Staff members go above and beyond

Staff members go above and beyond

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane presented this year’s Special Recognition for Staff Awards at a reception in Benidickson House.

By Communications Staff

December 10, 2019


Queen’s relies on the contributions of its over 2,000 staff members to fulfill its academic mission. Each year, Queen’s recognizes the outstanding work of several employees through the Special Recognition for Staff Awards. These awards are organized by Human Resources, and they are presented to staff members who perform at a level “significantly beyond what is usually expected." They can be awarded to either individual staff members or teams. This year’s recipients received their awards during a reception at Benidickson House on Dec. 3. Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane was on hand to present the awards and thank the staff members for their hard work.   

“These awards provide an opportunity to recognize people who make Queen’s such a fantastic place to work,” says Principal Deane. “It’s important we take time to thank our colleagues who inspire us and take extra care to make our institution and the workplace so special.”

During Staff Appreciation Day on Dec. 11, a slideshow of the award winners will be on display at the Principal’s Holiday Reception. Listed below are this year’s recipients and excerpts from Principal Deane’s remarks about each of them.

Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute Team

  • Meghan Brien, Program Officer
  • Zachary Kenny, Communications Officer
  • Jennifer Low, HQP & Events Coordinator
  • Edward Nkole, Finance Officer
  • Alexandra Pedersen, Business Development Officer
  • Mark Richardson, Education and Outreach Officer
  • Edward Thomas, Associate Director of External Relations
  • Diana Turner, Administrative Assistant

The exceptional work accomplished by this team has benefited not only Queen’s but also the Canadian scientific community. It began in September 2016, when the Canada First Research Excellence Fund recognized astroparticle physics as a science priority area by awarding Queen’s and seven institutional partners $63.7 million to create a national network, focusing on research excellence, talent growth, community coordination, and knowledge translation.

Once formed, the team quickly got down to work to make the vision a reality by rolling out a variety of programs, including the launch of a newly branded institute and the hiring of 15 new faculty in cross-disciplinary positions and more than 100 post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students.

This prodigious output is due to the professionalism, enthusiasm, creativity, and work ethic of this small but dynamic team. Although they have diverse responsibilities, the staff work collaboratively and freely offer their skill sets to their colleagues to help them to reach their goals.

Beth Blackett, Peer Health Outreach Coordinator/Special Projects, Student Wellness Services
Since arriving at Queen’s in 2007, Beth has created and contributed to a multitude of wellness initiatives. As one of Queen’s first two mental health first aid trainers, Beth led the introduction of the ASIST Suicide Intervention training on campus. This is one of many innovative and rigorous training programs she has developed and delivers to literally thousands of students, staff and faculty each year. Beth also leads the Peer Health Education Team of student volunteers and supports the Campus Observation Room Volunteers.

Beth has played a significant role in policy development related to alcohol use, a smoke-free campus, sexual violence, and mental health. In addition to being a student mentor, she is a passionate innovator, using social media as a channel for the 15 Days of Exams Health Challenge. She has also introduced pet therapy, a healthy cooking club, and run club programs to students.

Brenda Bullock, Monographs Acquisition Coordinator, Stauffer Library
A problem-solver par excellence, Brenda’s investigative work takes place deep underground, invisible to the library patrons that she helps daily. As a member of the Library’s Monographs Acquisitions unit for the past 43 years, Brenda works in Stauffer Library, and before that, the Douglas Library. She tracks down and purchases all requests for library resources from librarians, faculty and other recommenders.

Brenda’s work is key to those who need her help to purchase materials; sometimes on a very short timeline and sometimes very difficult to get. A co-worker cordially describes her as a dog with a bone, one that does not give up the fight easily as she pursues even the most rare or unconventional resource. Her ability to locate a source for obscure items, from out-of-print books to online items, is legendary.

Pamela Hay-Melia, Administrative Assistant, Risk and Safety Services
Pamela is the cornerstone of coordination and support for the university’s Risk and Safety portfolio. The first thing that one notices about her is the ease with which she manages this busy and multi-faceted role. Due to a series of reorganizations, Pamela moved into a number of different roles in different offices in Richardson Hall over a very short period. These changes did not phase her. In fact, her positive spirit was an inspiration. She rolled up her sleeves and got the job done – no matter what the job was.

Her ability to complete tasks and projects, no matter how many hoops she has to jump through, is truly impressive. Everything she tackles is with a “can do” attitude. Colleagues describe her as a dedicated professional, an extremely hard-working employee and a thoughtful, caring, and kind human being.

Jacquie Jamieson, Executive Assistant to the Dean and Manager, Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Science
Over a span of 13 years, Jacquie has supported three deans and an interim dean. She has a natural ability to adapt to different working styles and demands of these deans and of the associate deans, anticipating challenges, and proactively addressing issues.

The breadth of Jacquie’s impact is faculty wide. As well as mentoring staff both inside and outside the faculty office, Jacquie is a vital resource and advisor to the heads of nearly 30 departments, who regularly regale her with questions on a broad range of topics. For many new department heads, she is the first point of contact and a valuable counsellor as they learn their duties. Her awe-inspiring organizational skills and meticulous attention to detail are evident in her support of the merit process, impacting more than 500 faculty members.

Anita Ng, Operations Manager, Department of Medicine
Anita manages the complex issues within the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre that impact patient care delivery. Managing the largest department in the Faculty of Health Sciences, with 14 unique divisions, comes with its own challenges, all requiring different levels of support.

As operations manager, Anita ensures faculty and staff members’ well-being by proactively mitigating challenges and risks before a situation arises. She does this all with a positive attitude, no matter what challenge or risk she faces. Competent, fair and transparent, Anita is always willing to help anyone, no matter how busy she is. Her door always open. It also has a revolving feature, with staff and faculty coming and going all day long.

Robert Polegato, Project Manager, Physical Plant Services
For 19 years, Robert has managed large and complex capital projects, requiring a high level of commitment and focus. Robert has extensive knowledge of the construction industry and is dedicated to the success of his projects – quality-finished, on time, and on budget.

Some projects, especially those in older buildings, can be very challenging and require a team leader with exceptional skills to arrive at solutions. Robert is responsive and available at all hours to address issues arising on site. He is not just a builder; he is also a skilled leader and problem solver. Through his work on numerous projects, Robert has helped to improve the working and playing environment for students, staff, and faculty in nearly every university department. Our beautiful campus has benefited from his exemplary professional expertise.

Jo-Anne Tinlin, Research and Graduate Assistant, Department of Geography and Planning
Jo-Anne successfully balances the nitty-gritty detail of daily administrative work with compassion and care for new and incoming graduate students to the Department of Geography and Planning. Jo-Anne interacts with graduate students throughout their entire time in the program, from admission to graduation. She’s been known to learn the names of an entire cohort, seemingly after only one day of orientation.

Jo-Anne’s extraordinary customer service is the secret weapon in recruiting and retaining outstanding graduate students for the Master of Urban and Regional Planning programs. In an era of computerized admissions processes, her warmth and personal touch are strategic advantages. She assists students in their transition to Kingston life and is a constant, reliable source of advice on navigating the educational labyrinth at Queen’s.