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UW-Stevens Point faculty, staff honored at University Awards

May 1, 2024
Professor Jennifer Collins, political science, and David Cummings, University Police, we among those honored at the 2024 University Awards.
Professor Jennifer Collins, political science, and David Cummings, University Police, we among those honored at the 2024 University Awards.


Outstanding faculty and staff members were recently recognized at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for their work during the 2023-24 academic year.

The Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship and Service Award was given to Professor and Department of Political Science Chair Jennifer Collins. She works closely with students and empowers them to explore new ideas and the world around them. She helped launch and advise the Pointers Voter Coalition and serves and advises several committees and student organizations.

The winner of the Carolyn Rolfson Sargis Award, recognizing employees with more than 25 years of service who work behind the scenes, was David Cummings, security officer for University Police and Security Services. For 35 years, he has worked a variety of shifts and preferred to stay behind the scenes assuring the safety and security of the campus. Cummings has been involved in the training and mentoring of hundreds of the students who worked for protective services as security cadets.

Those selected for the Excellence in Teaching Award include:

  • Lindsay Dresang, associate professor of biology, fosters and maintains collaboration amongst her circle with a dedication to student success and research.
  • Heather Molenda-Figueira, associate professor of psychology, models passion and care by offering a supportive, relatable and palatable classroom environment for her students.
  • Jesse Mossholder, associate lecturer of education, leads with empathy and resilience to promote mental health awareness and equity in and out of class.
  • Ryan O’Leary, lecturer of religious studies, encourages the sense of exploration, collaboration and inclusivity to help his students make sense of the world.
  • Neil Prendergast, assistant professor of history, offers a wealth of knowledge with energy and passion that has left an impact on many students.

Recognized with the University Scholar Award were:

  • Joseph Mondloch, associate professor of chemistry, advocates for student research and collaboration with a mission of inspiring curiosity and creating strong relationships.
  • Maggie Bohm-Jordan, associate professor of sociology and social work and coordinator of the health, behavior and society minor, gives her full commitment to student success through mentoring many student research projects.

The University Service Award recipients were:

  • Valerie Barske, professor of history and international studies and coordinator of internation studies, devotes herself across the campus through service on multiple committees and addressing global social justice issues.
  • Paul Whitaker, professor of biology, bestows his time to the Wausau campus and community through his service on several committees and collaboration with businesses and faculty across Wisconsin.
  • Ravyn Knipple, graduate programs assistant, works tirelessly to ensure a seamless application and enrollment process for graduate students while serving underrepresented students in any way possible.

The recipient of the Academic Staff Excellence Award was Brittany Kaminski, director of Marketing and Creative Services. As a leader and collaborator, she has played a key role in almost every major initiative, campaign and large-scale project or event that has graced the campus in the last 15 years.

The Academic Staff Spirit of Community Service Award was given to Jennifer Hess, associate director of Continuing Education and Outreach. In addition to helping to build the Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate program, her numerous collaborations have modeled trust and respect throughout.

Several staff members were recognized for Outstanding Work Performance:

  • Kelly Pickett, surplus property manager, has learned to run the University Surplus Store like a well-oiled machine with limited resources at her disposal, bringing in positive revenue for the department.
  • Erin Raikowski, financial specialist and University Information and Tickets Office manager, improved the University Centers through collaborations and constant learning to meet the changing needs of multiple departments.
  • Randy Lutz, master auto and equipment technician, uses his auto expertise and gives his extra time to the university in countless ways to ensure the betterment of the institution.
  • Kelly Bird, administrative specialist, has created, planned and managed hundreds of trips and events and maintained efficiencies while taking on extra responsibilities.