performance by the College of Veterinary Medicine’s non-faculty, full-time employees. “Excellent staff members are vital to the success of an organization, often working behind the scenes and out of the limelight,” Dean Reed said. “With can-do attitudes, a knack for knowing how to get things done, and friendly demeanors that spark energy and enthusiasm, these unsung heroes contribute to a positive and productive work environment.”

Noting that the award consists of a plaque and a cash gift of $1,000, Dean Reed then announced that the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Staff Award is Jolene Knuth, anesthesiology technician supervisor in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. She was recognized for excellence in service to students, staff, faculty, and other constituencies of the college.

Jolene was praised for going above and beyond in her job responsibilities and being a team player who consistently helps others. “You are so dedicated to the inner-workings of our hospital that in one day you can be found mentoring new anesthesiology technicians, teaching our students, supervising staff during large animal and small animal surgeries, covering lunch shifts, and maintaining equipment,” Dean Reed said. “Your nominators echoed one another when describing how you are a vital go-to member of the team and that you are always dedicated, proactive, and have a positive attitude.” Dean Reed then read the inscription on the plaque, which recognized Jolene for her years of outstanding dedication and service to the patients, students, staff, and faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine and her tremendous work ethic and excellence in anesthesia care, as well as her leadership and commitment to developing the skills of the anesthesia staff.

Kathy is joined by graduate students and Dr. Paul Robinson following the award ceremony
Kathy Ragheb, laboratory technician in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, received the 2023 Outstanding Research Staff Award for her work in the Flow Cytometry Laboratory, which is led by Dr. J. Paul Robinson.

Next, Dean Reed announced the recipient of the PVM Outstanding Research Staff Award, noting that non-faculty research staff members play very important roles in the discovery mission of the college, and are indispensable in their respective units and laboratories. This year’s honoree is Kathy Ragheb, laboratory technician in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences. “Kathy is being recognized for her performance over and above the call of duty, her attitude of selfless dedication to the development and growth of research programs, and her excellence in research initiative, collaboration, and personal development,” Dean Reed said in presenting the award.

For over 30 years, Kathy has served as a flow cytometry operator for the college. “During that time, she has operated more than 20 different cytometers and has become very highly skilled in that role,” Dean Reed said, noting that she also authored 17 peer-reviewed publications, which is a very significant number for technical staff. “With the benefit of Kathy’s dedication, our Flow Cytometry Laboratory is one of the most recognized in the world. Given that distinction, we have become a key educational resource for the field and accordingly, the laboratory is home to advanced demonstration instruments.” Dean Reed also noted that Kathy works with some 20 faculty across campus and the Flow Cytometry Laboratory has the distinction of being the only unit on campus with this technology. Dean Reed then read the plaque inscription, which recognized Kathy’s excellence in laboratory work, commitment to clinical research, and contributions to discovery at the College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as her valued contributions to teaching students of all skill levels, and her collegiality and work ethic.

Bravo Award recipients hold up their certificates as they join together for a group photo
Congratulations to all of the spring 2023 Bravo Award recipients!

The award ceremony also included the presentation of several Bravo Awards, which recognize employees who have achieved substantial accomplishments that extend well beyond regular work responsibilities. The awards are for concrete or measurable goal achievement or contributions, for which the employee receives no other honor, award, or compensation.

Awardees may be recognized in any of four categories: 

  • Moving the University Forward – accomplishments or contributions that transform or advance university objectives;
  • Innovation and Creativity – innovative work or suggestions well beyond standard job requirements that significantly improve operational efficiencies or introduce new or improved processes;
  • Operational Excellence – extraordinary effort during times of critical department need; and,
  • Fiscal Stewardship – achievement of significant cost saving or cost avoidance realized beyond normally expected or established standards.

Bravo Award recipients receive a certificate and a cash award of $500.

Congratulations to the following individual Bravo Award recipients:

  • Crystal Bradford, senior administrative assistant to the head of the Department of Comparative Pathobiology, who was honored for Operational Excellence;
  • Amy Fridlund, infection control specialist in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital, who was recognized for Operational Excellence and Moving the University Forward in her previous role as instructional technologist in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology;
  • Melanie Prouse, senior technologist in the Clinical Pathology Laboratory, who was honored for Operational Excellence;
  • Jennifer Ashley, veterinary skills and competencies manager, who was recognized for Operational Excellence and Innovation and Creativity;
  • Scott Fix, facilities manager, who was honored for Operational Excellence; and
  • Tressa Bowman, administrative assistant in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, who was recognized for Operational Excellence.

In addition, Dean Reed announced a group Bravo award that recognized the members of the Veterinary Hospital’s team of veterinary nurses in the Anesthesiology Service. “This outstanding team was really put to the task during the transition to the new hospitals that make up the David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex,” Dean Reed said as he introduced the recipients, who are Olivia Buschman, Olivia Coon, Alena Epperson, Elisa Hostetler, Jolene Knuth, and Chloe Morris. “Now they provide services to four different buildings: the Small Animal Hospital facilities in Lynn Hall, and the Brunner Small Animal, Equine, and Farm Animal Hospitals. This amazing team overcame the challenges related to the greatly expanded hospital space by increasing their communications and serving as back up for each other whenever and wherever needed. As talented individuals and as a team, they continue to teach our DVM and Veterinary Nursing students while continuing to provide excellent patient care.”

In keeping with a beloved Bravo Awards tradition, after each Bravo Award was presented, Dean Reed invited audience members to shout out together “Bravo!” to the recipient.

One other component of the awards ceremony included recognition of staff who most recently completed the online Certificate Program for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine. Congratulations to: 

After the conclusion of the ceremony, awardees and attendees reconvened in the Veterinary Medical Library for a reception.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

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