Carissa Van Heest, undergraduate student services coordinator for the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in LSA, received the Candace J. Johnson Award for 2021.

The award honors staff excellence and recognizes U-M staff members “whose commitment to excellence, teamwork, and a supportive environment make the university a great place to work.” Provost Susan Collins presented Carissa with her award at a ceremony on Friday, April 1st.

Van Heest manages all curriculum for the department which includes Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish language, culture, history and literature. Her duties include enforcing enrollment policies, supervising registration and organizing class schedules.

Outside of her job, Van Heest also took on many other roles such as organizing Food Gatherers donations and helping to create a composting program for the department.

Van Heest’s colleagues told the University Record that she was resilient, motivated and energetic. She was also mentioned to be a creative and efficient problem-solver.

In her free time away from work, Van Heest enjoys making handmade linocut prints to “highlight the beauty of everyday life and of small moments.”