Six CSE staff recognized by College of Engineering for their outstanding contributions

Shannon Escobar, Karen Liska, Jamie Goldsmith, Sarah Snay, Gray Strain, and Punam Vyas have been recognized by the College of Engineering for consistently demonstrating the College’s mission, vision, and values in their work.

Six CSE staff have been recognized by the College of Engineering for consistently demonstrating the College’s vision, mission, and values in their work as recipients of this year’s Staff Incentive Award. This initiative is part of the culture pillar of Michigan Engineering’s strategic plan. The recipients went above and beyond to ensure a positive environment for all.

Shannon Escobar

Shannon Escobar, CSE Course Support Specialist

Shannon provides support for EECS 183, Elementary Programming Concepts, which is offered to students in the College of LSA. The usual enrollment for this course is above 1000 students, with 2-3 faculty members and usually around 40 student IAs and GSIs. With a positive can-do attitude, plenty of creativity and initiative, and good amounts of grace, Shannon is able to keep all of the many moving parts of EECS 183 working smoothly and efficiently. She provides consistency across the many sections of the course, ensures that policies are enforced, and responds to student inquiries and issues while also managing exams and preparing for the EECS 183 Showcase, a major event in itself. Her facility to anticipate what faculty, staff, and students need before they even know it, can make her results seem effortless.

Jamie Goldsmith headshot

Jamie Goldsmith, CSE Purchasing Assistant

Jamie is well known for his collegiality and collaboration, and for consistently striving to meet the needs of constituents while adhering to university guidelines. He approaches everything with a positive attitude and communicates well with whoever he is trying to help. Purchasing can be as much an art as a science, and Jamie makes sure that everyone involved understands what the situation is with respect to expected deliveries or what further information is required in order to keep things moving. He is an integral part of working with students and faculty members to get what they need to do their research; without his drive and willingness to do whatever it takes to get things done, it is doubtful that CSE would be able to function at the high level it is accustomed to.

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Karen Liska, CSE Human Resources Coordinator

Karen is an indispensable member of CSE’s staff as well as one of its longest serving: she has served in the EECS department for 40 years. Karen is an exceptionally gifted individual whose dedication, effectiveness, and organizational skills have continuously supported a division that has grown by leaps and bounds during her tenure here. Her dedication and commitment to supporting the faculty, students, and staff of CSE has become legendary, and her trustworthiness is at the top of the list of her many fine qualities. Over the years, Karen has assisted constituents with all manner of HR concerns, always providing insight, compassion, and trusted confidentiality.

Sarah Snay headshot

Sarah Snay, CSE Outreach and DEI Administrative Coordinator

Sarah plays an important role at CSE in helping the community to understand the division’s implicit needs and in initiating programs to advance DEI. She is a leading voice on the CSE DEI committee and makes it a priority that everyone on the team gets an opportunity to speak and be heard, and she has helped to lead our team in diversity training. Sarah brings a considered and thoughtful approach to leading these efforts as well as an equal willingness to learn. Two programs that Sara leads are the initiative for the division’s Undergraduate IA Experience and its Mentoring Program, both which have been met with great success.

Gray Strain headshot

Gray Strain, CSE Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Gray has played a significant role developing programs to build community for both students and staff. When new to the Undergraduate Advising Office, Gray took it upon themselves to create an Instagram social media presence for CSE students, which now has over 800 followers and where important information is shared daily. They initiated an annual student design sticker contest that gets the students involved and excited. Gray also led in collaborations to develop a fall Welcome Event for new CSE undergraduates and a program for creating conversations and connections between CSE staff. Gray is also well-appreciated by students: last year, they were a finalist nominee for U-M’s ACUM Outstanding Advising Award, where nominations are submitted entirely from students.

Punam Vyas headshot

Punam Vyas, EECS Course Scheduling Coordinator

Punam is adept at finding ways to streamline her responsibilities and make process improvements in her daily work. To better accommodate the dozens of requests she receives from faculty for large classrooms, and to best serve as many students as possible, she has pushed administration to make decisions on teaching schedules earlier. She goes above and beyond searching for classrooms for courses to accommodate a faculty’s preferred time. Her creative solutions extend beyond EECS. For example, the college had been struggling for years to get CollegeNet to add room capacities to the confirmation emails. When Punam attended the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers conference, she sought out and engaged with CollegeNet and convinced them to add room capacity to the confirmation email.