Ceremony Concludes 2020 by Honoring Bravo Award recipients and College “Vet”-erans

Friday, January 15, 2021

Make Your Mark
Support the College


After a successful, though challenging, fall semester that brought a return to in-person classes on the Purdue University campus, the College of Veterinary Medicine concluded 2020 with a special online Awards Ceremony honoring several members of the staff and faculty.  The program featured recognition of staff members celebrating significant service anniversaries, as well as faculty and staff receiving Bravo Awards and who completed the Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine Certificate Program.

With Dean Willie Reed as the “virtual” Master of Ceremonies, the program was conducted on the Zoom platform Tuesday, December 15. Dean Reed began the ceremony by saying, “Though I miss the opportunity to recognize these individuals in person, I am thankful that we can, through virtual means, continue this important and meaningful tradition in our college.”

Dean Reed then announced the staff members being recognized for achieving significant milestones in their years of service to the university.  He began by announcing those who have completed ten years of service:

  • Stephanie Terry, Central Service technician in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital
  • Lydia Trott, lead veterinary technician for Diagnostic Imaging in the Veterinary Hospital
  • Jordan Williams, senior instructional technologist in the Veterinary Hospital
  • David Yenerich, emergency clinician in the Veterinary Hospital

The staff celebrating 15 years of service to Purdue included:

  • Ray Buchanan, recently retired as a staff member of the Veterinary Hospital
  • Lindsey Fourez, oncology technician in the Veterinary Hospital
  • Colleen Maguire Jackson, PVM therapist/counselor in the Department of Veterinary Administration
  • Katrina Miller, Virology Laboratory supervisor in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Gloria Powell, senior administrative assistant and graduate coordinator in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences
  • Anthony Scalone, IT senior manager of support services in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Kimberly Sederquist, cardiology technician in the Veterinary Hospital

Six staff members were recognized for 20 years of service to the university:

  • Arthur Armstrong, Virology Laboratory technician in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Stephen Jaeger, senior systems engineer for the IT Project Portfolio in the Department of Veterinary Administration
  • Nancy Kehrer, small animal medicine technician in the Veterinary Hospital, who also received a shout out on the occasion of her retirement
  • William “Bill” Kielhorn, instructional analyst for PVM-IT in the Department of Veterinary Administration
  • Cindy Lavignette, client liaison representative in the Veterinary Hospital
  • Shelly Opperman, academic advisor in the Department of Veterinary Administration

Dean Reed then recognized two staff members celebrating 25 years of service to the university:

  • Cheryl Bradley, custodian in the Veterinary Hospital
  • Jeri Tullius, oncology technologist in the Veterinary Hospital

Next, Dean Reed recognized Debra Lubelski, Bacteriology Laboratory technician in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, for 30 years of service to the ADDL.

Then Dean Reed honored the lone staff member completing 35 years of service to the college, Kevin Draper, Veterinary Hospital facilities manager.

The second portion of the awards ceremony recognized staff and faculty who have completed the online Certificate Program for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine, a program developed cooperatively with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. “Diversity and inclusion are key components of our college’s values and culture, and I am proud of these individuals for their commitment to promoting a collegial work and learning environment enhanced by diversity,” Dean Reed said as he introduced the following individuals:

  • Erin Christian, Molecular Laboratory technician in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Katy Lewis, receptionist in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital
  • Dr. Allyson Sterman, clinical assistant professor of small animal soft tissue surgery in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences

The final portion of the awards ceremony involved the presentation of Bravo Awards, which are designed to highlight the excellence found across all areas and job functions at Purdue University by recognizing extraordinary achievements on every scale.  Award winners may be recognized in any of four categories:

  • Moving the University Forward
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Operational Excellence
  • Fiscal Stewardship

The first Bravo award was presented to Dr. Craig Bowen, assistant director of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, who was recognized in the category of Moving the University Forward. “Dr. Bowen, we appreciate your leadership and innovation that is critical to the ADDL’s role in supporting the Protect Purdue initiative through PCR testing,” Dean Reed said.  “When the ADDL was approached to test human samples for SARS-CoV-2, you assumed a lead role in developing a HIPAA-compliant procedure for intake of human samples and patient data – a process that varied significantly from the procedure for animal samples.”  Dr. Bowen’s efforts included helping to arrange for automated processes that enabled the lab to test a high volume of samples and report results within 24 hours.  He also worked closely with the sampling team at the Protect Purdue Health Center and the College of Pharmacy to ensure high quality samples and proper data entry. Dean Reed remarked, “This was truly a phenomenal effort that has elevated awareness of and appreciation for the ADDL across our campus, our community, and our state.”

The second Bravo Award was given to Jennifer Hewitt, Clinical Pathology Laboratory clerk in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital, for Operational Excellence.  Jennifer was praised for always being ready to answer questions about clinical pathology and deliver preliminary results. “You have consistently achieved a high level of accuracy in your work even in the face of a staff shortage, and always carry out your work with a ‘can-do’ attitude and a smile,” Dean Reed said as he presented the award.

The third Bravo Award was presented to Pam Kirby, ophthalmology technologist in the Veterinary Hospital, for Moving the University Forward and for Operational Excellence. Pam has been described as the “anchor” for the ophthalmology team, who is exceptional at anticipating clinician needs.  Dean Reed also commended Pam for shouldering a tremendous workload with nary a complaint, even as caseload increased by as much as 30 percent over the summer and into the fall, and everything was made more challenging because of the pandemic.

The fourth Bravo Award was given to Debbie Morgan, quality and safety manager in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, for Moving the University Forward.  Debbie was recognized for taking a leading role in the laboratory’s efforts to obtain the CLIA certification needed to perform human diagnostic testing. “Thanks to your thorough knowledge of federal regulations and attention to detail, the ADDL was awarded full CLIA certification, which was essential to the ADDL’s ability to support the Protect Purdue Initiative by performing SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests,” Dean Reed said.

The fifth Bravo Award was presented to Brittney Rhodes, diagnostic imaging technician in the hospital, for Moving the University Forward and Operational Excellence. This past semester, Brittney volunteered to be the student worker coordinator and took on the task of teaching radiology skills to student workers and creating training modules with evening labs to expand their clinical skills. When changes were made in the Veterinary Nursing skills requirements for dentistry, Brittney also polished her dentistry radiology skills to provide help in the clinic and in the DVM and Veterinary Nursing hands-on skills labs, even though dental radiography is not part of diagnostic imaging.  “And if that weren’t enough,” Dean Reed continued, “…you took on the role of clinical rotation supervisor for the Veterinary Nursing student rotation in diagnostic imaging, conducting weekly orientation, training, and mentorship with each group of students.”

The sixth Bravo Award was given to Dr. Marije Risselada, associate professor of small animal soft tissue surgery in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, for Operational Excellence. Dean Reed praised Dr. Risselada for singlehandedly reorganizing the way in which the Soft Tissue Surgery Service reviewed and triaged referrals and created and managed a wait-list system, all while continuing to effectively practice as the sole soft tissue surgeon at the time.  “And as if that wasn’t enough of a feat, you managed all of that while preparing all of the materials for your promotion,” Dean Reed said. “Your extraordinary organizational skills are a true benefit to the team and helped soften the impact of the pandemic from an operational standpoint.”

The seventh Bravo Award was presented to Liane Shaw, diagnostic imaging instructional technologist, for Operational Excellence. “Your experience in dentistry and active teaching style was instrumental in the growth of our students,” Dean Reed explained. “We appreciate your willingness to volunteer to help with many lab activities outside of your diagnostic imaging realm.” Specifically, Liane was praised for her innovative work enhancing the academic excellence of the Veterinary Nursing Program and for her critical contribution during a time of need within veterinary dentistry.  “You also embraced the interactive learning needs of both on-campus and distance learning students in the area of diagnostic imaging,” Dean Reed noted.  “In addition, you worked many hours with PVM-IT to develop and launch online interactive learning modules that have benefited all of our students on-campus and in the distance learning program. 

Amanda holds up her Bravo Award certificate behind her desk in Student Services
Amanda Taylor, senior administrative assistant in Student Services, was presented with a Bravo Award for Operational Excellence and Fiscal Stewardship, in regard to her service in establishing the first food pantry in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The eighth Bravo Award was given to Amanda Taylor, senior administrative assistant in Student Services in the Department of Veterinary Administration, for Operational Excellence and Fiscal Stewardship. Amanda was praised for her service in establishing the first food pantry in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Your passion for this project is very evident in your diligence to equip the pantry, staff it with volunteers, work with the university’s central food pantry to have it well stocked, and lead the communication plan so everyone knows when it is open,” Dean Reed explained. “Even more impressive is that you made it run so smoothly that it is effectively meeting the needs of our PVM family members without having a financial impact on the college.”

The ninth Bravo Award was presented to Ann Templeman, account assistant for the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital, in the categories of Innovation and Creativity, and Fiscal Stewardship. Ann was recognized for improving business office processes and procedures. “You have implemented many cost saving measures by eliminating redundancies and streamlining documentation,” Dean Reed said. “Your vast knowledge of university and banking procedures improved customer service.  Moreover you took the initiative to train Veterinary Hospital staff on various university systems, which reduced staff and client frustration. You have the unique ability to focus on improving the overall client experience while maintaining amazing coworker relationships and ensuring fiscal responsibility.” 

The tenth and final individual Bravo Award was given to Dr. Becky Wilkes, Molecular Section head in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, for Moving the University Forward.  Dean Reed praised Dr. Wilkes for being instrumental to the ADDL’s role in supporting the Protect Purdue Initiative.  “To bring SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing to the ADDL, you created new standard operating procedures, validated test methods and trained technicians on procedures,” Dean Reed noted. “You have the primary responsibility for troubleshooting and testing protocol and regularly demonstrate your problem solving skills through implementation of proactive measures. Moreover, with the seven-days-per-week testing schedule required by the Protect Purdue Initiative, you also have spent time performing tests in the laboratory in support of your staff.  Your dedication, expertise and tireless efforts are truly amazing!”

Dean Reed then presented Bravo Awards to two teams credited with enhancing the college’s reputation by addressing needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in support of the Protect Purdue Initiative.  The first of these awards was given for Operational Excellence to the ADDL COVID-19 Sample Intake Team.  The team members are:

  • Elaine Baird, laboratory supervisor for parasitology
  • Vicky Cross, laboratory technician for virology
  • Amy Fridlund, laboratory technician
  • Abby Props, laboratory supervisor of pathology
  • Hilary Richards, laboratory technician for toxicology
  • Mary Ruzicka, administrative assistant
  • Amy Smeltzer, laboratory records clerk

Dean Reed praised the team for its hard work. “As staff members representing seven sections of the ADDL, you worked effectively as a team to check-in human samples for SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing, identifying discrepancies in data entry and rejecting poor quality samples,” Dean Reed said, noting that those duties had to be carried out seven-days-per-week in support of the Protect Purdue Initiative.  “You met that challenge while still being responsible for your regular duties in your respective sections in addition to taking care of extra duties because of multiple vacant staff positions and a lack of student support for five months.  Know that we appreciate your dedication and efficiency in contributing to the ADDL’s ability to test a high volume of samples and report results in less than 24 hours.”

As the second team honored, the ADDL Molecular Laboratory Team received the Bravo Award for Operational Excellence.  The team members are:

  • Angie Chan, laboratory supervisor
  • Erin Christian, technician
  • Tracey Clark, technician
  • Scott Gentry, technician
  • Farren Osborn, technician
  • Eric Pouliot, technician
  • Becca Witman, technician

Dean Reed praised them for achieving stunning results, working in the ADDL Molecular section, which is responsible for all the SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing.  Emphasizing that the ADDL tests from 800 to more than 1,000 samples each weekday and another 200 on Saturdays and Sundays, Dean Reed explained that, in order to carry out this work, the team members trained on new standard operating protocols and underwent CLIA certification to be able to perform the SARS-CoV-2 PCR test on human samples. “And you did this on top of your normal responsibilities for processing animal samples,” Dean Reed said. “You are putting in extra hours and working six days per week, on the bench for the duration of that time, making sure results are released within 24 hours.  Your hard work to keep both people and animals safe Indiana and beyond is truly admirable.”

Congratulations to all of the Bravo Award winners, and the other honorees recognized at the Awards Ceremony!


Writer(s): Jonathan Martz, PVM Communications Intern | pvmnews@purdue.edu


Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

© 2021 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by PVM Web Communications

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact PVM Web Communications at vetwebteam@purdue.edu.