Ten UC Riverside staff members were honored by UCR Staff Assembly as part of its annual Outstanding Staff Awards recognizing those who go above and beyond their duties.
The awards were presented at a Monday, June 5 ceremony at the Barn Stable.
The awards recognize staff members for excellence in their work, commitment to the university’s mission, and making UCR a better place for all.
Staff and faculty nominated staff members for the awards, and the UCR Staff Assembly Recognition Committee chose the recipients. The awards were given in six main categories.
Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Watkins attended the ceremony and presented trophies and posed for photos with the winners.
Four people were recognized with the Staff Who Make a Difference Award, which honors staff in four different areas: administrative support, professional, service, and technical. The Tartan Soul Award, the Commitment to Diversity Award, the People Helping People Award, the Mary Johnson Outstanding Retiree Award, and the Volunteer of the Year Award were presented to individual winners.
Here are the honorees:
Guille Vallejo, a financial administrative officer in the Physics and Astronomy department at the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, won the Staff Who Make a Difference Award in the administrative category.
She was described as an ultimate team player and consummate leader who has led initiatives to make it easier for faculty to work with financial analysts and share financial information on a secure cloud platform.
Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz, director of student engagement at Undergraduate Education, won the Staff Who Make a Difference award in the professional category.
She has been the main coordinator of the Undergraduate Research Symposium since its 2012 inception, welcoming students to share diverse research accomplishments. This year, she invited pipeline community college students to attend, showcasing research opportunities to potential transfer students.
Crystal Petrini, financial and administrative officer for the English, history and philosophy departments at the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, won the Staff Who Make a Difference Award in the service category.
A former Staff Assembly president, Petrini is praised for continuing to advocate for staff and gathering colleagues for crucial conversations on important campus issues.
Prisiciliano Saavedra, a laboratory assistant in the chemistry department at CNAS, won the Staff Who Make a Difference Award in the technical category.
Saavedra is described as an invaluable asset to the department in providing physical help and technical advice to researchers and students.
Marie Martin, director of academic quality, integrity and assessment, won the Tartan Soul Award, which recognizes staff for their commitment to integrity, respect, accountability, and excellence.
In her role, Martin oversees approval of all curriculum and instructors and ensures the quality and integrity of extension programs. She has worked on initiatives serving underrepresented student populations and is the chair of the Social Justice Taskforce for Staff Assembly.
Michelle Burroughs, director of community engagement and outreach for the Center for Healthy Communities at the School of Medicine, is the winner of the Commitment to Diversity Award.
Burroughs has worked with other units at the School of Medicine and community partners in introducing health equity initiatives and funding for diverse Inland communities with high levels of need such as the RivCo Promise Hemet Project and the Stop COVID-19 in the Black Community project.
Jasmine Veliz, an administrative assistant at UCR Extension, is the winner of the People Helping People Award, given to those exemplifying service to the surrounding community.
Veliz is a mentor to at-risk youth at the Raincross Boxing Academy in Riverside, assisting students with homework, checking with them on their grades, and providing advice on making better life choices.
Bob Daly, former assistant vice chancellor for strategic academic research and analysis, is the winner of the Mary Johnson Outstanding Retiree Award, presented in conjunction with the UCR Retiree Association.
Daly helped triple the number of UCRRA members from about 90 to about 300, established a UCR email for retirees program, and a program offering campus parking for retirees.
Valerie Batlle, a cooking program coordinator for the Student Recreation Center, is the winner of the Volunteer of the Year award, recognizing the work of an outstanding Staff Assembly volunteer.
Batlle volunteered at almost all Staff Assembly events and is credited with the success of events including the Community Partner Fair, Halloween, Holiday Social, and Thank Goodness for Staff Week.
Imran Ghori, campus communications manager for University Relations, was presented with a special recognition award for helping to promote Staff Assembly events to campus staff through Inside UCR.