Distinguished Staff Award
2015 Recipients

Distinguished Staff Award 2015 Recipients

Front Row: Saul Garza, Michelle Crawford, Ana Yesenia Olvera De Castillo, Adriana Benitez, Mike Ayala, Graciela Aparicio
Back Row: Cecilia Villagran, Ruben Torres, Carolina Rodriguez, Yolanda Mercado, Angelita Reyes
Not in picture: Veronica DeHoyos

Graciela Aparicio, Faculty Secretary
ADN Program, Nursing & Allied Health Division
Ms. Aparicio is the first point of contact of students wanting to join the ADN program. She displays a welcoming personality and knowledge when she assists the students over the phone or in person. Not only does Ms. Aparicio assist students, she also communicates and organizes monthly faculty meetings. Ms. Aparicio also serves as a mentor to new staff and student workers, as she orients them to the department, the faculty, and the resources the program has to offer.

Mike Ayala, Instructional Designer
Distance Learning, Academic Advancement Area
Mr. Ayala's personal commitment to quality is obvious in everything he does in the distance learning department and inspires others to strive for success. The services he provides to faculty and staff exceed all expectations, and guarantee a continuing successful relationship. Mr. Ayala's ability to accommodate, even when it is not easy or convenient, assures others of a continuing, enjoyable, successful relationship.

Adriana Benitez, Faculty Secretary
Starr County Campus Administrators Office, Office of the VP for Academic Affairs
Ms. Benitez takes the initiative to plan, schedule, coordinate, and execute campus procedures to ensure that faculty, staff, and students have the equipment needed to be successful. Early in spring 2013, she identified the need for new and updated computer technology for the campus and through her leadership, was able to communicate and coordinate with other departments across the college to acquire new equipment and develop a schedule for installation across the campus. Ms. Benitez also used her leadership skills to develop a new plan for campus annual inventory which in the past had always been a problem. Ms. Benitez has developed a procedure to implement and track the campus strategic enrollment plan to increase enrollment at the Starr County Campus. Her vision was to track campus efforts to recruit and enroll students to increase enrollment while statistically tracking progress to identify best practices.

Ana Yesenia Olvera De Castillo, Early Childcare Educator II
Child Development Center, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Division
Ms. Castillo has demonstrated the qualities expected of all our Child Development Program graduates and has far exceeded expectation in modeling the characteristics that an early childhood professional should embody. Ms. Castillo is always implementing new and innovative was to engage the children in her pre-school classroom and at the same time she has been a role model to the students in the Child Development program. Ms. Castillo's dependability and hard work are demonstrated daily in efforts to implement the Child Development Center's mission of excellence in early childhood education.

Michelle Crawford, Secretary
Deans Office, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Division
Ms. Crawford is the first person whom faculty and staff see when they enter the dean's office; thus, putting her in a position that many instant decisions need to be made. Ms. Crawford's commitment to the LASS Division and its subsidiaries is evident in the way she makes incoming requests and needs for assistance a priority, regardless what time of day it is. She is a master at prioritizing and manages unexpected tasks just as well and timely as those that are planned. Ms. Crawford understands our comprehensive mission of excellence at South Texas College and goes through great lengths to accomplish it in everything she does.

Veronica DeHoyos, Administrative Assistant
Deans Office, Math, Science, & BAT Division
Veronica De Hoyos has been employed by South Texas College for approximately 10 years. She has served as faculty secretary and founding AA for the Bachelor Programs. She is committed to the mission of our institution and student success.

Saul Garza, Center Manager
Centers for Learning Excellence, Academic Advancement Area
Mr. Garza's commitment to the Centers of Learning Excellence is evident as he demonstrates his enthusiasm and commitment to serving the students at the Starr County Campus. Mr. Garza is encouraging, a go-getter and showcases a positive attitude towards his work and those around him. Mr. Garza assists the students academically by encouraging them to connect and interact with the CLE.

Yolanda Mercado, Lab Assistant
Computer and Advanced Technologies, Business & Technology Division
As the lab assistant for the Computer and Advanced Technologies department, Ms. Mercado is resourceful and highly qualified for all projects assigned to her. She finds solutions to problems quickly and is not afraid of taking initiative to see a project through. Faculty depend on her consistent professional and technical skills to assist in laboratory work for daily use.

Angelita Reyes, Faculty Secretary
Radiation Technology & Patient Care Programs, Nursing & Allied Health Division
Ms. Reyes presents a professional appearance and attitude towards her work and to others. Ms. Reyes is so well organized that she assists us in keeping our programs documents up to date, which comes in handing when accreditation visits are coming up. Ms. Reyes regularly volunteers to represent the NAH Division and programs at high school and junior high events and career fairs. Ms. Reyes does not take personal credit for all her hard work, she shares it with others in the division. Ms. Reyes is dependable and can be counted on to convey information to students and faculty with precision and accuracy.

Carolina Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant
Mid-Valley Administrators Office, Office of the VP for Academic Affairs
Ms. Rodriguez communicates with faculty, staff, and outside entities about any concerns, events, and/or requests and demonstrates initiative to resolve any issues or concerns that may arise, no matter what time of day it is. Ms. Rodriguez has implemented procedures to streamline our workload and has brought together all areas of our campus to work together as a team. She is trusted and well respected by all faculty and staff at the Mid-Valley Campus, and she personifies the spirit of the Mid-Valley Campus in terms of leadership, cooperation, and professionalism.

Ruben Torres, Simulation Specialist
NAH, Nursing & Allied Health Division
Mr. Torres has implemented several initiatives through use of the simulation labs available for our NAH students by introducing the advantages of using simulation in other NAH programs. He makes sure that simulation labs are up and running, clean and ready to use, and that all programs are up to date. Mr. Torres demonstrates and teaches the faculty how to work the expensive simulation equipment. He has been able to network with other schools, colleges, and universities to share best practices of the simulation equipment.

Cecilia Villagran, Child Care Services Developer
Child Development, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Division
Ms. Villagran's demonstrates commitment to the Child Development department by looking for resources, talking with different departments, and showing the students what they have to do to reach their goals. She is also committed to creating a community of learners within the child care community by coordinating and facilitating Child Development Conferences throughout the year. Moreover, Ms. Villagran leads by example, as she volunteers for student success initiatives both within the department and outside the department, such as becoming a coach for the Graduate on Time initiative and being on the committee for the Welcome Back Friday's initiative (which she participated in).

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