Earlier this week the Division of Innovation and Applied Research held its 8th Annual Awards Breakfast. This is always a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and to recognize the accomplishments of the Division and of our peers.

Interim vice president Dr. Daraius Irani thanked employees for the work they do to support the University, the Division, and our clients. He spoke about the Division’s body of work, the staff’s diverse talents, and the need to be nimble during a period of change. Dr. Irani also noted that the Division has a strong advocate in TU’s president and that we have been tasked to support and lead some of her initiatives. “Most people understand what we do from a theoretical viewpoint. However, Dr. Schatzel understands from a hands-on approach,” said Dr. Irani, noting her background in business and entrepreneurship.

New this year was a chance to thank our colleagues in a peer-to-peer recognition activity, which Division leaders hope will be transformed into a formal program. After playing Division Bingo, employee professional achievements were noted and President Schatzel stopped by to give a brief talk and to help award the Excellence Awards.

Excellence Awards

The Excellence Award recognizes individuals who make a significant impact within the Division; motivate others to perform at higher levels; go above and beyond their job duties; and consistently excel in the following areas:

  • innovation
  • developing new business opportunities
  • superior customer service
  • leadership
  • valued by peers

Below are quotes from the nominating person about the four staff members who were recognized with this year’s Excellence Award.

Sharyn Grove, Associate Director, Office of Partnerships and Outreach

Sharyn Grove is a person of integrity. She holds herself and her work to incredibly high standards and pushes everyone around her to do the absolute best they can. She’s great with clients and her responsiveness is unmatched. She continues to grow her leadership and management skills, and is a huge champion for her staff and their development. You’d also be hard pressed to find a better advocate for the Division.”

Christina Morgan, Budget Manager, Office of the Vice President

“When many of us on the leadership team are busy throwing out idea after idea, it is Christina we look to to determine “umm is that even possible?” While she’s absolutely a stickler for the process and structure, she’s always open to a dialogue about how to approach a problem or challenge. She’ll work with you to make something work. Christina is always thinking about next year and the year after. She pushes all of us to think about the sustainability of our work, its greater impact, and how it ties back to our mission and purpose. Her value is infinite and we are thankful she’s on our side.”

Julie Knight, Ph.D., Senior Research Manager, Regional Economic Studies Institute

“This year, Julie has been responsible for developing, managing, and implementing one of the Regional Economic Studies Institute’s (RESI) biggest contracts—the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission’s application program. From the start, Julie has ensured that RESI’s process is fair and sound. She has also been responsible for managing more than 30 subcontractors that are tasked with evaluating the applications while at the same time managing RESI resources. The best part of it all is that she has done so while keeping a smile on her face.”

Christina Nemphos, GIS Specialist, Center for GIS

“In addition to a full slate of Center for GIS (CGIS) projects, Christina consistently fills the role of technical resource and mentor to our student staff, enhancing their technical and professional learning experiences. She contributes articles to raise awareness of CGIS projects to the Division’s blog and has stepped up to contribute to joint CGIS/RESI projects for St. Mary’s and Howard Counties and in mapping natural gas transmission lines for RESI.”