Seven members of the professional staff at South Dakota State University have been honored for their quality work.
The recipients were honored at the SDSU Professional Staff Advisory Council annual meeting in mid-May.
Malynda Mabbitt, a learning designer for Instructional Design Services, was given the Rising Star Award. The award recognizes superior achievement by a professional staff member within the first three years of employment.
PSAC collaborated with the Office of the President this year to expand the number of Presidential Awards of Excellence from three to six. They were given to:
- Nicole Gertken, academic success and recovery coordinator for the Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center
- Ryan Christy, assistant athletic director for development for Jackrabbits Athletics
- Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension cow/calf field specialist
- Sue Fierstine, budget and administrative coordinator for the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions
- Liping Gu, research staff scientist for the Department of Biology and Microbiology
- Shelly Bayer, director of multicultural affairs for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Accessibility
Mabbitt, who embraces the challenges that come with online education, has presented on “Accessibility Tips for Invisible Barriers in Class” to numerous groups both at SDSU and beyond. She has a passion for inclusive online course design and providing knowledge on creating an accessible online environment for all learners.
Gertken produces strong outcomes through the programs she leads at the Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center. She recently took strides to improve accessibility within the Academic Success and Recovery and Summer Bridge programs and has been a champion for continuing to incorporate new ideas in peer educator programs.
Christy has built strong relationships throughout the university and community, engaging with multiple constituent groups on a weekly basis. These contacts have helped SDSU’s athletic landscape be bold, creative and adaptable, even under ever-changing circumstances. He is praised as a tremendous collaborator and teammate.
Salverson has 20-plus years of Extension experience, and her efforts have led to the first successful Beef South Dakota grant, 15 years of Annie’s Project programming, and several sold-out artificial insemination programs that have reached more than 1,000 producers across the state. She has spent the past year developing the first Spanish-speaking option AI school hosted by SDSU, and her team converted publications into Spanish and added translators to AI schools on the dairy farms where the participants work.
Fierstine provides extensive documentation and procedures that are concise and easy to understand, trains other team members on budget-related projects, and provides a deep understanding of financial policies and procedures in the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. She is praised as a team player and is an active volunteer both on and off campus.
Gu has served as manager of the SDSU Functional Genomics Core Facility for 14 years. She is responsible for the daily operations of more than 10 research instruments and helps host approximately 250 registered users. She has obtained more than a dozen extramural research fundings, including NSF MRI funding in 2021 to provide equipment and improve the genomics facility, and has published more than 46 research articles, seven book chapters and more than 40 conference presentations.
Bayer focuses on continuous improvement in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Accessibility. She served as chair of the LeadState program on campus for more than six years and continually looked for ways to improve the program. She serves on university committees because she cares about the mission and wants to give back to the broader campus community.
Each recipient received a plaque and a cash award. Award criteria were developed around SDSU’s core values as a land-grant institution: excellence, diversity, integrity, creativity and being people-centered.