March 22, 2019
By Noah Pflueger-Peters
The College of Engineering is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Outstanding Staff Awards. The third annual awards honor staff members who show a strong commitment to the mission and vision of the College of Engineering and consistently perform above and beyond expectations. These awards distinguish staff in the same way as faculty who receive a faculty award. The winners will receive an engraved plaque and an award from the college.
Outstanding Staff Awards are judged by a committee of staff members that includes winners from previous years. Nominations are submitted by peers in the departments, units and centers the nominees work with. Nominations are evaluated on the nominee’s recent success in serving students, faculty, other staff, their department or the college or campus as a whole, as well as on their positive influence personally and professionally to all those who work with them.
The winners will receive their awards at the College of Engineering’s annual Staff Appreciation event on Thursday May 16 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the Kemper Courtyard.
2019 Outstanding Staff Award Winners
External Relations Manager, Dean’s Office, Development and External Relations
Though Alison Metzger-Jones has been with the college for less than two years, her impact has already been immeasurable. When the development and external relations team’s leader vacated their position, Alison took charge. She led the team through a tough transition, strengthening the unit and maximizing its efficiency along the way through creativity, a positive attitude and excellent organization and communications skills. Alison, the first staff member in the external relations manager role, has set an outstanding precedent, as her colleagues praised her ability to react to difficult situations with grace, poise and maturity and treat everyone with courtesy, respect and mutual understanding. “Alison is strategic, customer-orientated, a team player and wicked smart,” said one colleague. “She is the poster child for the College of Engineering staff.”
Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sacksith Ekkaphanh has quickly become a crucial member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, almost single-handedly carrying the department through a period of transition. When the graduate program coordinator vacated their position, Sacksith stepped up from her student affairs officer role and thrived, overseeing over 800 graduate program applications, managing TA assignments and overseeing graduate funding plans. She also came in clutch for the department when their undergraduate coordinator left shortly afterwards, as she took on both assignments with enthusiasm and a dedication to excellence. “Our colleague is dedicated, hardworking, professional and genuinely enthusiastic about delivering excellent quality work,” said her colleagues in her nomination.
Administrative Assistant, Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Debbie Snyder wears many different hats on the job with a smile. She works with the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Engineering on projects as varied as class scheduling, merits and promotions and graduate studies. Debbie joined the Department of Chemical Engineering over 20 years ago and has been a fixture since, always enthusiastic and excited to help out with any projects necessary. On top of her regular duties, she coordinates weekly staff lunches, department get-togethers, birthday celebrations and car pools. She genuinely cares for everyone she works with, as one colleague described her willingness to buy and deliver gifts or organize donations for faculty or staff members dealing with illness or bereavement. “She is the glue that make the departments feel like a caring and welcoming place,” a colleague wrote of her in their nomination. “She is the epitome of the kind of character emphasized in the mission and vision of the College of Engineering.”
Radiochemistry and Cyclotron Facilities Manager, Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging (CMGI)
Dave Kukis received his M.S. in chemistry from UC Davis and has been a mainstay on campus ever since. For the past 15 years, he has played a key role in the safety, maintenance and operation of the Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging. Colleagues praised his attention to detail and commitment to safety that make him a backbone of the facility. Dave is also committed to laboratory education and research at UC Davis, as he works with investigators to design studies and develop experimentation methods, stays late to make sure the facilities are ready for researchers and brings out the best in his fellow staff members. He also serves as an ambassador for CMGI, leading student and visitor tours and clearly and thoroughly imparting his knowledge of everything from engineering to nuclear chemistry to anyone who has questions.