Rachel Brinley, Cheryl Helget recognized with FHSU's Distinguished Service Awards

Rachel Brinley, an administrative specialist in the Office of Student Affairs, and Cheryl Helget, server coordinator in the Computing and Telecommunications Center, were named the 2011 winners of the President's Distinguished Service Award today at Fort Hays State University's 24th annual Holiday Party and Awards Ceremony, held in the Memorial Union.

The President's Distinguished Service Award was begun in 2007 to recognize one classified and one non-teaching, unclassified staff member. The award is given for excellence, dedication and commitment to FHSU over a sustained period. Each receives $500.

Quoting letters from the nomination, FHSU President Edward H. Hammond said, "Workers in the Office of Student Affairs have to wear many hats, and flexibility is crucial. During her 10 years at FHSU, Rachel has shown no matter what the situation, she is flexible, positive and understanding. In events such as transfer enrollment and transfer orientation, she has always been willing to try something new for the betterment of the program."

Brinley and her family are also very active in many other university events, said Hammond, whether is cheering sports teams or attending events such as Encore.

Helget, said Hammond, has for more than two decades "distinguished herself as the person to contact when there is a problem with one of the university's 100-plus servers."

"it is not at all unusual to find Cheryl working in the evening, the middle of the night or on the weekend," he said. "Cheryl recognizes when a problem is urgent and does her best to solve it properly. She does not run from problems. She addresses them head-on with a smile." Helget is also active in the community, serving as a member and past president of the Ellis USD 388 Board of Education.

The fall winners of faculty awards for scholarship, teaching and service were also recognized. Mark Eberle, laboratory coordinator for the Department of Biological Sciences, was recognized with the Outstanding Researcher Award. Christa Weigel, assistant professor of allied health, won the Outstanding Teaching Award, and Dr. Janet Stramel, assistant professor of teacher education, won the Outstanding Faculty Service Award.

Those awards were presented to the recipients at surprise ceremonies in the classrooms in the days prior to the holiday party.

"In spite of is not having scholarship responsibilities as a program specialist, Mark has been a leader in the Department of Biological Sciences in the number of publications, grants and service on graduate committees over the last 19 years," said Hammond, quoting one of Eberle's nominators. Eberle has produced 35 diverse professional communications on diatoms, mussels, fishes and ecological assessments.

Weigel, said Hammond, is an effective and interactive teacher, provides critical thinking instruction and has high expectations for her students. Quoting from a nomination letter, he said, "Christa is one of the most diverse faculty in the Department of Allied Health, having taught a large variety of course topics and fulfilling various roles," Hammond said she is recognized locally and nationally for mobile learning through the use of DyKnow.

He also quoted a nomination letter for Stramel: "When Dr. Mercer left the university, Dr. Stramel stepped in to sponsor the Kappa Delta Pi honorary and has built a following of students by developing active officers and appropriate programs to support our pre-service teachers, both on campus and virtually." Hammond said she also sponsors the FHSU chapters of the Kansas Association of Teachers of mathematics and the Kansas Student National Education Association.

The faculty recognition program rewards outstanding instructors who are nominated by each of the four colleges of the university. Recipients are selected by a committee appointed by the respective college deans. Three winners will also be selected during the spring semester.Each award winner, in the fall and the spring, receives a $500 check and is eligible for the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award, announced at the Fall Convocation in August. The Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year receives a $1,000 award. Commerce Bank contributes to the monetary award.

Fifty-four employees were recognized for their years of service to Fort Hays State University and the state of Kansas: seven for 30-years; nine for 20 years; and 29 for 10 years.

The FHSU Alumni Association also recognized nine employees who each have 25 years of service to the university.

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Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu