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Membership Awards

Karen Dolan Spirit Award

The Karen Dolan Spirit Award recognizes a USAC representative for their stewardship, devotion and service to the council. It is given to an employee who embodies the spirit of the late Karen Dolan, who had a strong passion for helping the Vanderbilt community during her time on campus. Dolan worked at Vanderbilt for nearly 26 years. She was the Graduate School registrar before being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). She died in May 2006, and the award was created in her memory in 2008.

  • 2023 Jennifer Bennett
  • 2022 Adam McKeever-Burgett
  • 2021 – Tiffany Lawrence Givens
  • 2020 – Tara Williams
  • 2019 – Carjamin Scott
  • 2018 – Caroline Caldwell
  • 2017 – Anna Thomas
  • 2016 – Rachel Harrell
  • 2015 – Kara Furlong
  • 2014 – Eric Jones
  • 2013 – Diane Banks
  • 2012 – Lara Beth Lehman
  • 2011 – Sue King
  • 2010 – Andrea Wall
  • 2009 – Faye Johnson
  • 2008 – Cliff Wilson


USAC Spirit Award (subsequently the Karen Dolan Spirit Award)

  • 2008 – Andy Richter


Committee Member of the Year

  • 2022-23 Lynn Hastings
  • 2021-22 – Jennifer Bennett & Denise Johnson
  • 2020-21 – Stacy Crowhurst & Faith Bishop
  • 2019-20 – Renee Dawson & Susan Walker
  • 2018-19 – Rachel Harbin & Sara Sanders
  • 2017-18 – Heather Warkins
  • 2016-17 – Robin Carlson
  • 2015-16 – Jeff Loudon
  • 2014-15 – Jeff Loudon
  • 2013-14 – Karen Burnett
  • 2012-13 – Mary Ann Dean
  • 2011-12 – Don Pruitt


Committee of the Year (formerly Committee Chair of the Year)

  • 2022-23 Communications (Faith Bishop & Andrea Zink, co-chairs)
  • 2021-22 – Staff Life (Adam McKeever-Burgett & Sara Putnam, co-chairs)
  • 2020-21 – Events (Jennifer Bennett & Amanda King, co-chairs)
  • 2019-20 – Rules & Administration (Ashley Majewski & Jessamyn Davis, co-chairs)
  • 2018-19 – Communications (Carjamin Scott & Carlos Ruiz, co-chairs)
  • 2017-18 – Membership (Caroline Caldwell & Amanda Chiavini, co-chairs)
  • 2016-17 – Events (Judy Johnson & Amanda King, co-chairs)
  • 2015-16 – Staff Life (Al Brady & Andy Richter, co-chairs)
  • 2014-15 – Staff Life (Al Brady & Andy Richter, co-chairs)
  • 2013-14 – Events Committee (Lori Murphy & Kerrie Turney, co-chairs)


Committee Chair of the Year

  • 2012-13 – Michelle Kovash
  • 2011-12 – Kate Stuart


Appreciation Award

  • 2008 – Kelli McQuiston


Member of the Month

Member of the Month was created to recognize USAC representatives who have demonstrated excellence and great commitment to the staff council and its mission. In the 2015-2016 year, it was decided that this would become a once-a-semester award, so the winners of the monthly award are archived below. 

May 2015

Susie Smith – Staff Life

“Susie works as a co-chair researching issues about the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center. In this role she has been active in interviews for the new director of the VRWC. She has worked countless hours to compile research toward answering the concerns of staff members and the rec center. She also has worked with Staff Life Committee members researching military leave concerns and other benefits-related concerns.”

April 2015

Monica Sanchez – Staff Life

“Monica works on the benefits subcommittee in Staff Life. She has pushed some important issues about benefits policies to the administration. She has worked on investigating bereavement policy changes as well as further understanding FlexPTO. Monica has worked to bring our concerns directly to conversations with HR representatives. She is currently working on an FAQ to be answered by HR and then placed on the USAC website.”

March 2015

Melissa Wocher – Rules and Administration

“Melissa is a huge asset to the Rules and Administration Committee and USAC. Her tenure on the council and experience as a past president provide a depth of knowledge that can't be valued enough. Melissa is the person I turn to for a perspective that is informed by how things have been done in the past, which helps avoid previous mistakes and ensures progress in a positive direction. Her understanding of how USAC and Vanderbilt operate is so important, and we are very lucky to have her on the Rules and Admin. Committee.”

February 2015

JJ Street – Rules and Administration

“JJ has worked tirelessly to help USAC make several necessary bylaw and ops manual changes this year. He was instrumental in editing the bylaws to make sure they are gender-inclusive, and he is currently working to update all officer and committee descriptions to reflect current processes.”  

January 2015

Melissa Ahler – Membership

“Melissa manages the online roster and has worked to keep up with the many updates we have had this year.”

December 2014

Stephen Loveless – Staff Life

“Stephen has worked diligently with Staff Life and led the charge as a subcommittee chair for our All Gender Restrooms recommendation. Following Stephen’s lead, we are putting final touches on a very dynamic recommendation that we hope will be brought to the council for approval in December.”

November 2014

Carol Soren – Events

“Carol was instrumental in the success of the Second Harvest volunteer event. She made initial contact with the organization and stepped up as point person in the Events co-chairs' absence.”

October 2014

John Brassil – Communication

“John is a longtime USAC member—and former president—and maintains a vigorous interest in the staff council. He is active at Executive Committee meetings, monthly USAC meetings, makes certain that any and all AV needs are met and is consistent in providing Group 5 with updates.”

September 2014

Rachel Morgan and Lisa Poynter – Events

“Rachel and Lisa were part of the group that worked closely with (Events co-chair) Michael Pring at the Sounds game. They gathered everything needed for the game and were in communication with us continuously. They were a huge part of the success of the day. Kudos to them and to Events!”

August 2014

Don Pickert – Communication

“Don has served in two important roles on the Communication Committee over the past year. He was an integral part of our RedCap exploration, and he handled mailing list change requests. Don also has a great attitude and volunteer spirit.”

July 2014

Jill Rider – Membership  

“Jill was recently elected to staff council to fill a vacancy in her group. She immediately stepped up to take a leadership role on the committee and has been a huge help so far in the transition. She stepped out of her comfort zone to learn something new (REDCap) that will be useful for her new role as co-chair of the committee.”

June 2014

Karen Seezen – Membership

“Karen has done a really great job of stepping up to make sure we have a greeter at every meeting and often fills this role herself.”

May 2014

Wynn Jeter – Events 

“Wynn has been point person on two of our events: She served as the day-of coordinator for our Second Harvest Day of Service, and she helped coordinate our happy hour at The Pub. She has been a dynamic volunteer on the Events Committee this spring.”

April 2014

Andy Richter – Staff Life

“Andy is the cornerstone of the Staff Life group. As a former committee chair, he is still very active in all meetings. He provides mentorship for all of the members in our group. He has also taken on the cause of workplace civility; for this effort, Andy has formed a group comprised of faculty and staff who are actively working to address the issue across campus. His presence and work is invaluable to Staff Life and USAC.”

“Hands down, the CARE event was all due to his leadership.”

March 2014

Karen Burnett – Events

“Karen has been a dedicated USAC member during her term this year. She has continually helped USAC reserve spaces for meetings and events, helped coordinate our logistical efforts, and allowed us to avoid costs where possible. She has been a regular volunteer on the Events Committee and recently helped deliver numerous boxes to food drive locations across campus that we had been unable to deliver. She is the ultimate team player.”

February 2014

Scott Nelsen – Communication

“Scott put an incredible amount of energy, effort and ownership into the USAC newsletter’s design and creation. He created an easy template to be used for future newsletters, as well as kept the design simple and professional.”

January 2014

Allison Bradley – Events

Demoyne Culpepper – Communication

Clint Kimmel – Rules and Administration

Sally Morgan – Staff Life

Kim Tromatore – Membership