Staff members recognized for outstanding commitment to student service

Staff members recognized for outstanding commitment to student service

By Nikta Sadati, Division of Student Affairs

November 8, 2022


The Michael Condra Outstanding Student Service Award is presented annually to Queen’s staff or faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to providing outstanding service to students, outside of a teaching role.

This award was established by the Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs to honour the significant contributions and impact of Michael Condra during his 30 years at the university. Dr. Condra was the long-time director of what is now Student Wellness Services, and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate staff and faculty members across our campus who make a real difference for our students,“ says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “These individuals model a student-centred approach to their work that recognizes the complexities and challenges inherent in university life, and aims to help reduce barriers to student wellbeing, as well as academic and personal success. Sincere congratulations and thank you to the recipients.”

The 2022 award recipients are four staff members, nominated by colleagues, who exemplify Dr. Condra’s dedication, compassion and commitment to students.

Melissa Balson (Arts’00, PME’20)

In her role as undergraduate program assistant in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Arts and Science, Melissa Balson guides students to academic success and wellbeing. Nominated by a group of colleagues, current students, and alumni, she is described as the department’s first contact for students, someone who displays empathy, knowledge, and understanding, and promotes the mental health, organizational skills, and the academic journeys of the students she supports. One faculty member commented, “one of the reasons our programs are some of the largest physics programs in Canada is that Melissa is there to help our students, and to let them know that they can do the work.”

Haley Everson and Gail Motut

These two professionals were selected as a team, in recognition of the extraordinary partnership they have developed over several years working together. Gail and Haley respond, with great compassion, to students experiencing a range of difficult circumstances, and they often connect with family members and friends to provide holistic support. Gail is the support services coordinator in Student Affairs, and Haley is associate director, Student Services in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Their roles are to help students navigate challenging personal situations, connecting them to resources, and often to each other, to problem solve, collaborate, and chart a path forward. One nominator describes Motut as “the friendly, personal contact that students need when facing hard times.” Another credits Everson as someone who “truly understands the complexities of working with students at all stages of their academic journey and is literally a guiding light for students in crisis.”

Alana Korczynski

As programs manager, Life Sciences and Biochemistry, Health Sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Alana Korczynski consistently goes above and beyond to promote student success in all areas of the department. One nominator praised Korczynski’s student-centric work ethic, and her essential role in curricular management, regulation development, registration processes, and program communications. She is an advocate for online student cohorts and navigates complex student challenges with expertise. She has completed numerous trainings to support her work, including Queen’s Intercultural Awareness, Positive Space training, and Mental Health First Aid. Another nominator writes that Korczynski’s “dedication, enthusiasm, and perseverance are greatly admired and worthy of recognition.”

Find out more about the Michael Condra Outstanding Student Service Award and past recipients.