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2020 Arts and Sciences Staff Excellence Awards

Award winners at the 2020 Staff Awards ceremony

Read about the contributions of nine staff members and one team who were honored with these Arts and Sciences Awards for Distinguished Service 

The annual Arts and Sciences Staff Excellence Awards for Distinguished Service recipients were honored by The annual Arts and Sciences Staff Excellence Awards for Distinguished Service recipients for 2020 were honored at an in-person event on April 29. After a delay due to the pandemic, Vice Deans Maria Anderson and Jim Masschaele presented the awards for their distinguished record in service excellence and dedication to the School of Arts and Sciences and our students and constituents. The awards honored nine individual staff members and one team. 

Scroll down or click on a name to read the citation

Individual Awards:  Tiffany Berg, Steven DeFeo, Jason DiPaolo, Ann Marie Fiorella-Mullen, Jenny Gehrmann, Aimee LaBrie, Madai Poole, Anne Sokolowski, Matthew Steiner

Team Awards: The Office of Communications Team

Individual Award Winners

Tiffany Berg, Department of History/Division of Humanities

Tiffany Berg

Tiffany was singled out for combining the rigor and efficiency needed to oversee a large department’s complex finances, with unfailing cheerful optimism and the kind of people skills that allow her to manage faculty, inspire and lead a superb team of staff, and work with and for the History department’s graduate and undergraduate students. Her nominator called her “a professional of the highest caliber, and one of the most impressive administrative staff members in the School of Arts and Sciences.” And although this award pre-dates her move to the Humanities Division, she managed that transition with the professionalism and good humor consistent with her reputation.




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Steven DeFeo, SAS-IT

Steven DeFeo

Like many of the staff in SAS IT, Steve is a multi-talented person, which comes in handy when dealing with the extreme heterogeneity of the SAS population. Steve's ability to manage this diversity and to rise to unanticipated challenges doing what needs to be done and doing it well (even when it's not clear just who's job it is), was lauded by his colleagues and earned Steve this recognition. And while Steve's technological abilities are extremely respected, his always patient, easy-going, and witty manner creates a calming environment in what could quickly become a sea of panic otherwise. Simply said, his colleagues and clients feel that Steve is the embodiment of "first-rate service with a smile!"




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Jason DiPaolo, Office of Finance and Budget

Jason DiPaolo

Jason earns this recognition for his outstanding service and advocacy in supporting the School across departments, centers, divisions, and the entire New Brunswick campus. Jason’s ability to synthesize data, communicate financial information, and respond to the needs of each unit is viewed as being simply remarkable. Further, his ability to continuously pivot with the changing University and School leadership directives and adjust to such changes with openness is admirable.





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Ann Marie Fiorella-Mullen, Department of Political Science

Ann Marie Fiorella-Mullen

Ann Marie is regarded as an outstanding administrator and is recognized in particular for her efforts on behalf of the MA Program in Political Science - Concentration in United Nations and Global Policy Studies (UNMA), which have allowed the program to experience impressive growth. Based on her extensive prior experience in the corporate world and academia, Ann Marie has created a wide variety of new services for UNMA students and faculty. As well, her efforts to assist faculty in developing new UNMA courses have contributed to improving the program curriculum and meeting the growing needs of the program’s student body.





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Jenny Gehrmann, Department of Jewish Studies/Bildner Center

Jenny Gehrmann  

Jenny is held up as a model of professional excellence by her colleagues. Described as upbeat, organized, responsive, dependable, enterprising, and flexible, she is the anchor of the Department of Jewish Studies. As a result of Jenny’s hard work and dedication the Department of Jewish Studies runs smoothly and is vibrant. It is able to devote energy to teaching, mentoring, and supporting students, partnering with other departments and schools at Rutgers, engaging with colleagues at other institutions, and developing its curriculum and programming in new and exciting ways.




Aimee LaBrie, Department of English

Aimee LaBrie

Aimee is recognized for the ways in which she collaborates brilliantly with the Literature Faculty, Creative Writing Instructors, PTLs, and other staff within and beyond the department. Aimee’s kindness, attention to detail, and extraordinary work ethic are credited with having made the Creative Writing Program at Rutgers a place where students from all different majors and varied levels of experience can try their hand at composing poems, crafting fiction, and exploring their creative sides in a safe space characterized by encouragement and constructive feedback.





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Madai Poole, Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies

Madai Poole

Madai is recognized as having played a leading role in transforming the department into a respected player throughout the division of Social and Behavioral Sciences and in SAS as a whole. Madai has brought imagination, intelligence, resourcefulness, vision, and grace in her interactions with colleagues and students. Both in small and in big ways, her leadership, insight, and accomplishments have made the department more welcoming to students and colleagues.





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Anne Sokolowski, Department of Psychology

Anne Sokolowski

In the Psychology Department, it is especially during times of high anxiety that students are drawn toward the Graduate Program Administrator and are fortunate to find Anne. They will show up to her office hours before their qualifying exam or thesis presentation asking about the various forms but, in point of fact, seeking any kind of assurance as they await their "trial." Anne responds to the requests with an efficiency that instills confidence but, more importantly, she recognizes the more salient needs and offers her time and advice to comfort these students. The Psychology Graduate Program runs so smoothly because Anne truly does care about these students.





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Matthew Steiner, SAS-IT

Matthew Steiner

Described as “a true student and teacher of his craft as a technologist,” Matt is valued for his fine attention to detail and the very thoughtful and straightforward instruction he provides to his customers and colleagues alike. He is lauded as being a team player and his significant contributions to the overall SAS organization every day are very much appreciated by management. Matt sets a wonderful example for other staff to model in his work, and his contributions to the Chemistry IT support team have dramatically raised team morale in the SAS-IT unit supporting Chemistry while raising the bar in IT support in general.






Team Award

The Office of Communications

John Chadwick, Senior Writer
Ian DeFalco, Graphic Designer/Media Assistant
Kara Donaldson, Associate Dean of Planning and Communications

SAS Team Award

The trio from the Office of Communications work to keep all the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members up to date on all that is happening in the School through their various publications and social media, as well as working with departments to create beautiful collateral for events and conferences. As well, they work to build relationships with alumni, advising faculty and staff how to maximize their department’s visibility, helping the Executive Dean share his vision and priorities with the community, and working directly with the development team to support their critical philanthropic goals.