Making the machine work

Eight staff members honored at awards luncheon
September 21st, 2023

Winners of the 2023 Staff Awards (left to right): Rosa Vargas, Janie Villarreal, Natasha Sneed, Willie Alexander, Lisa Pradarits, Cindy Seals and Marvin Vance. Not pictured is Shari Bow.

During the second annual Staff Awards Luncheon, eight Texas A&M School of Dentistry employees were honored for their work ethic, team spirit and for going the extra mile in their roles.

The awards are organized by the Texas A&M School of Dentistry Staff Advisory Council to highlight staff members who have gone above and beyond in their roles and represent the school well in their daily work routines. Nominations are made by fellow staff members.

“These winners are personable, they work hard and they go beyond what is expected,” said Dean Lily T. García. “That’s not me judging; that’s people around them saying what they do in the time they’re here. Each of you contributes. You may not be in front of the classroom lecturing, but you contribute to learning and showing students how to interact with peers. It’s not just the doctors, you all make the machine work.”

The winners of the 2023 Staff Awards are as follows:

New Employee Award:

  • Shari Bow, director of the Department of Student Affairs. Bow was nominated for being kind and passionate in her position and serving as a mediator between faculty and the student body.
  • Rosa Vargas, senior administrative coordinator in Academic Affairs. Vargas was nominated for her outgoing personality, learning her role quickly and being a positive influence, boosting her department’s morale.

The New Employee Award is given to staff members with six months to two years of service, who have exemplified outstanding work ethic, exhibited adaptability to their new work environment and shown the ability to rise to the challenge of their new positions. Winners receive $1,500.

Staff Excellence Award:

  • Lisa Pradarits, administrative associate in dental hygiene. Pradarits was described as “the backbone of the dental hygiene clinical program.” She was nominated for showing initiative in her role, always lending a helping hand and maintaining a positive attitude with patients.
  • Marvin Vance, business coordinator with the dentistry finance department. Vance was nominated for being a hard worker and always offering support to those around him. He was noted for his diligent work moving equipment and supplies from the Administration and Education Building to the Clinic and Education Building when it opened. He completed the job without complaint, despite facing a wave of employee turnover.

The Staff Excellence Award is given to staff members with two or more years of experience, who have shown dedication to the school and exceptional performance. Winners receive $2,000.

Staff Team Award:

  • Office of Student Development: This team was nominated for being an important part of the student body’s ongoing success and recruiting future oral healthcare providers to the field. This department also manages the school’s Center of Excellence Grant, which supports many of the programs for future dentists and the wider community. Team members include:
    • Willie Alexander, program coordinator
    • Cindy Seals, administrative associate
    • Natasha Sneed, administrative coordinator
    • Janie Villarreal, administrative coordinator

The Staff Team Award is given to a team that has gone above and beyond in meeting their department’s goals. Each member of the winning team receives $1,000.

This year there were 17 nominees for the new employee award, 19 nominees for the staff excellence award and seven teams nominated for the staff team award.

“To hear the number of nominees is amazing,” García said. “It shows people are promoting each other and showing appreciation for each other. That’s even more heartwarming.”

— Caleb Vierkant

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