2019 Staff Senate Nominees

Candidates for the 2019-2021 Staff Senate Term

The ballot for the election can be found at https://cf.umaryland.edu/election/staff_senate_ballot

Voting begins on May 13 and will run until May 24. 

You can vote for up to 13 candidates.

If you have any technical issues, please contact:

cbeaulie@hshsl.umaryland.edu

nmiskimon@umaryland.edu

rkeryakos@som.umaryland.edu

Ayuk-Brown, Ayamba

 
Office Manager
School of Nursing
ayamba.ayuk@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Ayamba Ayuk-Brown and I am the Office Manager in the School of Nursing for the Office of Research and Scholarship. In this role, I oversee operations, budgeting and procurement functions as well as develop policies and procedures to ensure the smooth flow of the office. 

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
Staff Senate is a significant voice for the employees here at UMB.   I want to support efforts to ensure that initiatives meet the full range of employees since we have such a diverse employee population.   I have been fortunate to be involved in many cohorts here at the University that teach both personal and professional development such as Emerging Leaders and the Safety Pin Initiative.  In April, I was awarded the James T. Hill Scholarship from UMB.  I would love to share my knowledge and experiences with the UMB community to support overall employee development. 

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
In keeping with UMB’s Strategic Plan’s theme of Inclusive Excellence, during my term, I want to inspire staff members to advocate for their own career advancement within the University.  In doing this, I would love to work with HR to develop pathways for growth, specific to staff members that clearly identify categories of staff positions on campus, including salary brackets, to better outline opportunities for professional development and to support staff in advocating for this.  This will allow staff members to strategically partake in professional development that will speak to their career aspirations.  

Interests and Hobbies:
Outside of work, I am a mom of a 1 year old with more energy and personality then what fits in his little body.  I enjoy audio books because they fulfill my need of continuously educating myself while I'm on the go and I love traveling across the U.S. and around the world to expand my knowledge and grow through immersing myself in various cultures. 

Azen, Michael


Equity & Access Compliance Investigator
Accountability and Compliance
mazen@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
Hello! My name is Michael Azen and I work as the Equity & Access Compliance Investigator. My main responsibility is to investigate Title IX (sexual harassment/sexual misconduct) and discrimination cases. In my role, I provide support to impacted individuals by offering resources and services. I also provide interim measures and resolve complaints when appropriate. I strongly believe in UMB's core values and will always advocate for a workplace that includes diversity and inclusion. 

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I have always enjoyed helping others and I hope I can do that in this role. Before I worked with the UMB, I worked for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. I also worked for many years as a Parole and Probation Officer. I also have an interesting educational background. I graduated from University of Baltimore with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. In addition, I have a master's degree in legal and ethical studies. This month, I will be obtaining a second master's degree in mental health counseling. This unique work and educational experience has allowed me to work with a variety of individuals from many different backgrounds. I want employees at UMB to feel comfortable and safe. In addition, I want UMB to be the best workplace possible. Employees should recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. 

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I would hope that we could improve employee safety. I recognize how important that is especially with the work that I do. When employees are recognized and rewarded for their hard work, it is more likely that they will be more productive and stay longer. I'd want to help with employee recognition which could include awards, additional benefits, COLA/merit increases, etc. I would also like to help with outreach events. My wife and I organize an event each year called "Operation Frosty". During the month of December, we hand out backpacks filled with supplies to the homeless. 

Interests/Hobbies:
My favorite hobby is traveling to different states and countries. My wife and I have traveled to many places.  One of our favorite places in the world is Santorini, Greece. During the summer months, you may catch us on our deck enjoying Maryland crabs or on the beach! In addition, I love animals. We have dogs, cats, and even reptiles! I also enjoy collecting. I collect shipwreck artifacts, Roman and Egyptian artifacts, autographs, and screen used movie props. 

Bhalerao, Devika



Laboratory Research Assistant
School of Medicine
DBhalerao@som.umaryland.edu.

Introduction:
My name is Devika Bhalerao, a molecular biologist by profession (MS Microbiology, MS Entomology) and I work as a Laboratory Research Assistant in the Department of Orthopedics in the School of Medicine. I love learning in general and particularly enjoy mastering new scientific techniques to advance my career. In my current work position I am learning mice colony care, maintenance and in vivo experimentation. I manage the day to day activities of the laboratory including documentation and writing protocols

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I would like to be more involved with the UMB community and can dedicate time for the senate if elected. I would like to advocate on behalf of the staff especially the lab technicians who might not have a platform to voice their opinions or raise their issues. As a part of the Indian Association and a regular shuttle user I meet and interact with staff from schools across UMB and would definitely not hesitate to bring their voices to the staff senate. I also believe it would be an excellent opportunity to learn and contribute to the community at the same time.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
Start an association of lab techs at UMB: In laboratories faculty, postdocs and students always have their own associations for networking and socializing. However, laboratory technicians/research assistants are usually left out and often do not have a platform to meet and interact. This association will provide both a social platform and a support group for career advancement. 

Interests/Hobbies:
I love camping, eating crabs (any crustaceans work!) and cooking! I am an ardent member of the Launch Your Life wellness program for employees and never miss their Yoga class! I am always interested in volunteering at events within and outside UMB. Within UMB I regularly organize events for the Indian Association as an executive board member. I have also volunteered for the Young Women in STEM in UMB. Outside of UMB I volunteer as an insect ambassador at the Smithsonian Institute (National Museum of Natural History) in DC on the weekends. As an insect ambassador I help in displaying insects including butterflies to enthusiastic visitors and bust myths about bugs.

 

Brightbill, Gregory


Leadership Education and Involvement Specialist
Campus Life Services
Gbrightbill@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Greg Brightbill and I have been working at UMB for over 3 years in Campus Life Services. In my role, I have the privilege of running student leadership, LGBTQ+ diversity, and career development programming. In this, I lead workshops and lectures that provide UMB faculty, staff, and students with valuable information that they can use in their classrooms and careers.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I feel that shared governance is an invaluable tool that universities can use to harbor inclusive ideas, best practices, and to hold themselves accountable for ethical practices and procedures. Therefore helping to improve a work environment that benefits staff in their personal growth, job satisfaction, and overall mental health. I also feel that the Staff Senate has a valuable role in advocating on behalf working staff members of UMB. Therefore helping to shape policies that benefit staff working conditions, pay, and morale.

What I hope to accomphish during my term:
I am very passionate about diversity education and hope to continue the positive growth the University has made in implementing inclusive practices into the institutional culture. This includes creating safe spaces for staff to discuss issues concerning discrimination and disenfranchisement. I also hope to use my skills related to event planning, marketing, and staff development to help the Staff Senate with programming initiatives that align with the overall goals of the group.

Interests/Hobbies:
Outside of UMB, I am very passionate about being involved in activities around the city of Baltimore. In Baltimore, I work with several non-profits in advising on LGBT+ inclusive practices and career development workshops. This includes my recent work as a consultant with Baltimore City Schools, Coppin State University, and BUILD which helps find employment for citizens returning to the workforce after incarceration. I am also an avid musician and have been a member of the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band for the past 5 years. I am also currently working on a doctoral degree in higher education administration which I hope to complete in the next few years.

Buckingham, Kent


Executive Director of Info. Tech. and Facilities Management
School of Dentistry
kbuckingham@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
I have been with UMB for over 30 years. For the last 12 years I have held the position of Executive Director of Information Technology and Facilities Management at the School of Dentistry. In this position I am responsible for addressing the needs of faculty, staff, students and patients. I take pride in providing quality customer service and leadership to the campus.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
For the last few years I have been on the Staff Senate trying to help make the campus a better place. I believe working together, we can make the campus the best it can be.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I would like to continue to improve communications between the staff and senior campus leadership. I have represented the Staff Senate on the hiring of a key campus leadership position and would hope to be able to help in that role again if needed. We have made strides in trying to learn what is important to the staff and to effect changes in those areas. I look forward to continuing that work.

Interests/Hobbies:
I enjoy riding my motorcycle and restoring old cars. I am currently restoring a 1963 Corvette Convertible and I can't wait to drive it. In the past year I purchased a 100+ year old house to restore and sell. I am also a youth wrestling coach. I am proud to say I coached Kyle Snyder, Olympic gold medalist, when he was a young boy. I belong to two wine clubs and enjoy going to wine festivals. I have two sons that are just finishing up their college degrees and look forward to them being productive adults.

Coates-Knowles, Rachel


Research Administrator
School of Medicine
rknowles@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
I am the Research Administrator for the Department of Medicine.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
Throughout my career I have worked in both the hospital and university settings and would like to offer my insight to make improvements that will make UMB the GREATEST place to work.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I am most interested in making the environment safe and healthy for staff.

Interests/Hobbies:
I am an avid movie goer and am also a trustee for my church.

Dawkins, Shannon


Director, University Policy and Procedure
Operations and Planning
sdawkins@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
I was hired as part of the last strategic planning cycle was then promoted to oversee the Office of University Policy and Procedures. I manage and ensure the proper approvals for university policy and procedure as well as participate in many special committees on campus.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I believe the aerial view of issues effecting staff will enrich my work on campus policy and procedures as well as connect my office with a new platform to share current work or considerations from my office. 

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
Learn more about the staff concerns on campus and develop new strategies for responding or information gathering around these. 

Interests/Hobbies:
I volunteer with the Women's Law Center of Maryland and am active in my local community association.

 

Deitz, Allison


Social Worker
School of Medicine
adeitz@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Allison Deitz, and I am a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) for the School of Medicine. In early January of this year, I was hired to serve as the social worker for both the University of Maryland Drug Treatment Center's general patient population at 1001 W. Pratt Street, and the patients of that clinic who are participating in a five-year study through the Division of Psychiatric Services Research called "STIRR-IT" (Screening & Testing (for HIV/HCV), Immunization (for Hepatitis A & B), Risk Reduction counseling linked to co-located and Integrated HIV/HCV Treatment), also called the Athena Program. Some of the aspects that interested me most in the Social Worker position were the opportunities for creativity, leadership, and professional growth. As social work services have never been formally offered at the Drug Treatment Center, and as the Social Worker position was added later to the STIRR-IT grant, I have the great privilege of collaboratively defining the scope of social work services with the Drug Treatment Center patients/STIRR-IT participants. Currently, the scope of social work services includes trauma-focused therapy and core case management functions (e.g., housing, identification, social services).

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
While pursuing my M.S.W. from the School of Social Work, I was able to discover my passion for and deepen my understanding of staff empowerment, especially as it relates to the provision of human services. Regardless of what our core roles are at UMB, I do not believe that any of us are here purely to benefit ourselves. This belief leads me to presume that some, if not many, of us may struggle to articulate what we need from our employers in order to not simply feel, but know, that we are valued for both what we do and who we are. While I do not inherently possess an understanding of what would be most helpful to each individual, I believe that I can be an effective mouthpiece for others’ voices. When I learned about the Staff Senate, I immediately became interested in learning about how I can contribute to efforts that better both UMB and the surrounding community.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
After graduating from the School of Social Work in December 2018, I desired to continue my connection with the UMB community beyond being an alumna. My goals are to connect with other UMB staff and wider community members, listen to their needs, understand what barriers they encounter, and co-create initiatives that could sustainably help our communities for years to come. For example, even the small gesture of equitably celebrating staff’s birthdays across departments could mean a great deal to many people. Perhaps establishing a process within each UMB setting by which co-workers can nominate each other regarding the accomplishment of difficult endeavors that individuals outside of that setting may neither see nor fully appreciate, could help strengthen team cohesiveness in a setting of fact-based encouragement. I would also love the chance to learn more about how, given UMB’s diversity of disciplines, different schools could work together to better serve the larger community (e.g., working with the School of Dentistry to bring supervisory dentists and dental students to the University of Maryland Drug Treatment Center, where many patients need restorative dental work that their insurance plans will not cover).

Interests/Hobbies:
Outside of work, I am an avid armchair genealogist, crocheter (which, according to Microsoft, is not a real word, although the Internet purports that it means, “one who crochets”), and general crafter. Despite the degree to which this combination of hobbies sounds like the stereotypical homebody, I love to travel, and when it comes to animals, my proverbial extrovert switch flips on such that I probably seem off-putting to the innocent dog-owners who were just trying to take an afternoon stroll. In short, I enjoy both discovering and creating things, especially when I can share those discoveries and creations with others.

Essien, Sharese


Program Manager
School of Pharmacy
sessien@rx.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Sharese Essien. I have been here at the UMB campus for over 6 years. I manage a graduate online program with the School of Pharmacy that targets working professionals.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I am completing my first term with the Staff Senate and it has been a privilege. I would like to continue to play an active role in putting into place policies and procedures that enhance the morale of staff members to ensure that all staff members can contribute to the campus work environment.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I have enjoyed serving this past term on the Community Outreach committee which has been truly rewarding. I would like to continue to work on projects that staff on campus can contribute to make a difference in the lives in the communities that surround the university.

Interests/Hobbies:
My husband and I serve in different capacities with our church family. And my biggest interest is assisting my college-age children in balancing their studies while adjusting as young adults.

Grose, Kristy


HR Specialist
School of Dentistry
kgrose1@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
I am Kristy Grose, an HR Specialist within the Dean's Office at the School of Dentistry. I have been a member of the UMB community for 9 years. I have worked with the School of Social Work and now I am a member of the Dental School community.I support and organize human resources related duties. I support legal compliance, employee relations and performance management of employeesI am Kristy Grose, an HR Specialist within the Dean's Office at the School of Dentistry. I have been a member of the UMB community for 9 years. I have worked with the School of Social Work and now I am a member of the Dental School community.I support and organize human resources related duties. I support legal compliance, employee relations and performance management of employees

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
As an HR Specialist, I communicate with all levels of personnel and alert management to any issues that require immediate attention.  My role on the staff senate would allow me to be the voice and resource for the staff at the School of Dentistry.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I hope to encourage engagement and future interest to run for staff senate positions from the Dental staff community.

Interests/Hobbies:
I enjoy exploring and travelling with my two daughters and husband. Although no longer practicing, I am a first degree black belt.

Hamilton, Jill


Contracts and Grants Specialist
School of Pharmacy
jill.hamilton@rx.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Jill Hamilton and I am a proud graduate of the School of Social Work. I started my career at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Grants Management department. Right before coming to UMB, I worked for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation with the EARN Maryland grant program. I am thrilled to be back at my alma mater, as a Contracts & Grants Specialist for the Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science at the School of Pharmacy. My role is to provide pre-award and/or post-award management for sponsor related funds. Meeting deadlines, providing timely customer service, and paying attention to details are very important parts of my job.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I started working here in October 2018. I feel like this is the place for me to be and I feel very much at home here. I am very happy with my work and the learning potential my job will provide me. I would like to participate in supporting the greater good of the University and make it an even better place to be. I also like the idea that the University is willing to listen to staff and work together on shared ideas and goals. We have so much to learn from each other.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
One of my favorite quotes is: “We have a strategic plan, it’s called doing things.” I am not interested in showing up, just to have something to put on LinkedIn. I am interested in being an active participant and learning from others. I look forward to listening and contributing as appropriate. I am happy to help make UMB an even better place to be. I hope to leave the Staff Senate having left a positive and measurable impact on those around me and the University as a whole.

Interests/Hobbies:
I enjoy spending time with my husband and extended family. I love taking pictures of family events and everyday life. I love to organize my home and office space. I am also the Vice Chair of the Commission for Women in Harford County. We work together to provide educational events – we have an upcoming Human Trafficking presentation that is open to the community. We also organize and plan the Women of Tomorrow awards which recognizes middle and high school young women who strive to work hard in school and have made significant and lasting contributions in the local community. I enjoy working together with the other women in this group to advocate and empower women in Harford County. 

Hitch, Kecia


Senior Accountant
School of Medicine
khitch@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
Greetings to everyone. My name is Kecia A. Hitch and I have been a proud staff member at UMB for the past 17.5 years, and privileged to serve eight of those years in Microbiology & Immunology as a Senior Accountant.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I appreciate the voice that Staff Senate provides for all of the staff on this campus, coming together and working towards a common goal. I am interested were sparked as I have seen how the senate can impacts the lives of thousand in the workforce. I would deeply value advocating for our campus safety and for the good of the people working in it.

What I want to accomplish during my term:
I would like to see reasonable stability which benefits everyone concerning parking and safety issues. Especially addressing parking decisions that are equitable to our staff members, and crosswalk safety. I would to promote diversity, inclusion, morale, and to address common issues that I share with so many others on campus.

Interests/Hobbies:
I am a proud single mother and I appreciate and respect the village concept. I believe it takes a village to be successful and we should invest in our villages. In support of my beliefs, I am the director of a community service food panty which yearly feed thousands of homeless and community individuals. I love to laugh, worship and I enjoy life.

Hokenmaier, Sarah


Director of Operations
School of Nursing
shokenmaier@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Sarah Hokenmaier and I am the Director of Operations for the Department of Family and Community Health in the School of Nursing. In this role, I work with Department leadership, faculty, staff, and other offices throughout the School of Nursing to identify gaps, improve existing systems and develop new systems to enhance operations. I also work with faculty on special projects and initiatives on an array of issues such as grant support, simulation needs, strategic planning, and student placements in state and county health departments.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I believe strongly in the mission of UMB and I am proud to be part of its community. I would love the opportunity to represent my colleagues and work with others to continue to find ways to make UMB a great place to work. 

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I am interested in creating and expanding opportunities for staff to become more involved at UMB, and to engage with the surrounding community. I have worked on the School of Nursing Staff Council to establish a community engagement committee and have planned regular opportunities for both staff and faculty to volunteer in the community. In my short time on the UMB Staff Senate, I have worked as a member of the Community Outreach Committee and hope to continue and expand this work at the campus level.

In addition, during my time at UMB I have been continuously impressed with all that staff members here have to offer; I would like to help create pathways and opportunities for staff to continue their professional growth as well as increase the visibility of staff expertise and accomplishments.

Interests/Hobbies:
Outside of work, I volunteer with several community organizations and am a member of my local Optimist Club International Chapter, where I help to organize speech and essay competitions for local youth. I enjoy travel, being outdoors, hiking, and spending time with my husband, friends, and cats! 

Holt, Susan


Administrative Coordinator
School of Medicine
sholt@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
I have worked on campus since 2000. I've been with UMGCCC for the past 14 years working with the Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I have been a Staff Senator since around 2013. I have served on the Policy and Legislation, Executive Committee as "Member at Large" and represented UMB on the Council of System Staff, which is the shared governance body for the University of Maryland System. Serving on Staff Senate is a pleasure and a privilege that I hope to continue.

What I want to accomplish during my term:
This past spring, there was a shooting outside my building.  Some of my colleagues were caught in the middle of it. I had the privileged to take their concerns to the staff senate and later meet with those in charge of our public safety.  As a result, we were able to better secure our building and help people feel a little more secure in their workplace.  I want to continue to be an advocate for my colleagues. They know that they can call me, and I'll make sure their concerns are heard. I take that responsibility very seriously.

Interests/Hobbies:
When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading and enjoying the outdoors.

Jackson, Casey


Regulatory Research Specialist
School of Medicine
cjackson14@umm.edu

Introduction:
For the last 5 years I have worked in clinical research at the UMB Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center in my current role as a Regulatory Specialist. In 2017 I earned an MS in Regulatory Science through the UMB School of Pharmacy. My educational background lies in the chemical and biological sciences. I was a resident community member of Baltimore City for 12 years and am currently residing in Baltimore County.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I am interested in serving on the UMB Staff Senate because I seek to branch out beyond my current role to support the greater UMB campus and community.

What I hope to accomplish during my term as a Staff Senator:
I would like to accomplish the following goals:
-Serve as a communicator between staff and leadership, especially in the areas of merit recognition, campus safety, benefits and childcare, and wellness initiatives on campus and the surrounding community
-Promote a greater understanding and use of campus sustainability practices and green initiatives
-Improve staff morale through campus advocacy and community engagement 

Interests/Hobbies:
Outside of work I enjoy an active lifestyle with a focus on dietary wellness. I maintain a large vegetable garden and enjoy being a source of advice for the local gardening community. My family and I enjoy traveling to National and State Parks and engaging in various community groups.

Johnson, Shilene


Research Compliance Specialist
Accountablity and Compliance
shilene.johnson@umaryland.edu

 

Introduction:
My name is Shilene Johnson and I have worked for the University of Maryland, Baltimore since 2010. I currently hold the title of Research Compliance Specialist and work in the Department of Accountability and Compliance. As a compliance specialist, I am responsible for monitoring research-related operations to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, polices, procedures, ethical standards, and public responsibilities.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
To continue to strive towards excellence.
To continue to uplift the University of Maryland Core Values and Mission.
To become an advocate and a resource for all students, staff, and faculty.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
If chosen to be apart of the Staff Senate, I hope to gain more knowledge of all available resources that are offered to students, staff, and faculty to help bridge the gap between the needs and continued success of UMB.  I also hope to be apart of committees that continue to encourage programs that support a healthy work life balance in addition to continuing to support programs that acknowledge hard working dedicated employees.

Interests/Hobbies:
When I am away from work, I am crafting and designing whatever comes to mind. I love to think of new ideas and enjoy assisting others with making their visions come to life. In my spare time, I also enjoy a good movie, book, and spending time with family and friends.

Klucar, Jocelyn


Director of Research Administration, Department of Surgery
School of Medicine
jklucar@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Jocelyn Klucar and I am the Director, Research Administration, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine. I started at UMB in July 2018 contractually as a Sr. Manager in Sponsored Projects Accounting and Compliance (SPAC). In January 2018 I was hired as the Research Administrator in the Department of Surgery and was then promoted to Director. I have been a Research Administrator at various institutions of higher education for over 27 years.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I am interested in serving on the Staff Senate to become more informed on policy making at UMB. I would like my department to have a voice in upcoming policy initiatives that will impact our staff.  In addition, I have been a lifelong resident of Baltimore, Maryland. I love our city and I would like to become more involved in UMB community outreach. I would like to participate the wonderful programs the Staff Senate provides to our surrounding communities. I am learning UMB is quite different other institutions that I have work for previously. I would like to be a part of the self-governance process at UMB.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I hope to contribute to the planning of community outreach programs and to help guide UMB towards an inclusive campus so achieve better core campus values.

Interests/Hobbies:
I enjoy gardening, hiking and raising my chickens. We are backyard farmers and raise chickens for eggs. I enjoy going to the beach and collecting shells. As a mother of teenagers, they are my hobby taking them to their various activities. 

Lai, Wendy


Lab Supervisor
School of Medicine
wlai@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
I have worked in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology since 2001 and I have gained a lot of experience in the diverse research laboratory setting, working with trainees as well as staff members. 

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
There are more than 2,400 staff members employed and the Staff Senate is our voice within the UMB community.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
As a Staff Senator, I will work to enhance the communications throughout all levels of employees within our community of trainees, staff members, and senior campus leaderships.

Interests/Hobbies:
Outside my professional work at UMB, I enjoy family life and many community activities. My husband is also senior scientist and my son is a resident physician in Baltimore. We are all part of the scientific community and frequently discuss current topics in science. I am also engaged in our local community services to help and build beautiful and safe homes. I enjoy attending dance classes and participated in holiday performances in the local senior retirement communities. I also enjoy gardening, reading and traveling, especially to our country’s national parks.

Lewis, LaToya


Compliance Specialist
Accountability and Compliance
latoya.lewis@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is La Toya Lewis, and I am a Compliance Specialist at the Office of Accountability and Compliance. In my role as a Compliance Specialist, I work with University of Maryland, Baltimore management in the development and implementation of policies, procedures and practices necessary to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. I conduct quality assurance audits for research studies, and provide education to research project team members and other employees with regards to research compliance to FDA, DHHS, ICH GCP regulations, and Institutional Policies. I also assist with the refinement of quality system policies and procedures to ensure continued adherence to changes in the regulatory environment.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I believe that serving on the staff senate allows me to be a voice and advocate on behalf of my colleagues, promoting policies and practices that will enhance the day-to-day work environment, and promote a sense of community and respect across campus.

What I hope to accoplish during my term:
I hope that during this term I will be able to serve as a means of communication and liaison between staff, faculty, students, and administration, promoting policies and practices that foster equity, diversity, inclusion, and respect as well as provide career advancement opportunities at all levels at UMB. I am also looking forward to serve in program initiatives that promote long-term stability, wellness, and work opportunities in the Baltimore city's neighborhoods.

Interests/Hobbies:
When I am not at work, I enjoy being a mom and caring for my family, traveling, visiting mruseums and art displays. I also volunteer at my local church in community outreach activities, and I have been a Youth works mentor at UMB for the last four years.

 

McNair, Jovita


Research Specialist
School of Medicine
JovitaMcNair@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Jovita Diaz McNair and I started at UMB on June 1, 2006 as a research assistant. I have worked on many pre clinical research projects that have ultimately been a part of publication and/or of clinical use. I've been on the bench for years and now have embarked on clinical studies in the department of pathology. I can honestly attest that I love my work and workplace.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I would like to contribute to my second home University of Maryland, Baltimore. I spend a lot of time on campus and want to assist in any way that I can. 

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I would reach out to all the colleagues in my department (schools) and intersecting departments (schools) to learn as much as possible about the roles that everyone plays within the UMB system to try to implement diversity, harmony, unity and a great work environment.

Interests/Hobbies:
Most of my hobbies revolve around my husband and sons. I am a league bowler, teach vacation bible school at my church, a bookclub member for over 10 years and assist in PTA from time to time. 

Novak, Kristy


Assistant Director, Graduate Clinical Placements
School of Nursing
knovak@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My primary responsibility is to manage the clinical assignments for doctorate level Nurse Practitioner students at the School of Nursing. In this role I network heavily both inside and outside the UMB system to establish and maintain relationships with clinical partners, and collaborate with faculty and staff to ensure academic needs are met.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
As the current Chair of the School of Nursing Staff Council and UMB Staff Senator, I've seen firsthand the benefits that can come from shared governance. UMB is a very large, sometimes siloed campus and it's vital to make sure that staff voices are heard and staff have advocates to speak to UMB senior leadership on their behalf. 

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
If re-elected, I'll continue to work towards promoting professional development opportunities, acknowledging staff for their many accomplishments, enhancing communication across campus, and advocating for initiatives that positively impact staff. I also believe that it's important for each school to have a staff council and shared governance, and will continue working with interested school leaders to get staff councils off the ground.

Interests/Hobbies:
I’m an avid Washington Capitals fan and my husband and I love going to games as often as we can. When I'm not at work I enjoy getting outdoors and staying active. Hiking, kayaking, and spending time with my dogs is my perfect day. I also love cooking and trying new recipes from different cultures around the globe. 

Phelan, Mary

Mary Phelan
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Communications and Public Affairs
maryphelan@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
I'm Mary T. Phelan, a senior media relations specialist in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs (OCPA). In that role, I promote the work and accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore to local, regional and national media. I help arrange interviews between members of the UMB community and news outlets and coach our community members on how to be comfortable on camera. In addition to pitching stories to the media, I also write stories, take photographs, and assist in video production to create content for the main UMB website and the University's various social media platforms. I have been a proud member of OCPA since my arrival at UMB in July 2016.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I have loved my time serving as an alternate on the Staff Senate this past academic year and wish to make more of an impact as a full voting member.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
To help the Senate meet and exceed its communications goals and to participate in the Senate's outreach projects and to encourage more staff members to do the same.

Interests/Hobbies:
Playing traditional Irish music on my fiddle. Gardening. Walking. Running. Reading. Stand-up comedy. Baking.

Schmidt, Emma


Clinical Research Specialist
School of Medicine
ameiliaschmidt@umm.edu

Introduction:
Hi! I'm Emma and I am a Clinical Research Specialist for the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. I have been employed at UMB for about 3.5 years and I served on the staff senate last year for the first time as an alternate.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I really enjoyed my time this past year being a part of the Staff Senate. Being on the Senate is extremely informative and encouraged me to learn more about what is going on around campus and different initiatives/issues that may impact staff. I was then able to relay this information to my department and other members of the UMB staff. I loved being able to be a part of and help out with the many different initiatives and drives that the staff senate organizes. I am excited and ready to serve on the senate again and really make strides in not only helping staff at UMB but also the community surrounding our campus. 

What I want to accomplish during my term:
This past year I served on the Communications board helping to get the senate messages out to the staff at UMB. If elected again, I would love to not only help with communications but also join the Community Outreach Committee. I was so touched when I saw all of the donations from staff during all the drives that were done throughout the year. I would love to join this committee and really push community outreach further and bring new ideas to the senate and UMB. I also hope to be a voice for the staff and will help relay to the senate any suggestions, questions, comments or concerns that are voiced to me. 

Interests/Hobbies:
Outside of work I love to be with friends, family, and my German Shorthaired Pointer, Waylon. Usually you can find Waylon and I outside hiking through the woods or playing fetch with his favorite tennis ball. I am currently busy planning for my wedding in July and all the craziness that comes with that. I also coach gymnastics for fun and enjoy working with the kids. My favorite part about coaching gymnastics is seeing the look on the child's face when they experience being successful for the first time at a new skill they are working on. Thanks for reading! 

Smith, Kaya


Senior System Administrator
Center for Information Technology Services
kaya@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
Good day, my name is Kaya Smith. I am a Sr. UNIX Systems Administrator in the CITS department. My day-to-day task involve Linux/Unix systems support and assisting application developers and admins with applications such as SIMS and WebNow. However, I have been doing a lot more project management around campus for things like the HR Climate Survey and the AUI group.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I am glad to have served as a full term Staff Senate member these past two years and I would like to continue in engaging and working with staff to improve the support, civility, and empowering the voices of the university.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
I hope that if elected, I would be able to greatly represent my department and the concerns of the university’s staff with a voice that is strong, innovative, and inquisitive. Also, I would like to continue my work in promoting results of the Anonymous Staff Senate Survey that has driven our senate to work on improving issues on diversity, civility, and collaboration.

Interests/Hobbies:
My hobbies include mentoring high school students, horseback riding, gardening, and gadget engineering and programming.

 

Thomas, Janet



Program Specialist
Administration and Finance
JDThomas@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
Hello, I'm Janet Thomas, Program Specialist with Parking & Transportation Services. I've been with UMB 3 years. I started out with Public Safety, and transitioned to PTS where I've been for almost 2 years now. My role is managing projects for the PTS team. My hands are in a lot of ongoing projects that pertain to the safety, community, service, and culture of UMB and how it connects to parking services.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
My interest in serving on the Staff Senate is to fulfill the side of my work interest that involves support and community involvement. I enjoy being an advocate for issues that matter and result in the overall benefit of others. I am new to UMB and have fresh eyes and perspective on things that I have experienced since joining the UMB team in 2016. I started off in Public Safety and am currently in Transportation. Both roles have a significant presence to the student body, faculty, and staff. I feel I would be very instrumental because of my keen insight and ability to share new ideas without bias. Actually, I've often thought of being a lobbyist because I believe people should be heard, not ignored, and I believe in being part of the solution/concerns. I don't want my mindset to become stagnant, but to always be exploring new opportunities for development and growth. I am a voice with purpose.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
What I hope to accomplish is to see the overall vision statement and 7 Core Values of the University consistent across the campus and every department. Communication is important but sometimes not distributed as effectively as it could be. I hope to be a part of a bigger impact with communication and culture. I want to be an ear, a voice, and part of the pulse that the Staff Senate represents to UMB faculty, staff, and students.

Hobbies/Interests:
My hobbies are cooking, I hope to own a food truck one day soon. I love the outdoors and walking. My chill time is usually spent listening to music, attending outdoor concerts, exercise 3 times a week, and cooking. It is my gift to my family, friends, and those in need to bring a smile to their faces and joy to their tummy's.

 

Volberding, Jenn


Assistant Director, Student Financial Planner
School of Nursing
jvolberding@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
Aloha! My name is Jenn Volberding and I am currently serving as an Assistant Director of Student Financial Planning at the School of Nursing. Currently, I work as the students' contact for UMSON's Scholarships and grants, as well as the UMSON’s School Certifying Official for our VA Students, and a Financial Aid Office Liaison for our UMSON Students.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
Prior to my time at UMB, I worked at the University of Maryland, University College in Largo. Through UMUC I was able to serve as a committee member of the Staff Senate as Chair of Communications and as a representative on CUSS. On CUSS I served as a Co-Chair of the Board of Regents. I then took a turn as serving as Chair of the Staff Senate for UMUC.

I loved being a part of the conversations and news that impact staff members and being an advocate for our university’s staff members. I hope to become part of this team to boost staff retention and to boost internal promotions amongst the UMB Campus.

I also have a passion for Financial Literacy and Wellness and by being a part of this group I can continue the conversations with other campus members about financial concerns with staff, students, and their families.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
During my term I would like to serve on the Council of University System Staff (CUSS) to continue my serving time while I was at UMUC. I really enjoyed serving on the council and visiting other campuses.

I would also like to start a campus wide initiative of “Bringing Your Daughters and Sons to Work” at UMB. I use to assist with UMUC’s annual event and found it to be a very positive and fun event to bring children to our campus for one day. We would plan on a craft, physical activity, financial literacy session, career interest session, or another planned themed event for that particular year.

Interests/Hobbies:
Outside of work I support my daughter’s volleyball traveling team and her HS team during the year. I have coached recreational volleyball as well for her teams.

I am also an Executive Member of the Non-profit Group of It Takes Two, INC – which supports youth from 4th grade to 12th grade from single parent homes in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and DC with scholarships, school supplies, and other resources to prepare them for their futures.

 

Wakefield, Priti


Environmental Service Manager
Administration and Finance
pwakefield@umaryland.edu

Introduction:
My name is Priti Wakefield. Currently working with UMB as an Environmental Service Manager and taking care of Health Science Facility III building.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management and Tourism. I have 9 years of experience in working with five-star hotels, out of which 6 years of experience is in India. I am very enthusiastic, passionate, positive and self-motivated person. I am very career-oriented person. I like to be pro-active and learn new things whenever I get a chance. I am a big believer of learning is never ending process.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I am interested in serving on the Staff Senate to help creating a positive and welcoming work place for the new as well as the existing employees. Plus, I want to be the voice for the individuals who feel that their voice is not being heard.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
As being a part of the University and Environmental Service Department for more than 9 months I have noticed so many challenges that one must go through as a new member of the University. I want to change that culture, so everyone feels welcome when they come to the University.
With my degree and experience in the Hotel industry where your first priority is your customers. I would like to see the University lean towards providing that kind of service towards its staff, faculty and researchers.

Hobbies/Interests:
Hobbies – cooking various cuisines along with baking desserts, traveling and spending quality time with family.
Interests – crocheting, crafting and listing to music.

Wilson, Lakeisha


Program Administrator
School of Medicine
lwilson@som.umaryland.edu

Introduction:
Currently I am a Program Administrator for the Department of Pediatrics. I have been with the Department of Pediatrics for 8yrs working in grants management and clinical operations. In my role, I manage over 100 FTE's to include HR, budgets, operations, and policies and procedures. Prior to coming to Pediatrics I worked at IGS for 3yrs in grant management and for JHU for 10 years in finance operations. I love a challenge and enjoy creating new relationships and networking.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
I have always found a way to provide valuable input to several institutional projects and serving on the Staff Senate is another way that I can contribute fresh ideas and my experiences to assist the university with maintaining a good working environment for all. I have served in a number of other university groups to bring about change from HR groups to Finance groups and look forward to collaborating with the Staff Senate as well. As a leader, I am faced with challenges to change organizational culture, implement change, and develop/retain staff to accomplish our mission of research, patient care and teaching. I believe my balanced experience and background in leadership makes me a great candidate for Staff Senate.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
During my term it would be my goal to represent the staff and their concerns around systematic changes, change in leadership, new polices and procedures and overall morale of staff. I think this is a good opportunity to engage staff for input on a number of growing challenges for the university. I think the Staff Senate has done a good job with disseminating information to staff. It is my goal to continue to share information but also create more collaborative groups across departments for staff engagement.

Interests/Hobbies:
I am proud mother of a 13yr old daughter. I praise dance with my church, Mt. Hebron Baptist. I mentor young adults and I am a huge supporter of continuing education. I am currently enrolled in a Doctoral Program in Management at UMUC. Outside of work I enjoy politics and reading critical thinking material.

Zhang, Lei


Lab Specialist
School of Medicine
lei.zhang@ihv.umaryland.edu


Introduction:

I graduated from medical school and practiced medicine in China before I came to the US about 25 years ago. I have been working at UMB since 1995 in a variety of research capacities from research assistant, research specialist to lab manager.

Why I want to serve on the Staff Senate:
One reason I am interested in staff senate run is that I have seen more and more women working in UMB’s research workforce, particularly those who are educated and trained in China. I think I would be in a unique position to advocate for them as I have immersed in both cultures for decades. The second reason is that I enjoy social activities and social works, including social psychology in helping others for many years.

What I hope to accomplish during my term:
In addition, I am eager to learn how university senate run in helping staff members, and I would like to be part of it besides my daily lab work.

Interests/Hobbies:
I am a good cooker and baker. I also enjoy singing and public speech. I hope I can contribute to the senate with my background and professional experience.