Three outstanding staff members were recognized by the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University at the annual Awards for Excellence ceremony held May 1 at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on NC State’s Centennial Campus. Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering, presented the awards.
Dr. Susan Bernacki with the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) was named the EHRA award winner. She was nominated in the category of Outstanding State Government Service. Brenda Gainey, with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), was named a SHRA winner. She was nominated in the Customer Service category. Shannon Williams, with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), was named a SHRA winner. She was nominated in the Efficiency and Innovation category.
The Awards for Excellence program recognizes the accomplishments and achievements of permanent NC State employees at both the unit and University levels who do not hold faculty rank. Winners received eight hours of paid time off, a $250 check and a plaque. Winners are also made eligible for the university-wide Awards for Excellence.
Bernacki is a research associate in BME. She shows outstanding service and exceptional devotion to duty that goes well above and beyond requirements or even advanced expectations. She built the Cellular Mechanics Lab from the ground up, having only three small, old pieces of equipment to begin with, and has developed a set of labs known as the BME culture Core, which provides microbiology, cell culture, tissue processing and histology facilities that allow investigators convenient access without having to set up individual culture cores in their own labs. Serving as the director of BME Culture Core is one of her most exemplary achievements. She has also developed a state-of- the-art lab where students grow skin, induce differentiation into the three layers of dermis and examine the growth of blood vessels into the tissue, a critical step to engineer viable tissue for transplantation.
Gainey is a university program associate in MSE and coordinator for the Center for Dielectrics and Piezolectrics in the College. Serving as the principal administrative staff member for the Center, she interfaces with faculty members and students from NC State, Penn State, the University of Sheffield and international members including Apple and Samsung. She has helped establish the center as one of the premier centers in the country with her seamless communication and effective organization. Her attention to detail is evident in the success of the biannual center meeting in Kyoto, Japan she orchestrated.
Williams is a human resources manager in ECE. She has streamlined the ECE department’s processes by creating a complete procedures document for graduate student appointments, which has simplified the management of TA and RA appointments. She has improved workflow by creating automated welcome emails for new hires that contain all of the information they would need to make their hires seamless. She spearheaded an effort with the IT staff to auto-generate notification emails to the faculty communicating information regarding their biweekly employees. Williams is proactive and continues to make impactful contributions to the department with results that can be seen across the College and in the lives of NC State students.
Other nominees included:
Nicole Hedges | Electrical and Computer Engineering
Elizabeth Baker | Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Sherry Bailey | Nuclear Engineering
Bonny Downing | Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Linda Honeycutt | Computer Science
Lauren Jones | UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering
Stefanie Keto | Nuclear Engineering
Maria Moreno | Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Joanie Moritz-Smith | UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering