Staff Council

2020 Making a Difference Award Recipients

Above and Beyond Award

Stefan Wisniewski, Research Associate, Chemical Engineering

Stefan’s nominator says that the “knowledge and work ethic that Steve brings to the department is unparalleled.   Steve is dedicated to our students’ education. He has taken the initiative to add to the students’ experience in the Unit Operations lab, including adding troubleshooting exercises, teaching how to build a control loop in DeltaV (commonly used software in the field of chemical engineering), showing lockout/tagout procedures (safety protocol),  and providing opportunities for students to learn about designing, ordering, and installing equipment.  Steve’s work with the students is outstanding, and I hear from the students how valuable Steve’s positive, steady presence has been to their education.”

A letter of support states that “It is Steve’s background in chemical plant maintenance and operation and his willingness to do whatever is required to provide a world-class educational experience for our students that makes him deserve this recognition.”

Behind the Scenes

Benjamin Fredianelli, Building Mechanic III, Facilities Management

Ben’s nominator says “Ben’s can-do attitude has helped make DHH a home to our students during a year when things feel extremely out of the normal. Ben has gone out of his way to help students who need extra furniture or who have too much by creating creative solutions to rearrange rooms and storage. Many of our students have never even met Ben, but every single student in this building has benefited from having him work behind the scenes.” 

A letter of support states that everyday since COVID hit Ben “has stepped up to the plate.  Doing his job and the job of others who were off due to unforeseen circumstances.  He also reaches out to help in other areas that were falling behind.” 

The Legacy Award

David Perram, Senior Research Engineer/Scientist, Civil and Environmental Engineering

David’s nominator says “In the past 30+ years that he has been with the Department, he has been an integral part of the environmental engineering laboratories. His technical expertise and professionalism have made him an indispensable resource for faculty and students for teaching and research laboratory assistance. He has provided the expertise and chemistry knowledge that are needed to assist faculty and graduate students in setting up their experimental systems. In fact, without his commitment to the program, it would not be possible for faculty to successfully conduct laboratory intensive research.” 

A letter of support says “In Dave’s 38 years at Michigan Tech, he has made significant contributions toward the University’s research status while at the same time mentoring and providing support for colleagues and numerous graduate student teaching assistants.”

Outstanding Leader

Angelica Hebert, IT Support Coordinator, Information Technology

Angie’s nominator says “The pressures facing MTU IT during these difficult times are not unique to our department, but one IT staff member has consistently responded with optimism, grit, an unflagging team spirit, and a willingness to go above and beyond her job duties to ensure that our customers have the support and services they need to do their work with minimal interruption. That staff member is Angelica Hebert.” 

A letter of support states “She cares about the customers and she takes the extra step to communicate on different levels depending on your technology level. No matter how busy she is, she will take the time to explain things and ensure understanding, always with a smile. It is not only staff that she is concerned with. I have seen her mentor students on both work-related issues as well as student’s personal well-being. Whether it is just lending an ear or recommending to seek professional services."

Rookie Award

Anna McClatchy, Support Student Coordinator, Dean of Students Office

Anna’s nominator says “Anna faced the challenge of responding to dozens of worried and sometimes frightened students each day. I have personally witnessed the compassion and empathy Anna brings to her conversations with these students. She has provided them with a calm voice and clear guidance, helping them maintain academic progress while juggling the confusing and overwhelming situation of attending college during a pandemic. She has also been instrumental in providing guidance to our two temporary employees, ensuring they have the information, tools, and guidance they need to do this important COVID outreach work.” 

A letter of support states “In this short period of time, Anna has navigated numerous challenging situations and has proven her ability to be both versatile and responsive, qualities that are essential in these ever-challenging times. Without a doubt, our students have benefited from Anna’s efforts and she has proven to be a genuine asset to our team."

Serving Others

Mia Kemppainen, Department and Facilities Coordinator, Van Pelt and Opie Library

Mia’s nominator says “One of the ways that she helps our MTU students is by volunteering at the Husky FAN food pantry. She not only gives her time but also donates food to the pantry to help  out students in need. Another recent example of her thoughtfulness was during Halloween week, when she placed decorative Halloween bowls on tables with individually packaged treat bags for the students studying in the library. She generously donated over 400 treat bags which the students happily enjoyed! I don’t think many people who work with her know of all that she does to serve others because she just does them without fanfare.” 

A letter of support states “Her heart is exceptional. She goes around collecting the comments and recommendations from our students and patrons, making sure they are heard every week by library administration, and finding any possible ways to make them happen.”

Unsung Hero

Alyssa Fredin, Assistant Director, Student Financial Services Center

Her nominator says “We lost a staff position in the spring unexpectedly and the result was that our entire Federal Work-Study program was left without someone to administer it.  Hundreds of students rely on this program, as well as dozens of campus departments.  On the back end there’s significant federal reporting in order for MTU to remain compliant and continue receiving Title IV funding.  Before we, the senior administrators could even develop any kind of plan, Alyssa had already taken on an additional comprehensive program without even being asked.” 

A letter of support says “Alyssa creates an application process, identifies eligible students, helps with the selection process, ensures thank you cards are written and send in a timely fashion, keeps recipients motivated and on track, and helps to make sure funders are happy and engaged.  My work as a fundraiser would not be possible without Alyssa’s organizational skills, upbeat synergy, and creative way of always being three, four, and sometimes five steps ahead of all the rest of us.”