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LSA Information Technology

Awardees: Karen Wilson & Keon Ray

Department/Unit: LSA Information Technology

Let's get to know Karen & Keon...

How long have you been with the university and how long in your current position?

Keon Ray: 6.5 years altogether and 3.5 in my current role.

Karen Wilson: 24 years at the U with 20 years in LSA IT

What has been your most memorable experience at U-M?

Keon Ray: So many impactful things happen every day that I find it hard to say. One thing that comes to mind though is the time we decided to collect cans and dry food for a food drive to give to the needy. While this is a common way of "giving," my coworkers decided to dress up as food items in order to promote the event. One of them dressed up as Chicken Noodle Soup and the other as a box of Mac and Cheese. I'm not quite sure why, but I found this to be hilarious! While this is the one time I can think of, everyday is like this in LSAIT. I'm pleased to say that I work with some of the most passionate and fun people.

What gives you a connection to your job and helps you define your purpose?

Karen Wilson: I'm humbled everyday to work with such amazing minds. It's a privilege to help our staff and faculty by even a small measure such as keeping a computer running and secured. There are projects that are being worked on, on this campus that can change the world for the better and it's nice to know that maybe we had/have a small purpose in helping that project succeed.

What motivates and energizes you at work?

Keon Ray: I get the most motivation at work from knowing how crucial how support is. Since technology is so critical to everything we do now-a-days, I feel I'm an integral piece in helping to make sure that the technology does what the customer wants and that the mission of the university is continued.

What advice would you give to a new employee at the university?

Karen Wilson: Learn to channel your energy. Spend more time listening to people than rushing to make a decision. Don't judge. None of us know what is really going on in someones life that might be distracting them. Stay professional and keep a smile, sometimes a friendly "hello, how are you?" can be the difference in cheering up someones day. And mostly, value your co-workers and enjoy every moment. Even not so good moments can help you learn a valuable lesson about yourself or someone else.

What is one thing about yourself you think people would be surprised to know?

Keon Ray: I think people would be surprised to know that I received a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

If you had a spontaneous day off, what would you do?

Karen Wilson: On a cold day, I would spend it watching hours of Golden Girls re-runs, but on a hot day - I'd be at the Beach!