The 53rd annual Spartan Service Celebration honored staff milestone years of service and awarded three exemplary Spartans new annual awards—Distinguished Service, Spartan Spirit and Staff of the Year—on Thursday, March 5 at the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.
Staff of the Year: Dora Ozawa
Dora Ozawa, systems coordinator for Registrar’s Office, received the Staff of the Year award in recognition of her commitment to the campus, her extensive knowledge of registration policies, procedures and her 43 years of service to San Jose State. Originally hired as a student employee, Ozawa describes SJSU as her “second home,” a community of friends, students and colleagues who have encouraged her to grow in her various roles. She said that seeing the campus evolve over the last four decades has taught her so much about streamlining processes, supporting students and brainstorming ways to improve registration systems. Ozawa has been a critical force in transitioning the university to the PeopleSoft database for record-keeping.
“When I first heard that I’d been nominated for this award, I was pretty overwhelmed emotionally,” said Ozawa, who is used to working behind the scenes. “It’s been amazing to see how much we accomplished with so little technology back in the day and how far we’ve come. I like knowing that the work I do helps students make it to their goal of graduating.”
Spartan Spirit Award: Vuong Vu
The Spartan Spirit Award, which is intended to highlight someone who is “spirited, passionate and proud to work at SJSU,” while embodying campus values of social justice, diversity and innovation, was awarded to Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) Evaluator Vuong Vu, ’01 Psychology.
“I enjoy knowing that my work makes a difference,” said Vu. “I know that education, especially graduate education, changes lives, not only for students, but for their families and communities. Every application that I review, I do so with attention and care because I know that once you are a graduate student at SJSU, your life will change forever—for the better. I love my team and look forward to coming into work every morning. GAPE Director Tricia Ryan encourages and fosters independence and creativity. This allows me to enjoy my work and find it meaningful.”
Distinguished Service Award: Nancy Day
Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Thalia Anagnos describes the inaugural Distinguished Service recipient Nancy Day as an “invaluable resource.” Day, who works in undergraduate e-advising, is adept at navigating PeopleSoft and quick to field questions from students, staff and faculty across campus.
“There are a lot of students that need help and assistance getting through college,” said Day. “Working in Undergraduate Education on the degree audit project, we are really able to help students. We want to see people graduate and the tools that I work on really help facilitate that.”
“Due to the work done by Nancy and her team, the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business has been able to replace paper major forms with MyProgress,” wrote Anagnos in a 2019 “Stepping Beyond” blog post. “This helps our evaluators complete graduation checkout much more quickly and gets diplomas to our students just days after the semester is over. Every day of the year, Nancy steps beyond.”
Each of the award recipients received $1,000, sponsored by the Office of the President. Two honorable mentions in each category were awarded $250. Ana Navarette Avina of the UndocuSpartan Resource Center and Robert Davis of the Veteran’s Resource Center received Spartan Spirit honorable mentions. Virtual Servers and Networking Analyst Altaful Khan of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Information Technology Services and Ramon Perez, ’01 Biological Sciences, ’04 MA Economics, of the College of Health and Human Sciences received honorable mentions in the Distinguished Service category. Staff of the Year honorable mentions went to Kim Le of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and Tom Reisz of Academic Preparation programs.
In addition to these inaugural awards, more than 100 Spartan staff members were recognized for their years of service, ranging from 15 years to more than 40. See the full list of honorees here.