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Staff Recognition

Staff Council is excited to highlight the incredible contributions of American University staff with the wider community. Please submit using this form to share your own or a colleague's accomplishments, recognition, and kudos. These submissions will be featured on Staff Council's website and may be featured on Staff Council, HR, or AU social media as well. Submissions may also be shared with HR, University Communications and Marketing, the Office of the President, and other members of university leadership so the achievements of our staff are known and recognized.

Join us in celebrating our staff:


Elizabeth Romig

Liz is completing her fourth and final year on the National Association of Fellowships Advisors (the board of the national professional association for people who work with national scholarship applicants (Fulbright, Truman, etc.)). This is a competitive, elected position and it's an honor for AU to be represented!

David Jaffe

Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Washington College of Law
"David serves as co-chair of Lawyers Have Heart, the largest annual 5K/10K in D.C., to benefit the American Heart Association. They typically raise about $1M each year, and aim to do the same this June despite the virtual environment. "

Preeti Menon and Zephi Francis

Practioner in Residence and part-time staff, School of Public Affairs
In an article titled, A Focus Group Analysis with a Drug Court Team: Opioid Use Disorders and the Role of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Programming published on April 10th in the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, colleagues (including Zephi Francis) and I explore drug court team members’ experiences related to the use of medicated-assisted treatment (MAT) in programming. Link to the article.

Amanda Steadman

Music Library Coordinator, University Library
Amanda has been elected Coordinator of the Paraprofessional Interest Group for the Music Library Association. Serving a three year term, Amanda will facilitate meetings of library professionals at the annual meetings and online discussions.

Kayden Kassof

Instructional Technologist & Space Designer, University Library
Elected to serve as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair of the Higher Education Technology Manager’s Association (HETMA).

Christine Gettings

Director of Internnational Programs and Partnernships, School of International Service
Christine serves as a Board Member on the NASPA Global Division. The Global Division (The Division) is to represent the global interests of NASPA members. The NASPA Global Division represents student affairs educators, practitioners, and professionals around the world. The Division advances international student affairs issues, advocating for intercultural competency and global awareness throughout the association and in the field of student affairs around the world. The Division advocates for global education, and preparing and implementing programs that support student development and professional development worldwide. Collectively, the Division recommends globally oriented strategies to carry out charges from the NASPA Board of Directors.


Leanne Wright

Leanne has been responsible for organizing an internal contact tracing and notification department in order to keep AU safe. She has had to hire and train staff all while working with the DC Department of Health. Guidance on Covid-19 changes rapidly and Leanne and her team have had to stay on top of these changes.

Matt Seklecki

Event Planning Manager, School of Communication
"Matt is our Events Planning Manager. He coordinated logistics for "Charting a Path" an event co-sponsored by SOC Journalism, the Investigative Reporting Workshop, and Morgan State University that was focused on bringing more representation of people of color into investigative journalism. I received a letter from professors Amy Eisman and Lynne Perri saying their team is indebted to Matt for the tremendous knowledge and guidance that went into the recent event. Amy and Lynne wanted to “go on the record” with this letter of appreciation to recognize how much Matt shouldered to make sure the program was a success. He really went the extra mile, and they are grateful. "


Ayanna Wells

Research Coordinator, Department of Health Studies
Ayanna has been a powerful supporter of our 6 faith-based partners in Faithfully Fit over the last year. In spite of the pandemic, she has helped all of them lead evidence-based physical activity and nutrition programs for their congregations, in addition to providing technical assistance to overcome virtual implementation challenges. She has created meaningful relationships with each Health Minister that extend beyond standard program responsibilities and has encouraged opportunities for personal growth and capacity building that will serve their congregations and communities well into the future. Ayanna has made lemonade out of this year and I am so grateful for her efforts and "can do" attitude!

Michelle Dagne

Coordinator for Victim Advocacy Services, Health Promotion & Advocacy Center
Without Michelle's support and work this year, HPAC would not have been able to survive. We lost 50% of our team and Michelle stepped up to the plate to take on additional students on top of who she was already seeing for direct service, and also pushed herself outside of her comfort zone and job descriptions to help facilitate workshops and programs for the remainder of the semester. She has been an amazing advocate for our students' needs, as well as for our department's needs, and provided great insight and input during our restructuring process. She's also just such a positive, friendly, and all-around awesome person to spend time with and work with! AU and HPAC are so lucky to have a dedicated team member like Michelle :-)

Robin McClave

Research Director, Department of Health Studies
Robin is a fantastic director for the Department of Health Studies. She manages several grants that help the underserved people and families of Washington, DC. Robin seeks all available opportunities to assist her efforts in making DC a healthier place.

Edythe-Anne Cook

Associate Director of Administrative Services, Student Health Services
As we have been navigating the response to COVID and developing strategies to bring us back to campus safely and in good health, Edythe has been a tireless team player behind the scenes. Whether sourcing COVID-19 testing, supporting the launch of testing sites on campus and the mobile processing site across town, reviewing and delivering test results, updating our dashboard data or responding to thousands of student and family questions - Edythe brings her commitment to AU to work with her every day (and into the evening and far too many weekends...). She says "no" and delivers bad news more than many of us - it's a rather thankless role. And yet, her work has been crucial to our ability to implement our AU Forward plans to reopen campus - and she never says "no" when asked to help her colleagues. Kudos (and "thanks-a-MILLION") to our own double Eagle, Edythe-Anne Cook.

Samantha Mitchell

Career Programs Coordinator, AU Career Center
"Sam jumped in with both feet to become expert in ALL virtual technology when we began working remotely! She has helped me more times than I can count to record webinars for virtual audiences and other videos. She sends electronic tips and other info prior to every Resume Station and each of our virtual job and internship fairs so we can easily find them when meeting with students and alumni. Sam is always calm and reassuring even under tight deadlines and in situations that might be stressful...She is a STAR.”

Jean McGee

Senior Graduate Academic Advisor, School of Communication
"Jean has been indispensable to our Online MA in Strategic Communication program. In fact, there are truly not enough words or thanks to go around in speaking about her. When the Assistant Dean for Graduate Academic Services went out on leave, it required our team to do certain tasks not normally in our description. Jean always was quick to support, answer questions, and strategize. And she did it all (at least it appeared so virtually) very effortlessly. Because of Jean, our program is strong, students get excellent guidance, and the program director can work more effectively!"

Teresa Valais

Instructional Designer, School of Communication
"Without Teresa's dedication, eagerness, and tireless efforts, our transition to online learning over the past 13 months would not have been a smooth one. She not only made herself available when needed, Teresa often did so on short notice. Along with our traditional on campus offerings moved to online, Teresa continued to support and offer the necessary design leadership for courses in SOC's online MA in Strategic Communication. Teresa is an invaluable member of our school and our university."

Mason Henderson, Kailey MacDonald, Mac Sammis, Jaime Clark, Laura Walter, and Bran Lavigne

Conference and Guest Services team, Office of Campus Life
"This group of people have been redeployed 2-3 times since COVID shut down. They have helped out various offices around campus and I was informed that these 6 employees made a tremendous contribution to the other offices they worked for since May 2020 until March 2021. So happy to have them back with UCGS so that we can work on taking care of business for summer 2021."

Kyle Lucchese

Program Coordinator, MIS and MAIR, School of International Service
"Kyle is a new staff member at AU and has already made an impactful contribution to our community wellness through their willingness to speak up at AU Staff Council meetings and to already be volunteering support in organizing AU's StaffCon 2021. Thank you, Kyle! We are so happy that you have chosen to join the AU community!"

Haely Jardas

Special Assistant to the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
"I'm constantly impressed by Haely's determination to find solutions, even when it seems that others have given up. Her dedication to not just the function of her position but the wellness of the entire College is amazing. Haely deserves kudos for her empathy during a time when it has been needed most to keep our team going. Thank you Haely!"

Dylan Singleton

Website Coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences
"Dylan is one of those colleagues who stepped up and took on more during the full teleworking status and he always presented himself in a way that was solutions-oriented. I'm constantly thankful that he is on the CAS team! Thank you Dylan!"

Arij Farran

Senior Administrative Assistant, College of Arts and Sciences Chemistry Department
"I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude towards Arij Farran, our senior administrative assistant. Arij has been with Chemistry Department for over 20 years and is an important part of it. As a person, Arij is always nice, friendly, approachable and willing to help; somebody you can always count on. Arij has also been a tremendous help during COVID pandemic, when we started working remotely. Despite all the challenges, she is always available, helpful and completes all her tasks ahead of time. "

Chelsey Anderson

Director of Special Events, College of Arts and Sciences
"Chelsey has been a lifesaver in the transition to virtual events. Anytime I need help or guidance she is there, paving the way so that we have a resource and can make events that meet the visions of our faculty."

Leanne Wright

Assistant Director, Risk Management and Enviornmental Health and Safety
"Leanne has been responsible for organizing an internal contact tracing and notification department in order to keep AU safe. She has had to hire and train staff all while working with the DC Department of Health. Guidance on Covid-19 changes rapidly and Leanne and her team have had to stay on top of these changes. "

Carmen Rodriguez

Coordinator of Academic Success Coaching, Academic Support and Access Center
"Carmen has completely revamped our Academic Coaching website. She has created fillable PDFs and Excel trackers for students to easily access, explanatory videos to help students through resources, tips and tricks, and a wide array of edits, updates and contributions as student needs or wants present through the semester. Carmen is student-centered and consistently looking for ways to make our services accessible, engaging, and convenient. She always looks for engaging ways to adjust to online learning and swiftly make decisions that will greatly help us Coaches as well as the campus community. "

Kelly Mayer

Student Affairs & Senior ADA Coordinator, Washington College of Law
"From the manager of the transcription company we have used all year, for Kelly: "You have been so awesome to work with! You’ve communicated the many changes in the schedule swiftly and openly throughout the semester. You’ve gone out of your way to make sure any prep material was sent before class so the transcribers can be better prepared. That in itself is so appreciated not just by me, but also the transcribers. I can’t tell you how many times I have held department meetings and the transcribers that provide services for WCL students have chimed in and said “whoever the coordinator is for my students, is really on top of things and the prep material is so helpful for us, please send our thanks.” "

Martin Sagendorf

Associate Director of Housing Assignments & Communications, Housing & Residence Life
Martin is being recognized for improving overall communication process to students and their families.

Ann Marie Powell

Director of Dining and Auxiliary Services, One Card and Dining Programs
"Ann Marie has been critical member of AU's community in her duties. She has worked many weekends and nights to make sure our students get the services they deserve. She has maintained a campus presence during most of the year to make sure AU can get their ID cards and students have access to food during the mini-mester."

Tiana Hakimzadeh

Associate Director for On Campus Programs, Office of Enrollment
"Tiana oversees the Welcome Center at AU. This past month, Tiana has coordinated the efforts within the Office of Enrollment to offer prospective and admitted families the ability to have a student-led tour of AU. Something that no other DC area college is offering right now because of COVID. Tiana and her two direct reports have been going into the Welcome Center 3-4 days a week almost all of the rest of the Office of Enrollment continues to work remotely. I just want to applaud her efforts and give her the recognition she deserves for helping us offer tours to families during our critical conversion season. "

Tim Maggio

Finacial Aid Counselor, Office of Financial Aid
"Thank you for always being available to assist with questions and being a friendly and helpful coworker. I appreciate all that you do."

Earl Myers

Loan Coordinator, Office of Financial Aid
"Thank you for always being available to assist with questions and being a friendly and helpful coworker. I appreciate all that you do."

Stephanie Rucker and Brandon Ferry

School of Communication
"Thank you to SOC Graduate Academic Services and Communication & Outreach staff for executing a successful Admitted Student Welcome on Sunday, April 11. It took a team effort to secure our highest event registration level to date with 111 registrations and 91 attendees (82% attendance rate). Since the event we saw an increase in deposits and graduate enrollments! A special thanks to the admissions team, Stephanie Rucker and Brandon Ferry, for organizing and coordinating such a successful event!”

"Stephanie Rucker is the Director, SOC Enrollment and Analytics. However, for the past three months she has been interim director of the graduate office during our busy enrollment period. She has managed the graduate office well during a difficult time when they were short-staffed, and during our busiest time of the year. She also has kids at home, so she is managing things on several fronts."

Kanako Harada

Senior Accountant, Office of the Controller
"Kanako deserves the greatest kudos! Her dedication to the overall goal and functionality of the department has continued to soar even more so during this unprecedented year. She continues to give insight regarding improvements to our virtual working environment, offering training and guidance to new hires and her colleagues, in addition to, building and creating useful templates that help assist central administration for AU Sponsored Research. The GCA team has experienced a few changes this year. However, Kanako's leadership, positive attitude, and willingness to go the extra mile helped the department through one of the most challenging years. You are appreciated! Kudos, Kanako!"

Maia Edmunds

Senior Administrative Assistant, Academic Support and Access Center
"Maia is being recognized for her excellent additions to the ASAC website that improved the navigational experience for AU students, staff, and prospective students, and also eased navigation on mobile devices."

Sarah Jones

First-year Advisor and AUx Instructor
"Sarah is being recognized for creating a safe and open environment for students to share their thoughts and experiences, and expertly so, during sensitive discussions such as race-relations in our current socio-political climate. She demonstrated to her students that they are a priority to her. When asked to speak at a student organization event, she went beyond the expectations of the chapter leaders and prepared engaging slides to teach students about racial inclusivity and BIPOC experiences, including her own experiences as a Black woman. Attending students learned a lot about the topics she spoke on, such as the cultural detachment BIPOC people face as a means of fitting into white society among many other issues. Students are extremely grateful to have someone as knowledgeable and dedicated to creating an inclusive campus community as Sarah and know that she is always rooting for them."

We'd love to include you in our events both as a participant or volunteer! The Council offers events throughout the year through the themes of service, education and social, including but not limited to:

1. Book & Media Swaps
2. Fall Reception
3. Eagle 5k (fun run/walk)
4. Clothing Drives
5. Professional Development Lunch & Learns
6. StaffCon (annual conference held during Staff Appreciation Week)

Please email us at if you are interested in attending or volunteering for one of our events!