EOQ Recipients April – June 2023

Leslie Kruger photoHolly Cudzilo photo

The Department of Human Resources would like to congratulate Leslie Kruger and Holly Cudzilo on receiving this honor.

Leslie Kruger, Executive Administrative Assistant I in the Office of Institutional Advancement, has been selected as the Nonexempt Employee of the Quarter for April – June of 2023. Leslie began her career at UMBC in 2008 in her current position.

Leslie was nominated for the Employee of the Quarter award by Helena Dahlen, Executive Administrative Assistant II in the Division of Information Technology. Helena says, “I can’t think of anyone better deserving of this award. Leslie is doing a phenomenal job working with community outreach/communication in Institutional Advancement (IA). Among her duties and tasks, I want to mention her efforts in supporting the University Steering Committee for 14 years with secretarial duties, something she is doing to the highest standard and accuracy, always with a smile and thoughtful input.”

“She singlehandedly took on the administrative work and communication of bringing Oca Mocha, the student-run/owned coffee vendor in Arbutus, from a student project to a local and thriving business, working effortlessly as the liaison between UMBC and local communities.”

“Leslie is engaged in many different entities at UMBC. She is a member of the Nonexempt Staff Senate and represents the group at new employee orientation to speak about shared governance. Off-campus, she recently signed up to volunteer with the Ellicott City Partnership since she recognizes the importance of being active in the community where she works and lives.”

Angela Paik Schaeffer, Interim Vice President, Communication in the Office of Institutional Advancement was excited and thrilled for Leslie upon learning that she was selected as Employee of the Quarter.

Leslie was presented her award and stated that she is very happy to receive the honor and has receive many nice accolades from her teammates.

Holly Cudzilo, Academic Advisor in the Individualized Study Program (INDS), has been selected as the Exempt Employee of the Quarter for April-June of 2023. Holly began her career with UMBC in 2017 as Administrative Assistant II and was promoted to Program Management Specialist and then to Academic Advisor.

Holly was nominated by Stephen Freeland, INDS Director/UAA Associate Dean/Professor. In describing her work Stephen Freeland says, “Over five years ago, INDS hired Holly to become our Administrative Assistant II.  We lost our prior incumbent at very short notice and by the time Holly came on board we were in an administrative mess.  Holly had no experience whatsoever in higher education administration, and yet her application and interview caused us to believe there exists a significant, untapped potential to adapt and learn. She immediately proved us correct, bringing a consistent level of energy and initiative that quickly fixed our problems and saw her rapidly deserve promotion to Program Management Specialist. After 2 years, once she had fully established her comfort level with all administrative procedures (including what remains, to me, a bewildering diversity of software involved in every kind of financial and HR process) she proceeded to earn a Master’s degree here at UMBC in applied sociology. Her chosen subject reflected her commitment to better understand and serve the social dimension of our work, especially with students who wrestle with emotional and mental challenges.”

“Holly’s new, graduate qualification merely hints at broad and far-reaching ways in which she has helped me and my entire team to revisit and keep innovating our work, with a particular eye on the wellbeing of our students. Holly has revamped our web presence and social media, rethought and redesigned our outreach printed materials. She helped me operate our Living Learning Community, helping these first-year students significantly to solve all kinds of problems and challenges. As she has grown in confidence, she has offered increasing input at our weekly staff/faculty meeting (always humble, but usually very useful) about all our academic and co-curricular activities. All the while she has been steadily building social capital around campus that has our administration running more efficiently and more innovatively than I have ever known.”

“Under COVID she had INDS move all paperwork to DocuSign faster than any other corner of campus of which I am aware, and I could list endless other examples. But one of Holly’s most influential contributions, particularly under COVID, has been to consistently bolster the morale of the faculty and staff within our unit through practical improvements to our daily work. The single act which most causes me to write this nomination now exemplifies this effect on unit morale through nuts’n’bolts pragmatism: it is her persistence in working to get our INDS offices mended and redecorated. At the heart of this, one of our rooms was never touched by the Fine Arts renovation in 2013, because it was used as the storeroom for construction materials up until the hour, we moved in. In short, then, ever since our return to campus Holly has worked tirelessly to engage with facilities management, including finding new hires there who have been marvelously responsive, such that as I write we are finishing up moving back into offices and a classroom which has been mended and redecorated. What I want to highlight is the effect this success has had on the morale of my entire team. It represents Holly’s strengths perfectly that she could connect the seemingly mundane with the deepest and most intangible aspects of keeping our program moving forwards. I see my staff and faculty lifted into excitement for the new semester, re-energized by offices and a classroom that looks cared for and renewed. I myself have learned an important lesson here about the mistake of forgetting that situations and people change what I could not achieve prior to COVID had led me to perceive it was not worth pursuing. The success that Holly’s energy, optimism, and persistence have yielded cause me now to look for all the other areas of my work that I have slid to the “backburner” as “not a good use of my time and effort.” Things are different after COVID – there are many new challenges, but there are also many opportunities to rebuild, remake and start afresh with new energy.”

“Much of this nomination reflects works that Holly completed in her role as Program Management Specialist.  In October 2022, Holly was promoted to the position of Academic Advisor within our program.”

Holly was presented with her award and was proud to be selected as EOQ and was grateful for the recognition.

Recipients receive $500, a special parking space, one day of administrative leave, a certificate, his/her/their name on the Employee of the Quarter plaque and an invitation to the annual Service Award Ceremony.

Human Resources offers special thanks to everyone that nominated an employee for the award. Previous nominations received will be eligible for consideration for one year from the date received. The next Employee of the Quarter recipients will be selected in July.