Skip to Content

Current Staff Spotlight Winners

Anna Caruso

Thank you, Anna Caruso!

The LSA Staff Spotlight Committee would like to thank Anna Caruso for all her years of service as a Financial Specialist Senior in the Department of Psychology’s East Hall Business Office. According to the many letters of support we received, Anna was known for her outstanding customer service and interpersonal skills, her incredible attention to detail, and her willingness to go above and beyond to help faculty and staff alike.

With all this wonderful praise, it’s no surprise that this summer Anna was offered and accepted a position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We wish her the best of luck and are sure that she will bring the same excellence to her new position.

Congratulations, Anna!

LSA Staff Spotlight Team Award: Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) Advisors
Ebony Ellis, Rebecca Griffin, Kate Lilly, Sarah Pauling and Crissy Zamarron

Article By: Erica Gehringer

Photos By: Mariam Negaran

Whether it is sending students to Jordan to complete their Arabic language and culture requirements; to Peru to learn and practice grassroots approaches to hygiene, sanitation, and nutrition; or to Japan to study Japanese art and culture, the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) has them covered. CGIS provides undergraduates with a wide array of study abroad opportunities, currently offering more than 90 programs in 40 countries around the world—and plans to add even more! There is never a dull moment in the office, and CGIS advisors Ebony Ellis, Rebecca Griffin, Kate Lilly, Sarah Pauling, and Crissy Zamarron work tirelessly year-round to make the process of studying abroad as easy as possible.

There is no “typical” day for Ebony, Rebecca, Kate, Sarah, and Crissy. While placing students abroad is a large part of what the advisors do, it is not the only thing they do. They are always looking for improvements by constantly seeking and strengthening relationships with other University offices, revising and streamlining internal processes, looking for the most engaging ways to provide students information, stressing access and opportunities to programs outside of their own portfolios, vetting different places to study abroad, and even trying to keep up with the new lingo students use. One day could be full of advising appointments, while the others could be full of informational sessions, Skyping with faculty and institutions abroad, researching new programs, meeting with campus partners, or reviewing students’ applications. With the amount of work they do, Crissy explains that they always have to plan a semester ahead. Sarah shares, “The beauty of it is that our days shift based on the time of year, so it doesn’t get too repetitive.”

Students are the advisors’ biggest motivators. Ebony explains, “Once you’ve done all the planning, orientations, study abroad fairs, you can just think about how the students are going to have a worthwhile experience abroad, and knowing you are able to be a part of that timeline with them is a big motivator.” Crissy agrees, “I love that moment when you get the destroy the ‘myth’ of study abroad and say ‘You can go!’ and they really believe that they can go. It’s always fun to see that moment of excitement from students.” Kate adds that reading applications is often a good reminder of “why are we doing this work and what goals students have and how international education can be a nice compliment to what they wish to do and are already doing.” They all (semi-)joke that they live vicariously through the students and mutually agree upon how rewarding it is when students come back to share their experiences and thank their advisors for helping get them there.

Without working as a team, it would be much more difficult to accomplish all that they do now. Rebecca, who previously worked as the sole employee at a different institution’s study abroad office, states, “Working on this team is really collaborative. We’re always there to help each other out and keep things light and make even the mundane tasks a little fun.” They also keep an “open door” policy, where everyone feels comfortable asking for each other’s help and advice. Sarah explains, “It’s hard to take all of the credit for my portfolio because I’m always seeking advice from the other advisors, so I think it makes sense to be nominated as a team.”

Ebony, Rebecca, Kate, Sarah, and Crissy extend their gratitude beyond the advising team to the whole CGIS Office, acknowledging and appreciating the work that every other person does outside of advising. If they ever have any issues, they know that everyone is always there to offer unquestionable support. They are extremely grateful for the time students, faculty, their colleagues, and their supervisors spent on nominating them for the Spotlight Award. “It’s shocking to be nominated, because you don’t do it for a show or recognition.” Ebony shares. Rebecca adds, “Sometimes we can feel stuck in our little offices all day, and to know that people still notice us, that is definitely an honor as well.”

The CGIS Office is excited for a new cycle of applications for their Winter 2017 cohort of study abroad students. Starting mid-September, the advisors will soon be busy with reviewing applications, and they look forward to helping create new memories for students by placing them abroad.

(Left to right) Kate Lilly, Rebecca Griffin, Sarah Pauling, Ebony Ellis and Crissy Zamarron

Catherine (Cathy) Philbin, Major Advisor, Organizational Studies Program

Photo By: Bethany Christoff

Article By: Shelley Shock

Catherine (Cathy) Philbin has just celebrated working 30 years at the University.

A typical day for Cathy, the Major Advisor in the Organizational Studies Program, involves student advising appointments, and they happen in spurts. She also works some curriculum pieces such as manage petitions for students by working with student services. Catherine manages a database for students studying abroad. Organizational Studies has an alumni database which Catherine updates and maintains. Organization Studies has alum that are very connected to the program and work with current students. Current students can see the alumni database on C-tools.

Catherine likes the energy and enthusiasm of working with college-age students. There is a nice progression of seeing the students from sophomore year or so to graduation and beyond. She enjoys giving them advice.

The favorite part of her job is the connection she makes with students, and the broad range of those students.

Other advisors she has known and worked with have been role models for her.

Being in a department where everyone is committed to undergrad education (no graduate program) and everyone is very concerned about the student experience makes her job easier.

A long-term project is alumni connections and keeping up with alumni database. The goal is to keep the alumni connected to the Program as the alumni grows.

A challenging aspect of her job is that being an advisor can be a linchpin in a students’ experience. She would love to see advising elevated professionally. Catherine noted that we need to make good use of our advisors so students are well served and departments stay focused on student services.

Cathy feels that the staff recognition program is important. She appreciates the nomination and is honored to receive it.

When asked “What brought you to your current position?,” Catherine responded that the connection with students throughout the process is what brought her to the role. Being able to advise gives her a connection with students.

In the academic year ahead, she looks forward to new faculty teaching courses that students are very excited about. Students sit in on job candidate interviews and typically ask the candidates what courses they would teach.

Outside of work, Catherine volunteers at her children’s school. She is on a golf league in the summer and on a bowling league. She enjoys traveling and went to Paris two years ago. She also enjoys reading.

See below a few of the wonderful comments Organizational Studies faculty, students, and administrators said about Cathy:

She is so dedicated and professional in supporting students at the Organizational Studies Program.

Cathy is the epitome of the dedicated employee. She combines rigorous attention to detail with a comprehensive holistic view to continually improve our program; her advising is a wonderful blend of concerned shepherd, teacher, and career counselor. Despite the fact that she is situated in a small program, her contributions can be felt across the College. I can't think of an individual who deserves this award more than she.

Her positive energy, dedication to support students, and professionalism inspire me.

Cathy Philbin is one of the stars in the Organizational Studies department. She is always such a positive energy in the office, and optimistic even in the midst of crisis, which she often deals with.

Cathy is the advisor who will respond to you on weekends, during holiday breaks, promptly and thoroughly.

The expertise she has for her job, the lengths that she goes for her students and the amount of information that she shares is truly amazing.

She’s always pleasant to work with, and always pitches in to get done whatever needs to happen in OS, whether it is pulling off graduation or getting the office moved from Dennison to Ruthven.


Stay tuned for more Staff Spotlight winners 
in the next few months!