Lucy Schenk was “completely surprised” to hear Mary Ann Bernard announce her name as the winner of the 2012 Performance Recognition Award at the annual luncheon for support staff on August 13.
“I knew I had been nominated, but didn’t think I would actually win,” said Schenk, administrative assistant in Career Counseling. “This means a lot to me, especially coming from co workers. The fact that they think enough of my work to give me the award reassures me that I am doing a good job.”
Established in 2007, the Performance Recognition Award recognizes extraordinary professional contributions and quality of service of support staff and their integral role in advancing the University’s mission and fulfilling its promise in preparing students to live wisely.
Schenk exemplifies these qualities on a daily basis, as evident from the nominations submitted by her colleagues. One said, ”She maintains a positive outlook on situations that present themselves and demonstrates an exceptional willingness to get the job done. She works hard within the office and is involved both on and off campus.”
Schenk started her career at USI in 1996 as an administrative clerk in Continuing Education (now called the Division of Outreach and Engagement). She moved to Career Counseling in 1999, where she works alongside Tim Buecher, director of Career Counseling.
Career Counseling assists students as they decide what field to study and major to declare. Counselors are available to administer testing, discuss plans, look at the many options for majors, and research the fields that will be most appealing and fitting to the students. The department takes referrals from advisors, works closely with University Division and Academic Skills, and also takes walk-in appointments. Career Counseling advises approximately 500 students each semester.
“It’s a rewarding feeling to guide students through their college careers and see them succeed,” said Schenk.
In addition to day-to-day duties in the office, Schenk has been heavily involved in organizing Springfest, USI’s annual carnival-like event, with Buecher. “I enjoy working on Springfest because it’s different than my normal job,” she said. “The event has been a lot of fun and a great learning experience for the last 10 years.”
Schenk also helped to create Career Camps in 2002, which were day-long events for high school seniors intended to give young adults a jump start on their college and career paths.
“Lucy is the most caring, nurturing person I have come across in my 38 years at the University,” said Buecher. “Students who come to us for career counseling, as well as those who have served on the SpringFest Committee, express their gratitude and appreciation for the kindness and genuine concern she shows them in so many ways. She was named the recipient of the USI Phenomenal Woman of the Year in 2004, and I thought it only fitting and well-deserved that she could round out her career acknowledgements by being voted Staff Member of the Year.”
“USI is a growing atmosphere and there are great educational and extra curricular opportunities available to employees,” said Schenk. “And I have been blessed to have worked with Tim Buecher for the past 13 years. What I have learned and experienced has helped me to enhance my skills as an administrative assistant.”
The winner of the Performance Recognition Award receives a $500 cash prize and a traveling trophy.
Other 2012 nominees were John Busch, Physical Plant; Gloria Butz, Biology; and R. Cole Collier, Bookstore.
Past winners are Kim Schauss in 2007, Mary Spahn in 2008, Ross Hettenbach in 2009, Theresa Daugherty in 2010, and Terry Martin in 2011.
Photo Credit: USI Photography Services