School of Nursing, Office of Computer Services
At the beginning of the pandemic, as we were all being told to wear masks, our department
(Office of Marketing and Communication) was charged with creating videos to encourage
mask wearing. We wanted to use Wolfie to help get our message out, but Wolfie didn't
have a mask! That's where Maryann came in.
Along with Maryann's regular job in the Office of Computer Services for the School
of Nursing, she is also a member of the Stony Brook Stitchers. The Stony Brook Stitchers
volunteer their time, energy, and creativity to lovingly make items for those in physical,
emotional or spiritual need. So I created a "pattern" for Wolfie's mask (I have NO
sewing experience) and met up with Maryann in a parking lot to hand it off. All of
the fabric stores were closed, so Maryann did what she had to do and used one of her
husband's t-shirts and shoelaces to make Wolfie's mask. She turned it around in about
24 hours and really saved the day for us!
I want to thank Maryann for jumping in to help us and using her skills, creativity
and resourcefulness to sew the mask that allowed Wolfie to help keep our campus safe!
Richard Holliday, DoIT, Classroom Technology & Support Solutions
By: Jarrod McFarlane
Rich leads my classroom technology engineering team. University leadership made the
decision that all classes needed to be taught in a hybrid manner; in-person, or to
remote students synchronously. One of the huge hurdles was supply chain. Because we
were mid-pandemic, and everyone in the world essentially was working from home, it
was near impossible to acquire equipment like web cams, microphones, laptops etc.
Rich worked with vendors and partners in Procurement to find the equipment we needed
across a multitude of companies, and ensure it could be delivered where we could install
it before the Fall semester. Rich used relationships with receiving to allow us to
borrow one of their trucks so his team could physically deploy lecterns to each building
where we were deploying systems. Rich and my whole entire team were in person daily
to meet this goal of equipping the rooms for Fall. We hit the goal.
David Ecker, iCREATE
By: Jarrod McFarlane
For working tirelessly using iCREATE resources to 3D print shields and ventilator
tubes for the hospital.
John Berwick, Division of Information Technology
By: Jarrod McFarlane
John was one of the real heroes, making face shields and ventilator tubes for the
hospital, through iCREATE.
Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean for Research at CEAS
By: Mónica Bugallo
He put together and was the engine of a team to work on a unique ventilator built
out of spare parts.
Graduate School staff
By: Eric Wertheimer
They made the lives of countless graduate students easier during a difficult time
for themselves personally. They never lost sight of the mission and they helped one
another to do extremely difficult remote tasks. They were all heroic.
Isobel Breheny-Schafer, Student Affairs, Student Media
By: Kathleen Valerio
How do you keep a campus radio station - an award-winning station - live and alive
during COVID? Well, ask Isobel because she doesn’t sleep, doesn’t rest until coverage
and live radio live. Commuter students, campus life, “global students” all heard on
our broadband, world wide listening station. It works, it thrives and is alive, thanks
to Isobel and loyal, invested student staff.
The Volunteer Staff of WUSB-FM Radio
For the past year, the VOLUNTEER student, alumni and community staff of WUSB-FM has
provided non-stop 24 hour broadcast service during these challenging months. Broadcasting
from dozens of off-campus locations and feeding the signals hour by hour to the campus
studio, the staff broadcast regular updates on COVID-19 information and scheduled
daily broadcasts by Gov. Cuomo and Suffolk County Exec Bellone. The radio station's
commitment to the campus and off-campus community, working under difficult conditions,
has been exemplary and I'm pleased to nominate the volunteer staff for this recognition.
Shelley Germana, Division of Undergraduate Education
By: Jen Poma
"I want to give a big thank you to Shelley's leadership during these uncertain and
trying times. While things were so uncertain outside of work and in the world, Shelley
remained calm, ensuring that everything would be okay at work. There were times where
it felt chaotic, but I always knew Shelley had the best intentions for our team and
for that I remain so thankful. In a time where it felt like everything was falling
apart, Shelley's leadership was able to get us through, she was thorough and carefully
thought out our plans for everything. I consistently felt appreciated and that I was
doing enough while keeping our goals intact. I cannot thank her enough for her leadership
through this all."
Amy Milligan and the entire office of student services in the College of Business
By: Stacey Finkelstein
I want to recognize Amy and the entire Office of Student Services in the College of
Business (including Faith Matranga, Joyce Gibson, Rita Barbera, and Marie McCallion)
for making this year as smooth and seamless as possible for our faculty and students.
They have gone above and beyond to ensure our students are poised for success.
Todd Stumpf, University Police
By: Gary Borowski
I would like to recognize Detective Todd Stumpf for his incredible job on the front
lines of this pandemic. Not only is Todd serving and protecting the campus community
he is also the Chief of the Port Jefferson Fire Department, and the Port Jefferson
Fire Marshal. Todd contracted COVID as a direct result of serving the community and
deserves to be part of the online "Hero" wall.
Edward Dowd, University Police
By: Lawrence Hamilton
Edward Dowd saved an infant, who was choking and could not breathe while Edward was
working at the Vaccine site IDC in March 2021. Edward has served the Stony Brook community
for 25 years as a Police Officer. He is deserving of being called a hero.
Human Resource Services State Payroll Team: Jean Schaal, Pat Hines, Debbie Phelan,
Mary Schoen, Janet Downey, Kathy Josepher, Dina Rizzo-Mast
By: Jennifer Sinatra
The State Payroll team did an outstanding job throughout the pandemic to ensure that
all of our employees continued to receive paychecks. Almost overnight our team had
to transition from working in an office with paper forms to working virtually and
navigating the new processes that were created to handle processing forms received
electronically. The team put in countless hours to ensure that Stony Brook employees
received their paychecks. Due to COVID-19, the State Payroll team saw a significant
increase in new hires, overtime and extra service payments, and leave transactions,
but throughout the processing of all of these additional transactions, the team remained
upbeat, optimistic, and encouraging. The State Payroll team is truly #StonyBrookStrong!
Human Resources Payroll Teams
By: Lynn Johnson
The Payroll teams, who said they wouldn't be able to work remotely and haven't missed
a beat, generated over 478,836 paychecks in a year since March 1, 2020. Responding
to many payroll changes such as overtime, shift changes, leaves, etc., their workload
increased in response to the many changes prompted by the pandemic.
HRS Time and Attendance Team
By: Lynn Johnson
The workload for HRS Time and Attendance increased significantly as they dealt with
new leave provisions related to quarantine and childcare. They responded to nearly
1,400 calls to the COVID19 Information line as well as responding sometimes in the
evenings and weekends to more than 2,500 emails related to telework.
Ann DeGregorio Gardner, Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS)
By: Jennifer McCauley
Ann took on a brand new role at IACS right in the middle of a global pandemic. As
our Admin Director retired, Ann stepped into this role eager to take charge and with
grace. Because of the hiring freeze, she was initially working both her previous position
on East Campus and this new role simultaneously, while dealing with the daily struggles
of quarantine, isolation, etc. All the while, she made her staff feel cared for and
supported during a time of such uncertainty, and for that, she is a Stony Brook Hero!
Elizabeth Fish, Department of Psychology
By: Cynthia Forman
Liz Fish is the building manager in Psychology A & B buildings. Liz was one of the
few employees who remained on-campus throughout the pandemic, securing our building,
overseeing access, and assisting with the collection of essential PPE and safety equipment
for our labs. In addition to these essential duties, Liz went above and beyond the
call of duty by taking the time to store incoming mail and packages, as well as ensuring
that all plants were watered. Her thoughtfulness and can-do attitude makes her stand
Paul Shepson, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
By: Dominique Barone
Dr. Paul Shepson deserves this recognition for his leadership during the COVID-19
pandemic. I began working with SoMAS only a few months before COVID hit, but even
from the perspective of someone working fully remote, I can attest that the unwavering
leadership Paul has provided to SoMAS during this time. Dr. Shepson has maintained
a steady presence on campus, while providing opportunities for our department to gather
virtually for the past year. He is transparent in all the right ways, to all faculty,
staff, and students; and is equally collegial with all faculty and staff, including
everyone in meetings, on committees, and in discussions. Throughout COVID, Paul has
been compassionate, understanding, and flexible. He cares about SoMAS, but you can
also tell he cares about us as individuals, and it was never a question whether we
had to choose our jobs over our safety.
Omar Badessi, Department of Hispanic Languages
By: Skarman Rak
As an instructor at the University, Omar has been tremendously successful in effectively
communicating with his students despite some limitations posed by the COVID pandemic.
Omar bolsters his lesson plans with engaging activities such as karaoke nights, cultural
exploration projects, and the performance of skits. Omar’s dedication to offering
the highest quality of education shows through in his students’ reflections on his
classes. Indeed, his true passion for teaching is remarkable and inspiring to see,
and it was an honor to be a part of his class this past semester. It is imperative
that we recognize excellence in teaching, and we give credit where credit is due.
Professor Omar Badessi is someone irreplaceable, not only at SBU, but in the entire
Lilia Delfina Ruiz-Debbe, Hispanic Languages and Literature
By: Daniela Flesler
Lilia is the Director of the Spanish Language Program in the department of Hispanic
Languages and Literature. She coordinates the teaching of 35 sections of Spanish language
courses each semester and supervises the teaching of TAs and adjuncts. Her tireless
work and dedication and her unwavering emotional support this year was invaluable
in helping instructors adapt their classes and syllabi to an online format.
Evelyn Cruise, Hispanic Languages and Literature
By: Daniela Flesler
Evelyn is a PhD student in Hispanic Languages and Literature who also volunteers driving
an ambulance. This year, she drove many patients to hospitals at the height of the
pandemic. She also passed her doctoral comprehensive exam and began writing her dissertation,
"Precarious Pulses: Filmic Interventions in Emerging Economic Uncertainty."
Community and Government Relations
As director of Community Relations, Joan worked nearly around the clock at the beginning
of the pandemic to field calls and emails from community members who wanted to help
our SBU essential workers. She coordinated the thousands of donations the university
received, often meeting with donors herself to bring in the much needed PPE. Joan
also helped to share and tell the stories of the many Stony Brook students, alumni
and staff who stepped up to help, which she continues to do through her social channels
and community newsletter.
Urszula Zalewski, Career Center
By: Kathleen Valerio
Urszula has long supported students and community service. During the COVID-19 crisis,
Urszula coordinated myriad efforts to support COVID-impacted Seawolf alumni. Dedicated,
reliable and resourceful, Urszula will always go the extra thousand miles to support
a student, an alum or a colleague.
Academic Technology Services Student Technologists, DoIT
By: Richard Stein
I would like to recognize all of the student employees that work as Student Technologists.
The team adjusted to a rapidly evolving environment at work and at home, and was able
to deliver support for all of our critical Academic Technology tools during the transition
to online in Spring 2020. The whole team maintained that high level of support and
focus through Summer, Fall, Winter, and this Spring. Each of the students took shifts
answering phone calls, emails, tickets, and chats from faculty, students, and staff
with extended hours from 8 am to 9 pm weekdays, 3-9 pm on weekends. On top of the
extended support, the Student Technologists provided an assortment of technology-focused
workshops for Academic Success. The team's flexibility in scheduling, dedication to
facilitating positive technology experiences, and motivation to help everyone in need
are our Academic Tech Heroes!
Kristen Nyitray, University Libraries
By: Joan Dickinson
Years from now, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community will know the story
of all the great work done at Stony Brook to fight the pandemic thanks to the heroic
efforts of Kristen Nyitray. She has painstakingly catalogued the stories, materials
and artifacts that will speak to the level of responsiveness from the campus community
for generations to come.
(Learn about the University Libraries' special initiative at
Giulieta Stoianov, Sharon Williams, Meghan Sprabary, Kenneth Schaal, Matthew Hartman,
Lisa Socci and Christopher Larson, University Libraries
By: Jennifer DeVito
Giulieta, along with other members of the Access & User Services department in the
University Libraries, helped keep library spaces open throughout the pandemic. She
helped re-configure library seating to encourage social distancing … As a member of
the Access & User Services department in the University Libraries, Sharon was one
of the staff members who came to campus throughout the pandemic, allowing us to keep
library spaces open to students and others who wanted a place to study … Meghan usually
oversees the Music Library but quickly stepped up to help cover in the North and Central
Reading Rooms … Kenny has been coming in to campus to work at the service desks in
the evenings so the libraries could resume somewhat more regular hours … Matthew has
been coming to campus throughout the pandemic, helping to set up library systems so
patrons could request items through the library catalog while the stacks are closed
… Lisa has developed a number of virtual outreach programs such as online bingo and
virtual watch parties, to give students a break from studying … Christopher manages
the Health Sciences Library and came into that library throughout the pandemic to
be on site to support the patrons at that location.
John Madonia, Facilities Operations, Library Building Manager
By: Kenneth Doyle
John was amazing in making sure all of the building occupants had all of the necessary
equipment to protect ourselves during the past year.
Caterina Reed, University Libraries
By: Dana Reijerkerk
Caterina’s usual aplomb attitude and resilience has shown through during this world
health crisis and helped the Libraries’ go above and beyond just maintaining operations.
Caterina was hired at the Libraries’ in June 2020; when it became evident her work
would remain remote due to COVID, her focus changed to bettering the remote experience
for her colleagues. Caterina developed and coordinated a multi-departmental acquisitions
workflow for new purchases to the Libraries’ collections to account for remote work.
Caterina’s work impacted Stony Brook University’s ability to continue providing such
Christine Fena, University Libraries
By: Chris Kretz
Christine is the Undergraduate Success Librarian at Stony Brook and also the library
liaison working with the Program of Writing and Rhetoric. When the pandemic first
hit and the University moved to an all-online mode, we in the library - like all faculty
- had to look long and hard at how we could continue to offer instructional support
for students. Over the ensuing three semesters, Christine was tireless in her commitment
to not only moving her own teaching online but to helping support other librarians
in doing so. She developed active learning strategies for the online environment,
experimented tirelessly with screen recording software and created synchronous and
asynchronous lessons for students. Throughout this stressful time, she has been a
tireless advocate for students in their online studies and an innovator in the delivery
of library instruction and research help.
Conference and Special Events
By: Dianna Hannan
Without hesitation I can say that our Building Manager Scott LaMarsh has gone above
and beyond from day one of the pandemic and continues to do so. Scott has remained
on campus the entire time, reporting to the Wang Center while the rest of us remained
safe telecommuting at home. Scott worked with Emergency Management to receive, track
and deliver hundreds of community donations for months on end, often unloading trucks
and making PPE deliveries to the hospital himself. He supervised the volunteer staff
and ensured that the entire program ran smoothly. He received a recognition letter
from Steven Castleton, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army who said, "You are
amazing. I will stand side by side with you in battle anytime!" Whenever the Wang
Center was tapped to provide support for COVID-19 initiatives, Scott was at the ready.
He ensured that the South P Lot and the SAC testing sites had tables, chairs, stanchions
and equipment as needed. At the Wang Center, Scott assisted in creating socially distanced
floor plans and capacity thresholds for all of the venues. He ensured that the entire
building was outfitted with pandemic-related equipment (sanitizers, decals, signage,
PPE) and that the custodial staff was properly trained in sanitizing protocols. He
never fails to go above and beyond for his staff. He's truly an unsung hero!
Heather Montague, Office of the Provost
By: Janice Barone
Heather kept the office informed with all that was happening at Stony Brook concerning
COVID. She would hold weekly meetings and try to be upbeat about the future while
always telling the true, full story! We loved the Zoom Background contest that Heather
held every week. She made a tough situation as easy as possible for us so we were
able to continue with our workload.
Lindsi Walker, International Academic Programs
By: Heather Montague
For all the leadership and effort on visa and immigration issues.
Rachel Bergeson, Student Health Services
By: Kathleen Valerio
Exceptional 30+ years of service to our campus community, this dedicated Seawolf has
provided exemplar health service to our students during the COVID-19 crisis.
Marisa Bisiani, Student Health, Wellness and Prevention Services
By: Kathleen Valerio
Exemplar leadership of her division, and collaboration with East & West Campus during
the COVID-19 crisis.
Rick Gatteau, Student Affairs and Dean of Students
By: Kathleen Valerio
Beloved, respected and appreciated by his Student Affairs team, Rick has successfully
navigated the unknown, brought on by COVID, to a time of our new normal. His tireless,
selfless efforts have resulted in overall improvements in how we face a crisis while
mentoring our students.
All Mailroom Personnel, Campus Residences
By: Karen Morena
All mailroom personnel never left campus or worked remote. We were all here all the
time, never leaving our positions. We were here servicing all the students and staff
living on campus. And we had direct contact with students, staff and all deliverers
coming into the mailrooms. We all have been overlooked by the campus, but never the
students we service, who have shown their constant appreciation.
Dennis Murray, Marketing and Communication
By: John Griffin
From Day 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic Dennis was deemed an Essential Employee for as
the Universities Visual Storyteller he went far beyond and documented many different
aspects of the University during these trying times. He shot videos for the many public
service announcements distributed by SBU on staying safe, videos produced for President
McInnis' office, as well as documenting the COVID campus scene for history. While
most of the department was working remotely for most of 2020 Dennis came to campus
and worked from his office in the Administration Building every day. Dennis is dedicated
to his work and the University is lucky to have him on staff.
Marketing and Communication
Ellen's arrival at Stony Brook as the University's first Associate Director of Internal
Communications coincided with the restriction of non-essential personnel working in
person. It was an extremely confusing time for all, let alone someone who had just
joined the organization. What she was able to do over the course of her first year
in setting up systems and processes, coining the name of the initiative for employees
to start returning to campus, in "Coming Back, Safe and Strong", developing relationships
with colleagues with whom she was meeting for the first time via Zoom, and taking
on as much responsibility as was sent her way, was in short, remarkable. Her quality
of work, support of colleagues were and continue to be above and beyond expectations,
and she is certainly a #StonyBrookStrong Hero!
Marketing and Communication
John worked on campus and in the hospital all through the pandemic photographing events
and recording the history of what Stony Brook went through.
Marketing and Communication
By: Lauren Sheprow
Kali Chan, director of Medicine Media Relations, is a respected colleague and tireless
communicator representing the people and programs that make up Stony Brook Medicine.
She was instrumental in garnering news coverage that positioned Stony Brook Medicine
experts in leadership positions and worked with reporters/the media to ensure that
Stony Brook Medicine's story was front and center during the pandemic. Her read-outs
during HICS calls throughout the year were robust, comprehensive and represented all
the work being done by the department of media relations throughout the year, keeping
the HICS teams informed and aware that their efforts and expertise was shared with
the community through media reports.
Veronica Brown, Marketing and Communication
By: Casey Borchick
I started at SBU on March 12, 2020 - right when the country (and world) started to
shut down because of the coronavirus. I was new during a crisis, without a direct
manager focused solely on social. It was a little crazy. Veronica was the Social Media
Manager at SBUH and was always kind, supportive, and able to help me whenever I needed
it. It seemed like Veronica never slept and always had SBU and our brand top-of-mind.
She went to the hospital during the height of the pandemic to capture photos of events
and produced Zoom events, which were obviously very new, including a virtual Match
Day and a few Beyond the Expected Podcasts. Even with all the work she was doing Veronica
was always there to answer questions for the new girl....not even on her team. She
is DEFINITELY an unsung hero and I'm grateful for the help and kindness she showed
during a difficult time.
Marketing and Communication
Emily was very new to her position on the Media Relations team when the pandemic started.
As a member of the team, she is the face of SBU with news outlets who wanted to know
what was happening on both sides of campus. She was very busy and worked extremely
hard to represent SBU in the best light during tough times. She came in every day
during the peak of the pandemic to help with the crises and any on-campus situations.
Emily is a #StonyBrookStrong hero for her dedication and constant hard work, no matter
what was happening in her personal life or in the world. Thank you Emily!
Alina Rossi, Marketing and Communication
I started my Stony Brook career on Monday, March 16, 2020 - a very challenging time
on so many levels. Alina, among others in our department, was so incredibly warm and
welcoming. She is also that rare individual who jumps in, selflessly, to help, always.
She's not looking for credit, she just wants to contribute, learn and grow. She wants
to do the work and do it well. We collaborate on a site we both take so much pride
in and which we feel has tremendous value in troubling times -- the Caring, Respect,
Civility website. And when I say collaborate, she really does so much more than me,
always volunteering to do the posts, coming up with creative solutions and really
thinking about new content all the time, doing things so quickly and efficiently,
content to stay 'behind-the-scenes' and just get it done, though I try, every chance
I get, to let people know about her contributions. Alina Rossi is my #StonyBrookStrong
hero, colleague and friend!
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