The AP Star Award recognizes the accomplishments of administrative professional employees who have demonstrated outstanding individual performance at CSU. The Administrative Professional Council is pleased to announce the 2021 AP Star Award winners.
Capital Construction Project Manager, Facilities Management
Brad Johnson’s day job is as a Capital Construction Project Manager, to which he brings a depth of knowledge accumulated in a 20-year career. He is currently tasked with the Temple Grandin Equine Center project, no small feat on its own, but over the past year he has stepped up and took on a major project completely beyond his Facilities Management assignments.
He partnered with the Office of the Vice President for Research to tackle the testing program for the University during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of the Fall Semester, Brad iteratively improved the COVID-19 testing locations and operations, culminating in the current major testing center at the MAC gym in which several thousand people can be screened in a single day with minimal lines and consummate safety standards. In doing so, he has had a major impact on CSU as a whole and had a key role in CSU’s ability to maintain in-person classes. In large part because of Brad and his efforts, the university met its goals and his efforts were instrumental in ensuring a safe and healthy campus environment.
Brad’s collaborative spirit, his respect and admiration for his colleagues, and his appreciation for the CSU community shines through everything he does. That admiration and respect is returned one hundred-fold; Brad is greatly esteemed by all who have the fortune to work with him. Brad enjoys learning about people, their roles, and how best to fit their area of expertise into the project. He is confident in his skill set and always makes time to mentor staff and support students; teaching and leading by example. He puts the University’s mission first and is beholden to the Principles of Community. Brad consistently asks “Whose voice is missing from this discussion?”, which shows how much value he places on the principle of inclusion, along with his willingness to add others comments and ideas to ensure a better, overall product.
Academic Advisor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Claire Lavelle is so much more than an academic advisor for the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, she’s one of the “brightest stars in the AP constellation at CSU!” She is a champion for CSU’s Principles of Community and feels strongly about efforts related to inclusion and social justice. Claire has served as a member of the University Committee for Academic Advising (UCAA) and serves as a current member of the WSCOE Star Advisory Council, working to improve the climate and work environment of her colleagues. She has started and overseen scholarship programs as well as assisting in the creation of the Celebrate Global Engineering program. She has engrained herself in every corner of the department and has made tremendous impacts with every project she touches.
Professor Brian Musky describes Claire brilliantly: ‘The CBE department and much of the WSCOE depend completely on her tireless efforts to advise our students, to welcome our new faculty, to nurture our expanding research teams, and to make all feel heard and valued as she endeavors to build a healthy, diverse, and inclusive community. Whether it is by assisting first generation students to achieve their academic goals, helping international postdocs to complete complex immigration paperwork, or consoling students, faculty, and star as they navigate deep personal grief, Claire’s support has always been amazing. Words cannot do justice to the massive positive impact that she has had on my life and my career.’
Associate Director of the Social Work Research Center, School of Social Work
Based on her unrivaled productivity, unparalleled commitment to systems change through applied research, and social justice efforts, Dr. Everson is the genuine embodiment of a CSU employee who demonstrates outstanding individual performance, making a difference for children, youth, and families in Colorado, and shining in our local community.
Courtney is an innovative researcher who employs cutting-edge designs to advance child well-being, positive youth development, family strengthening, and perinatal health. Her scholarship uses innovative research and evaluation methods to generate systems disruption/change and uplift community-engaged efforts that shift health and social service practice and policy from a focus on intervention to prevention, and disparity to equity.
Dr. Everson leverages team-based science to innovate new approaches to old problems, and cultivate meaningful impact at individual, family, community, and system levels. Notably, Courtney is collaborating with the Colorado Evaluation & Action Lab (with an aim of effective government research partnerships), the Kempe Center for the Prevention & Treatment of Child Abuse & Neglect, Illuminate Colorado (with a focus on strengthening families and communities). She also serves as a co-editor of Anthropology of Children & Youth Interest Group, American Anthropological Association, and is on the editorial board for the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. If that wasn’t enough, Courtney serves on the Committee for Social Justice in the SSW, and recently presented a session at the 20th Annual CSU Diversity Symposium.
Dell Rae Ciaravola
Risk and Public Safety Communications Manager, College of Liberal Arts
Dell Rae had already carved out her crucial role in the University as the Risk and Public Safety Communications Manager and then the pandemic hit and turned all our worlds’ upside-down. In the immediate aftermath, President McConnell enlisted Dell Rae’s skillset to create a whole new communications strategy for the University during unprecedented times. She immediately undertook construction of the university’s initial COVID response website, getting it online virtually overnight. She wrote almost all the initial web content, distilling it from the twice-daily meetings of the PPT and the ever-evolving external guidance and updates, and curated developing content from the units that were playing significant roles in CSU’s COVID response. She connected with colleagues in University Communications to expand our information platforms to include videos, social media, and electronic and paper signage. Her efforts were priceless to CSU’s ability to forge ahead through this new environment.
CSU’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been recognized by a number of national organizations, including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and SuccessfulStudent.org. Dell Rae’s incredible work has played a significant role in that success. She has gone far above and beyond her normal responsibilities, reminded others of the importance of maintaining a work-life balance as she worked to restore her own, led an unofficial effort to engage other CSU communicators in this vital work, and found the resources to get the job done in a position that didn’t officially exist and had no actual budget attached to it.
Here is a direct quote from President McConnell on Dell Rae’s impact coordinating the pandemic communications, “What we asked Dell Rae to do was akin to asking someone whom we knew to be an excellent pilot of a small plane to step into the cockpit of a 747 full of terrified people and keep it in the air indefinitely.”
Academic Success Coordinator, College of Liberal Arts
Kelly McGregor is an essential cog in the Liberal Arts machine and is an especially strong advocate for students. Kelly has researched for and presented at three regional NACADA conferences on topics such as navigating the Post-911 G.I. Bill with student veterans, meaning-making and transference of skills for students of the Liberal Arts, and exploring the ways in which advising promotes positive cognitive development and self-authorship for undergraduate students. He has also presented at the Colorado/Wyoming Drive-In NACADA conference.
In addition, Kelly has worked for the Key Communities program for six years, teaching a first-year seminar each fall semester, entitled “Rebels, Outcasts, and Society.” He was also instrumental in developing and implementing the curriculum for the course “Concepts and Critical Thinking in the Liberal Arts,” a class intended to assist students in assessing their own learning, and therefore improving their scholarship.
Kelly’s engagement with the broader campus community highlights his leadership and positive role-modelling amongst peers. He leads by example by actively participating in frequent professional development opportunities and inclusion initiatives such as the Creating Inclusive Excellence program, the Women and Gender Collaborative’ s “Man Educate Yourself” training, Safe Zone, Dream Zone trainings, and the spring 2020 edition of the Inclusive Pedagogy workshops. Somehow after all of that, Kelly still finds time to participate in bowling leagues, fantasy football competitions and became a yo-yo enthusiast and ski instructor for his kids!
Assistant Director of Advising Training & Development, Collaborative for Student Achievement
Going above and beyond for her team is Latoya’s ethos. Latoya knew that collaboration and connection for the over 100 Academic Success Coordinators (ASC) had to stay strong even if her team could no longer meet face to face during this pandemic. She redesigned trainings and onboarding for new and seasoned advisors that could be delivered remotely. She hosted community partners to give up to date information to share with students. Her attitude exemplified flexibility and positivity: a willingness to change, experiment, or try new things that helps her team feel cohesive. She has always recognized the reality of the new reality with humor and honesty.
Latoya’s leadership is amazing and comforting to her team. She continues to feel more like a partner and advocate for their growth and professional development instead of acting like a hierarchical figure. She takes time to connect people who may be siloed in departments and invites ASCs to be active participants in all trainings, all level of communications, and shares best practices.
Doing more with less has never been tested to this level in the pandemic. Latoya started using TEAMS and Zoom in creative ways, changing her email formats, and creating an online hub for all sharable info. She starts all meetings by humanizing and connecting with everyone, whether it be sharing music recommendations and podcasts in the chat or posting poignant quotes to ponder. The biggest strength: she knows empathy doesn’t cost a thing but stretches far.
Assistant Annual Fund Coordinator for Engagement and External Operations Athletics
Layne exemplifies what it means to lead and care at the same time! In a time when Zoom and Teams are our sole methods for meetings, and where most people do not have their cameras on, much less contribute to the conversations, Layne always has her camera on and is ready to contribute to conversations in a thoughtful, well-spoken manner that sets a very good tone for all the meetings she is a part of. Incredibly thoughtful, organized and articulate, Layne has helped design outreach programming and messaging that has elicited a huge reaction in Athletics’ development and fan base.
Layne gives back to the CSU community by serving on multiple committees beyond her daily work responsibilities. Some of these include the CSU Young Professionals leadership team, the Athletics Professional Development Committee, and the Athletics Together Initiative Council leadership team. As a founding member of the Together Initiative, Layne seeks to address systemic racism and social justice within our university and community with a focus on education and dialogue. In each of these spaces, Layne works to find connections and collaborations between her role in the athletics department and other units within the larger campus community. She is constantly thinking from a systems level perspective and bringing the focus back to the students we all serve.
Layne’s professionalism and genuine care for others is an example for others to follow. She has started sharing that passion through the new Green Table Talks program for women of color in the Athletics department. She organically forms relationships with students and staff alike and shares supreme nuggets of wisdom with all present.
Co-Team Leader for Conservation Data Services, Director of IT, and Environmental Review Coordinator, Colorado Natural Heritage Program
How many hats can one person wear in a role? Well, Michael is pushing the boundaries on that answer! The do-it-all tech wizard has been priceless for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program as he has helped them adjust to remote life during the pandemic. He has led massive improvements of their Network and its computing resources, implemented better models for IT, and somehow, he can always think at the level of individuals and keep the bigger strategic picture at the same time.
Michael is also leading the development of a new web map tool called CODEX. This tool will make it easy for partners on and off campus to access data. He not only is designing this new tool, but he has helped secure donations to launch the program. Michael is leading a group of service learner students in a capstone class who will develop outreach materials and a story map for CODEX thereby helping the students, who will develop professional level skills and saving resources for the department.
This past year also saw Michael become a true hero for the department as the website and network came under a malicious attack. Michael acted quickly coordinating a team of former system administrator students that he had mentored and set up a plan to repair the network. With his massive community of collaborators and supporters, Michael carefully isolated the SAN Drives, knowing that it might be possible to save all of the data on them if the situation was handled correctly. At stake were 40 years of data collection and projects!