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Showcase 2021 Awards

President’s Employee Excellence Awards

For administrative professional and classified employees

These awards recognize outstanding contributions to the University by employees statewide.

Robert K. Ames

Procurement & Supply Specialist 4, Purchasing Services

Bob Ames procures scientific and medical equipment for the entire WSU system. A critical part of the Purchasing Services leadership team, he has been integral in advancing implementation of Workday and helping staff university-wide learn the new system. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, he ensured that the University’s essential purchasing operations continued. He worked long hours to process priority purchases, many directly related to research deadlines and the pandemic response. Bob supports his colleagues as if they were part of his family. He makes people smile when he helps them—perhaps his best trait of all.


Meg Autrey

Associate Director, Housing and Residence Life

Meg makes WSU a great place to learn, live, and work. From high-level planning and logistics to the complex and often emotional issues of residence life, she offers thoughtful and decisive leadership. A strategy she developed for building connections among neighbors in campus apartments has been featured at national housing conferences. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Meg conducted countless hours of research and consulted with experts to assemble a plan for safely housing students on campus. She helped student residents feel safe and supported. She has compassionately navigated budget cuts to minimize impact on the community.



Maria Clara De Souza

Senior Associate Director, Office of International Programs, International Student and Scholar Services

Maria Clara De Souza administers immigration services for the entire University system. She advises international students and scholars and helps departments hire skilled personnel from around the world. Maria leverages her policy expertise to resolve complex issues concerning visa regulations. When she assumed her leadership role last April, US immigration policy created challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic drove employees into a virtual work environment. Against that backdrop, Maria has provided exceptional service to departments, especially related to the complex issue of employment-based visas. Not only is she an active listener, she is an advocate who empowers those around her.

Kathryn L. Dahmen

CFO/Assistant Director, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences

Kathy Dahmen manages administrative and human resource services for 250 faculty and staff in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. She ensures the units’ financial viability, expertly overseeing and managing budgets of over $16 million. Her nominators laud her extraordinary dedication and productivity, noting that she consistently works long hours—including weekends and holidays—to ensure that every need is met. Kathy helps others build upon their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. She treats everyone with respect, and is a trusted confidante for many. She creatively solves problems to help faculty, staff, and students succeed.


Shawn Ringo

Director, Occupational Health and Safety

Shawn Ringo dedicated extraordinary effort to protect the University community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He consulted with faculty and staff on safety strategies and ensured they had supplies protective equipment. He shared policies and guidelines for implementing COVID-19 safety protocols and guided implementation of education and training programs. He supported WSU’s contact tracing effort, contacting hundreds of students to provide isolation and quarantine guidance, and assisted with developing WSU’s spring 2021 COVID testing plan. During an uncertain and stressful time, Shawn provided an unwaveringly high level of customer service. His tireless efforts made the university community more safe and secure.

Jason Sampson

Director, Environmental Services

With a friendly, can-do attitude, Jason Sampson has led University efforts to manage COVID-19 health risks. He worked extra night and weekend hours to develop COVID-19 training programs, create templates for return-to-work plans, distribute disinfectants, and identify locations for testing. When students tested positive, Jason delivered support services. In cooperation with the Whitman County Health Department and WSU colleagues, he conducted contact tracing for 1,800+ positive cases. He evaluated classrooms and work spaces to determine capacity limits and advised on the use of protective gear. In addition, he maintained routine waste management and pollution-control operations, work that will substantially reduce WSU’s regulatory and utility costs.

April Seehafer

Director, Distinguished Scholarships Program

April Seehafer has been the driving force behind the success of the University’s Distinguished Scholarships Program. Since stepping into her role in 2016, she has transformed WSU into an institution that prepares and graduates students who are competitive for prestigious national and international fellowships and scholarships. She has achieved this by leading students through a process of self-discovery. She helps them to see their own strengths in new ways, giving them confidence to compete on the national and international stage. April collaborates with faculty, staff, alumni, and organizations systemwide to help students successfully vie for awards and career opportunities.

Previous recipients

2020Karen Fischer
Denise Keeton
Kenneth Innami Porter
Sue Sheppard
Nina Woodford
2019Chris Benson
Deb Howe
Kathie Jahn
Beverly Makhani
Terresa Watson
2018Paula Adams
Cheryl Hagelganz
Julie M. King
Vicky Murray
Andy Percifield
2017Raul Garza, Jr.
Don Hulst
Darrel Nelson
Tom Parrish
Josue Rodriguez
2016Kelly Beckman-Nigro
Aaron Brumbaugh
Vickie Dickson
Kim Holapa
Coree Newman-Coronado
2015Gayle Anderson
Susan Cao
Ann Marie Gooch
Amy Grey
Brady Ratsch
2014Brandon Anderson (posthumous award)
Kris Boreen
Galen Gorence
Don Holbrook
Sisouvanh Keopanapay
2013Joseph Beck
Barry Birdsell
Heather Burke
Heather Cochran
Norene Phillipson
2012Donna Clark
Jean Grammer
Nancy Lira
Eldon Loe
Becki Meehan
2011Kenny Bisagno
Bill Gardner
Kimiaki Hirosi
Pama Manoranjan
Sharon Taff

Complete list of award winners | Video of award winners