The LAS Impact Award recognizes individuals and teams in the College of LAS that demonstrated a spirit of service and sacrifice that went beyond expectations to serve our community during the COVID-19 crisis.
LAS Impact Award
While everyone on campus deserves recognition for adjusting their work and carrying on their duties during a difficult year, we invited our community to nominate LAS faculty, staff, and students who went beyond expectations to make a difference in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and beyond.
The range of the contributions is amazing: from staff members who innovated approaches to online learning, to students who created new ways to stay connected, to faculty who led breakthroughs in pandemic research.
The recipients of the LAS Impact Award represent the determination and adaptability that have helped light our way through this difficult moment in our history. We extend our utmost gratitude to those who went above and beyond the call of duty in helping our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
See below for the names and descriptions of the more than 500 recipients. We present these awardees with great pride and optimism for our future.
- Gene Robinson, interim dean of the College of LAS and Swanlund Chair in Entomology
For creating opportunities for the members of the Actuarial Science Club to further improve themselves both personally and professionally during the pandemic. Priyansh Barodia, Tina Guo, Luke Janikowski, Shreya Kodati, Sara Lagvankar, Evelyn Lai, Xi Lin, Michelle Liu, Philip Song, Drew Taylor, Andrea Wilcox, & Henry Wu
For making online learning fun and engaging during the pandemic.
For excellence in research mentorship and creatively adapting experimental research to maintain momentum in undergraduate training during the pandemic.
For building community within atmospheric sciences by organizing events throughout the entire year. Carolina Bieri, Max Grover, Scott James, & Troy Zaremba
For 3D printing facemasks for frontline workers during the medical supply shortage. Bijal Patel, Daniel Davies, Prapti Kafle, & Zhuang Xu
For creating a database to help researchers track mutations and creating softwre to help visualize the spread of COVID-19 globally. Mary Cook, Sachin Jajoo, Yan Luo, Suva Narayan, Royal Shrestha, & Angela Yoon
For their continued efforts to foster a positive and safe learning environment while adapting all CPR classes to remain as safe as possible. Niraj Lawande, Teodora Bozic, Eugene Gurevich, Bhavya Joshi, & Reilly Ruzella
For teaching World Taekwondo and providing a place for more than 40 students to exercise, improve themselves, those around them, and each others' confidence and spirit in spite of restricted workout activities. Lisa Guillet, John Horcher, Nirmal Katharavan, Pallavi Ravada, Zoe Spengler, & Nikki Yap
For writing and spreading resources for how to do your part during the social justice movement of 2020.
For always checking up on students and making class interesting and enjoyable.
For hosting the first virtual Midwest Student Conference on Atmospheric Research.
For creating a comprehensive mental health resource document to help support members of the university and broader community in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
For creating a pandemic-adapted resource that aims to help pre-medical students understand what the pre-medical journey entails while helping them become the most competitive candidate they can be. Hana Abbed, Anil Chakravorty, Eric Chen, & Izabella Lach
For helping thousands of undergraduate students learn statistics online by serving as tutors who make statistics understandable, fun, and accessible to all. Catherine Arreazola, Riley Burgoon, Amber Dorn, Ashley Grudzinski, Tamun Hanjra, Kelsey Libert, Aarthi Mahesh, Atharv Pathak, Cheyenne Petersen, Miah Phillips, Jonas Reger, & Sharon Wang
For successfully petitioning for and passing CR/NC grading procedures for the 2020 fall semester in response to the challenges created by the pandemic. Adit Agarwal, Kushal Amilineni, Ananya Cleetus, Devin Dionne, George Francis, Jason Gandrapu, Michael Garbus, Nathan Jenni, Robin Kar, Cora McVey, Alexis Perezchica, Neha Prabhu, Bruce Rosenstock, & Dana Yun
For making sure our students never felt isolated or disengaged from our community.
For his critical efforts in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
For their dedication to reinvigorating and innovating business and technical writing courses. Andrew Bowman, John Dudek, Joseph Grohens, Zachariah McVicker, David Morris, & Andrew Moss
For its concern for our students and creating a fund to support them during extremely difficult financial times. J. David Cisneros, Dan Gilbert, Jeremiah Heller, Craig Koslofsky, Kathy Oberdeck, A. Naomi Paik, & Dana Rabin
For critically and imaginatively engaging students and improving learning outcomes in a challenging year of new limitations and possibilities posed by our digital classrooms. Lauren Buisker, Grace Giorgio, Wallace Golding, & Bryan Reckard
For ensuring continuation of laboratory technical support services for UIUC researchers/SHIELD. David Culler, Danielle Gray, Nikki Duay, Beth Eves, Andy Gibbs, Kyle Kroha, Crislyn Lu, Dorothy Loudermilk, Xiuli Mao, Sandra McMasters, Kenton Northen, Dean Olson, John Rosheck, Roger Smith, Furong Sun, Andre Sutrisno, Kyle Webb, Zack Widup, David Williams, Toby Woods, Haijun Yao, Chen Zhang, & LingYang Zhu
For helping instructors take online teaching to the next level. Amanda Bales, Rob Barrett, Paul Beilstein, Andy Bowman, Laura Coby, John Dudek, Kay Emmert, Ryan Flanagan, Annah Freudenburg, Pallabi Gupta, Mary Hays, Kadin Henningsen, Dana Kinzy, John MacLean, Kristi McDuffie, Andrew Moss, Rebecca Oh, Kent Quaney, Daniel Roche, Cassandra Rosado, Ted Sanders, Jordan Sellers, & Andrea Stevens
For their support of students & each other throughout the pandemic. Omid Abdar, Agnieszka Bednarz, Emily Bilyeu, Hugh Bishop, Michael Bowen, Emily Buonomo, Max Burress, Huiying Cai, Elizabeth Carroll Curry, Xinlei Chen, Leyla Cooper, Ryan Corrigan, Tessa Dalton, Joshua Dees, Charles Dold, Frederick Dunn, Amber Dunse, Susan Faivre, Suzanne Franks, Jill Huang, Seungho Jang, Timothy Jang, Esther Kim
For their support of students & each other throughout the pandemic. Michelle Kim, Elizabeth King, John Kotnarowski, Mikako Masuda, Eva Miszoglad, Tomoko Oyama, Jin Pennell, Julie Prentice, Cassandra Rosado, Randall Sadler, Aria Santos, Robert Schroeder, Furkan Sevket Kir, Linda Sims, Adetutu Temitope Fabusoro, Luciano Vazquez, John Young, Sergei Zalesov, Jennifer Zhang, Yao Zhang
For their dedication to the promotion of evidence-based communications in the service of LAS and the campus community at large during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dolores Albarracin, Elisabeth Bigsby, Cabral Bigman-Galimore, Annie Jung, & Justine Kaplan
For his steady and empathetic leadership of the College of LAS during COVID-19.
For enlightened and compassionate support of the executives officers, faculty, students, and staff of the College of LAS during the pandemic.
For supporting online and hybrid course development. Theresa Barnes, Jerry Davila, Hadi Esfahani, John Karam, Colleen Murphy, Andy Orta, Matthias Grosse Perdekamp, Emanuel Rota, Misumi Sadler, John Randolph, & Steve Witt
For checking on students, being a pillar of support, and going the extra mile for students during the pandemic.
For providing vitally important COVID-19 testing to an underserved Illinois community. Jessica Brinkworth, Korinta Maldonado, Ellen Moodie, Gilberto Rosas, & Rachel Whitaker
For going to exceptional lengths to design special online materials and train their teaching staffs to ensure a consistently high-quality experience across numerous sections and teachers.
For organizing an online teaching community of practice and facilitating research learning communities, ensuring the continuity of his department community during the pandemic.
For his participation in the series of educational debates entitled "COVID-19: Clinical Ethics vs. Public Health Ethics," sponsored by Carle Foundation Hospital.
For going above and beyond when teaching his online course in order to give students a quality education on game theory, and for being a creative and considerate instructor.
For prioritizing our education both about the psychology of sense and perception and of the pandemic as it was unfolding, along with our safety and success in these difficult times.
For working many extra hours over the 2020 summer to ensure that the 2020-21 academic year got off to a good start. John Patrick Caughlin, Jonathan H Ebel, Wendy Heller, Jonathan Xavier Inda, Thomas M Johnson, Bo Li, Mariselle Melendez, Supriya Gangadharan Prasanth, Dana Rabin, Robert A Rushing, Robert Trapp, Jeremy Tyson, & James Yoon
For helping a student navigate and work through the aftermath of having COVID-19 so they can continue to be successful and finish their degree.
For performing the preliminary tests necessary for a university-wide rollout of the saliva-based COVID-19 test. Steven Michael Blanke, Ahmad Bobat, Maritza Diaz, Lexi Freeman, Alvyn Gonzalo Hernandez Reyes, Emily Grumish, Jack Harrison Schnieders, Sydney Koelper, Sara Shahid, & Daniela Yazunary Garfias Cuevas
For volunteering to produce viral transport media (VTM) needed for coronavirus tests around the state. Matthew Boudreau, Isaac Cann, Lauren Carnevale, Lindsay Chatkewitz, Matteo Cossu, Laura Daigh, Meghan Diefenbacher, Stella Ekaputri, Sara Eslami, Kristen Farley, Katie Frye, Emily Geddes, Kelsie Green, Auroni Gupta, Lonnie Harris, Jooyeon Jeong, Thomas Kehl-Fie
For volunteering to produce viral transport media (VTM) needed for coronavirus tests around the state. Aya Kelly, Collin Kieffer, Ashley Kretsch, Justin Lange, Tongyu Liu, Teresa Martin, Martin McLaughlin, William Metcalf, Michael Miller, Shekhar Mishra, Douglas Mitchell, Satish Nair, Benjamin Parker, Jana Radin, Imran Rahman, Kenneth Ringwald, Joel Rivera Cardona, Roy Rodriguez Carrero
For volunteering to produce viral transport media (VTM) needed for coronavirus tests around the state. Ruben Sanchez-Nieves, Carl Schultz, Kyle Shelton, Akanksh Shetty, Max Simon, James Slauch, Tyler Stack, Preethi Thattai Ragunathan, Wilfred van der Donk, Hannah Walukiewicz, Che Yang, Yiwei Yang, Huimin Zhao
For her strong leadership during the pandemic: she anticipated needed changes; communicated clearly; convened teams; supported students, staff and faculty; and advanced a commitment to DEI.
For working countless hours to support psychology graduate students with welcome packages, online programming, virtual office hours, and regular expressions of gratitude.
For skillfully providing & maintaining the technical infrastructure that allowed all to work remotely. Nate Baxley, Riana Beachy-Hasenick, Lawrence Broda, Eric Claypool, Rami Dass, Daniel Linck Davis, Keith Frazier, Robbie Gascoigne, Gabe Gibson, Julia Austin Hartman, Maggie Jarvis, Anya Kanevskaya, Kelsey Jean Marsh, Randy McCarthy, Mindy McClard, Maged Messeh, Peter Miller, Willie Mitchell
For skillfully providing & maintaining the technical infrastructure that allowed all to work remotely. Tony Mullen, Will Newton, Ann O'Brien, Firmino DD Pinto, Todd Reese, Michelle Rome, Tyler Rubach, Tim Sandholm, Michael Savage, Shelley Siuts, Michael Sommers, Henry Strube, Bianca Teixeira, Kurt Tuohy, Brenden West, James Witte, Jakub Wolak, Daniel Wood, Konstantinos Yfantis
Their patience and delivery was priceless and made the transition during this unprecedented time much easier and less stressful. Gabe Gibson, Kelsey March, Mike Savage, & Dan Wood
For moving quickly to share PPE with area hospitals, completing a deep clean of the museum and checking ventilation, carrying on with plans to install a new show, and reorganizing space to create a safe classroom within the Spurlock Museum.
For going to extraordinary lengths ensuring that everyone had what they needed during the pandemic and demonstrating amazing teamwork, accomplishing together what nobody could alone. Adrienne Harris, Amy Holland, Colleen Kling, & Mary Strum
For providing superb support and genuine personal attention to the students, staff, and faculty of the Department of Asian American Studies during the pandemic.
For working diligently to help the college plan for teaching and learning under COVID-19 starting in Fall 2021. Mark Aber, Tosha Bilsbury, Carla Caceres, Clare Crowston, Jeff Douglas, Elena Delgado, Julie Dowling, Bryan Dunne, Cara Finnegan, Barbara Hancin-Bhatt, Petra Jelinek, Christian Ray, Kelly Ritter, Kristi Valentin, Michael Wellens, Xun Yan, & Kostas Yfantis
For quickly reimagining the work of fundraising and alumni engagement, the nature of which changed abruptly when travel limitations began, enabling LAS to continue its successful advancement efforts throughout the pandemic. Joseph Baldwin, Julie Curtis, Cindy Kempke, Chris Kirby, Sheila Kroon, Jasmine Luckett, Joseph Madden, Sarah Morris, Allison Myles
For quickly reimagining the work of fundraising and alumni engagement, the nature of which changed abruptly when travel limitations began, enabling LAS to continue its successful advancement efforts throughout the pandemic. Ashley Nagele, Tracy Parish, Braden Shain, Mindy Spencer, Evan Tammen, Leslie Vermillion, Joan Volkmann, Paul Winterbotham, Megan Wolf
For quickly pivoting to remote work, adjusting the way they work, and adapting many of their projects to an online environment. Karla Denzler, Paul Elliott, Dave Evensen, Heather Gillett, Heidi Gnadt, Melissa Kuhl, Kayleigh Rahn, Keith Sutterfield, & W. Brad Petersen
For promoting SAAO staff and community well-being with virtual social events, friendly wellness competitions, and a valuable well-being channel in Teams. Teresha Bossingham, Anna Chovanec, Mary Davis, Jeanine Meyer, Ashley Poppy, Tenaya Reifsteck, & Murillo Soranso
For quickly and creatively adopting new technologies and a remote work culture, not missing one day of support for our students while improving students' satisfaction with our service as compared to pre-COVID-19. Kate Abney, Sean Beal, Ekateryna Bondareva, Teresha Bossingham, Allison Branson, Nikia Brown, Maureen Burch, Lesley Butler, Savannah Carter, Anna Chovanec, Steven Cox, Belinda Davis
For quickly and creatively adopting new technologies and a remote work culture, not missing one day of support for our students while improving students' satisfaction with our service as compared to pre-COVID-19. Mary Davis, Catherine Edgar, Gabrielle Elkins, Jonathan Elugbadebo, Allyssa Finder, Elly Hanauer, Barbara Hancin-Bhatt, Allison Holden, Kate Krueger, Amanda Lentz, Kari Mahannah, Jeanine Meyer
For quickly and creatively adopting new technologies and a remote work culture, not missing one day of support for our students while improving students' satisfaction with our service as compared to pre-COVID-19. Joseph Murphy, Gretchen Pein Baloun, Allison Perry, Ashley Poppy, Tenaya Reifsteck, Brian Schumacher, Murillo Soranso, Robert Steltman, Kristy Valentin, Doreen Vaughn, Raymona Wicks
For creating a special support system for students and instructors to respond to student engagement concerns. Savannah Carter, Anna Chovanec, Steven Cox, Cathy Edgar, Allyssa Finder, Ashley Poppy, Tenaya Riefsteck, Bob Steltman, Kristy Valentin, Doreen Vaughn, & Raymona Wicks
For serving as a Life + Career Design community coach in support of students' well-being and career readiness goals during the pandemic. Jennifer Anderson Bliss, Aurora Marie Cruz Torres, Steven Cox, Julie Higgs, Desiree McMillion, Dawn McNulty, Kimberly Powers, & Kirstin Wilcox
For her adaptability, creativity, and empathy in managing college social media accounts during COVID-19.
For becoming a Zoom wizard and helping the Office of the Dean host online meetings, events, and webinars.
For quickly adopting new systems and platforms, and coordinating technology distribution to ensure college-level advising-student support was enhanced for remote learning and work, directly serving 12,600+ students, staff, and faculty. Tabbey Cochran, Gretchen Pein, Allison Perry, Todd Reese, Michelle Rome, & Jakub Wolak
For ensuring proper handling of critical sensitive shipments in and out of the School of Chemical Sciences during COVID-19. Lori Sage-Karlson, Danielle Cruzan, Nancy Lamb, Lucas Langley, & Mike Rhoten