Top of Page
Skip main navigation

Past Nominees 2019

December 2019



Beth Allen, Community Relations - Lifelong Learning

Core Value: Community

Beth spends a large part of her days and night working on behalf of the LLI in the tri-county, South Florida community. She represents not only the LLI, but also all of NSU by promoting LLI programs and the NSU greater community as well. She is a tireless advocate of what our university does to enhance the lives of older adults in our community.

Beth has endless energy in focusing her efforts to forge new partnerships with many different community organizations. Through her vast connections and experience, the LLI has created new partnerships in recent years with The David Posnack Jewish Community Center and several local independent and assisted living communities. Through her work, Beth also created new partnerships between AvMed and the LLI who now help market and support LLI programs, and the Jewish Federation of Broward County Chai Care who also promote our programs to their constituents. She also introduced the LLI to the Exceptional Theater Company and has coordinated several events where LLI older adults participate in hands-on events with special needs actors.

Through Beth’s dedication to NSU and the LLI, she has become an invaluable community spokesperson and resource within the community. Businesses, organizations and many individuals recognize that she is a tremendous contact and ally, not only for issues and questions related to NSU and the LLI, but also on topics and issues related to aging in our community.


Eileen Rodriguez, HRIS Analyst I, Office of Human Resources

Core Value: Integrity

Eileen is reliable and trustworthy, always working with integrity. At any time we are shorthanded, Eileen volunteers and makes herself available to assist. She is ready for any task given and eager to rise up to any challenge.

Eileen comes to work on time ready to work. For the past couple of months she has been there to cover when we have been in a bind taking on any task that needed to be completed. She has been sure to ask questions and has been open to learn. Eileen's actions have had a huge impact on allowing our department meet its deadlines and has set a great example to what it looks like to work as a team.

Heike Dose, Assistant to Lifelong Learning Institute Director

Core Value: Student Centered

Working with older adults is not an easy job. A tremendous amount of patience is required to deal with each person as they have stories to tell; issues to resolve; health issues and challenges which complicate their lives. I have never seen Heike become impatient with any of our members over the almost 13 years we have been working together. They are our students and she treats them with respect, kindness and patience. Each and every one.

LLI members love Heike. Older adults can find a lot to complain about but I have never heard any of them utter a single complaint about Heike. She attends to every need that she can for them. If she can't solve an issue, she still finds a way to make them each feel that they are the most important person in the world. This is a very rare talent and Heike has it. She is completely, 100% student centered and focused on the LLI student population.

November 2019



Aaron Sager, Technology Support Engineer

Martin and Gail Press Health Professions Division Library

Core Value: Student Centered

A Physical Therapy student in our distant program was visiting the Martin and Gail Press Health Professions Division Library for help with the research. Librarians generally directly work with students. But in this instance, the student computer was having trouble with the installation of the EndNote program. The student was very frustrated because she needed this program to work on her computer to be able to complete her future assignments. Our librarian approached Aaron Sager for further technical help.

Aaron Sager was very patient and listened to the student’s concerns and identified the issue that was needed to be resolved. Mr. Sager fixed the technical issue facing the computer before installing the EndNote program on the student computer. He also ensured that EndNote was setup properly. Before the student departed, Mr. Sager provided her with instructions on how to use this program. Throughout this transaction, Mr. Sager treated the student with respect and dignity.

Mr. Sager’s behavior helps support the NSU's core value of Student-Centered. Mr. Sager’s calm demeanor helped the student calm down. By the end of this interaction, the student was very pleased with how she was treated and thankful for the help she received Mr. Sager.


Amber Ryan, Associate Director of Early Learning

Mailman Segal Center for Human Development

Core Value: Student Centered

Amber Ryan is currently the Associate Director of Early Learning Programs at the Mailman Segal Center. This year, there was a need and Amber stepped up to be the lead teacher in her classroom while also leading the MSC team in her role as Associate Director.

She has taken on this new challenge with enthusiasm and has been intentional about creating a student-centered learning environment. Amber is clearly passionate about creating environments in which children thrive. She has been intentional about creating a classroom environment in which all children learn - from the teachers and from their peers. Amber also creates an environment of respect by co-creating classroom standards with the children and by continuously seeking to understand the unique needs and drives of each child. Finally, in the midst of covering two demanding roles within the school, she finds time periodically to send pictures to parents to show special moments in the child's day.

Amber Ryan has created a classroom environment of respect and compassion. She makes learning fun, and creates valuable personal connections with families.

Barbara Garcia-Lavin, Associate Professor

College of Psychology

Core Value: Student Centered

Over the past three years, she has taken the lead as one of two faculty team leaders that lead our ICUBA webinars on diabetes prevention and management with our team of 7-8 interprofessional students. She is committed to ensuring that her team creates a high-quality experience for the participants and has an excellent interprofessional experience. Dr. Garcia-Lavin is a true mentor to her students and practices alongside them multiple times to set them up for success.

As a result of Dr. Garcia-Lavin's commitment, we have been able to serve over 300 employees at colleges and schools across Florida and her teams of health professions students have had a valuable leadership experience. Additionally, Barbara Garcia-Lavin goes the extra mile in recruiting her students from the College of Psychology. Beyond just reviewing their applications, she sits down with each applicant to interview her/him. As a result of her commitment in recruiting high-quality students to the program, all of our returning student team leaders - our strongest students - are from the College of Psychology this year. 

Claudia Delgado, Media Specialist

Innovation and Information Technology

Core Value: Innovation

Claudia goes above and beyond every week to set up innovation challenges for the students of NSU University School - Middle. She not only plans and executes each challenge but she is meticulous about documenting and sharing with her team members.

Claudia is a team player. She has an excellent rapport with faculty and staff. She is always dependable and willing to go above and beyond especially when it comes to promoting innovation and technology among the faculty and staff.


Ellen Weinstein, Administrative Assistant II

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Core Value: Student Centered

During the White Coat Ceremony for Graduate RDN Students, Ellen went above and beyond to make sure each student had the correct size and name with the correct spelling. She arranged coat delivery and specialty pick up during their class time so that each student could have it in advance of the ceremony for pictures. She also communicated with students and family (with some family flying in as a surprise) the NSU campus directions, parking, and any type of advance trouble shooting that she could think of.

Above is just one situation but I have been working with Ellen for 5 years and she truly is a student advocate. She is consistently assisting students with registrations, communication, program information, scheduling, forms, documents, etc. She is a huge part of academic student success in our department. Ellen is a mother so I think it is appropriate to say that she truly treats our students as she would her own. Ellen has a bright and happy demeanor and she is always lending a helping hand.

It is wonderful to work with someone that is always in a good mood, helpful, and positive no matter what the situation might be.

Heidi Jameson, Coordinator of Student Affairs

Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences

Core Value: Integrity

Heidi Jameson can be trusted, which is at the heart of integrity. Integrity also encompasses multiple core values. She is reliable, hard working, and intelligent. If she says she will do something, she can be trusted to do it quickly and well. Over the past year, we have been down a staff member, and she has risen up and volunteered to assist with some of the responsibilities and even come up with innovative ways to make the processes better.

Recently, she created a manual that encompasses all aspects of her role. It is user-friendly and provides a detailed description of each of the processes she oversees. When she believes there is an issue with something, she is proactive about sharing her concerns and offers potential solutions to improve the situation. She is training to become a counselor and believes in the value of helping people thrive. This is evident in her day-to-day work with students - she is student-centered. One example of this, is she has offered to provide one-on-one coaching for students that are struggling. Heidi is reliable. She is willing to go the extra mile for others and finds creative ways to make people feel special.

Heidi is a valuable member of our team and positively impacts our students and her colleagues every day. She makes sure that her work is done with excellence and she is always willing to help others succeed, as well. It is a pleasure to work with Heidi and our college and university benefit greatly from her good work.


Jonathan Miller, Building Systems Supervisor

Facilities Management

Core Value: Student Centered

Jon modeled the NSU Core Value of “Student Centered” while addressing HVAC issues encountered in Mako Hall Room 208 in late October 2019.

Jon received a work order regarding an AC unit that was not functioning properly. Per the warranty policy for the building, he communicated the issue to the construction management company for resolution. Instead of just closing the work order and moving on to other matters, Jon visited the room to personally assist and expedite the diagnoses and repair of the AC unit.

Jon’s persistence ensured a more comfortable living and working environment for the occupants of the room. This allowed the students to focus on their endeavors rather than factors beyond their control.


Krysten Herrera, Director of Early Learning Programs

Mailman Segal Center for Human Development

Core Value: Integrity

Krysten is someone that can be trusted. She is clearly reliable, knowledgeable, and passionate about her work. I am nominating her for integrity, but integrity encompasses many of the core values. She has dedicated her professional life to creating learning environments that help students thrive, and she is clearly student- and family-centered. She seeks to understand the unique needs of each child and uses her resources (human capital and social capital) to help each child be successful. She is deeply committed to both her team and the children and families she serves, and she looks for innovative ways to inspire and train her team. It is clear that she sets high standards for her team, but she also seeks excellence and high impact herself.

It is clear that Krysten Herrera is committed to her team, her children, and her families. She lives out her values and is a reliable, hard working, and compassionate leader.


Rashondia Gaines, Associate Professor

College of Dental Medicine

Core Value: Community

Dr.Gaines has organized and participated for years in the Jamaica medical/dental mission, every June. This year the team consisted of more than 100 members, 19 of them dental students. They treated nearly 700 patients from different areas of Jamaica. This year she took on another Mission trip, this time to Costa Rica, providing quality dental care to 520 patients.

Dr. Gaines has demonstrated her vocation to service and selfless personality by being a fixture in every mission trip NSU-CDM has been part of. Dr. Gaines has attended the Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica's mission trips along with other faculty and students, but you always know her answer will be YES when asking her to give back to the community.

Dr. Gaines' work has had an amazing impact not only in the communities she has served, but also in our students. She has develop a close bond with those who volunteer, teaching them empathy, compassion, work ethic and integrity. Dr. Gaines has changed the life of those she has treated, she has given hope to those that have less access to care and has inspired our students to pay it forward and give back as well. I look up to Dr. Gaines and am fortunate to call her my friend and colleague.


Stephanie Petrosky, Chair of the Department of Nutrition

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Core Value: Academic Excellence

Stephanie Petrosky is a Faculty Team Leader with the Interprofessional Diabetes Education and Awareness (IDEA) Initiative. She works with a team of interprofessional students in the health care professions to create and facilitate diabetes prevention and management workshops in the community. Over the past three years, she has taken on the role of leading ICUBA webinars with her team for the employees of over 20 schools and colleges in Florida. She is diligent in ensuring that her team creates an excellent experience for the participants that attend the webinar. Additionally, she ensures that the experience is a valuable professional development experience for the student team members.

Stephanie Petrosky is a reliable, positive leader. She is willing to take on challenging roles and do what is needed to excel. Additionally, she is willing to share opportunities for improvement with an eye towards creating an excellent experience for all involved. It is a true pleasure to work with Stephanie.

Stephanie Petrosky sets high standards, is enthusiastic, and committed. She positively influences others to contribute at a high level and is an excellent member of our team.


Timothy Brandon Hall, Assistant to the Executive Director

Chancellor, Health Professions

Core Values: Academic Excellence; Integrity; Diversity

This behavior took place at the Martin & Gail Press Health Professions Division Library during November 2019. We are in the process of filling a librarian position at our Tampa Bay Regional Campus Library. We received a high number of very good applicants for this position. There was a need to communicate systematically with these candidates to arrange for phone screenings and face-to-face interviews. Moreover, there was a need to communicate with the NSU Travel Office and candidates to arrange for their travel. Brandon Hall was approached to help arrange for these interviews. He was also a point-person for communication between candidates and the NSU Travel Office.

Brandon Hall effectively communicated with all the selected candidates to arrange for their phone screenings. He effectively corresponded with the candidates to arrange for their face-to-face interviews, details about travel arrangements working with NSU Travel Office and shared the communication with appropriate library staff. Mr. Hall ensured that all the candidates received the best possible experience throughout this process and their questions are passed down to appropriate stakeholders for responses. Throughout this process Mr. Hall made sure NSU’s workplace policies are followed and all candidates receive the same level of care and experience.

Mr. Hall’s behavior helps suppose the NSU’s core value of Academic Excellence, Integrity, and Diversity. Mr. Hall’s attention to detail, thorough knowledge of NSU’s policies, and willingness to help answer every question asked to leave a very positive impact and impression of NSU to all the internal and external stakeholders.


October 2019


Alfreda Francis, Assistant Director

Learning and Educational Center

Core Value: Academic Excellence

Our department underwent significant changes earlier this year and has recently become the Learning and Educational Center. Alfreda embraced the changes to our department and to her role which has her working closely with faculty coordinating course improvements, as well as with LEC staff to design and plan professional development opportunities for faculty.

Alfreda has been a pillar within the department for staff to look to for support in their work. I personally have benefited from her guidance and willingness to work cooperatively to accomplish departmental goals.

Her willingness to get involved with our routine work while at the same time to plan and develop professional development has made an impact upon the quality of the work that we are able to do as a team because of her input and direction.


Cesar Gonzalez, Visiting/Assistant Professor

College of Dental Medicine

Core Value: Student Centered

Observed Nominee last week in the clinical environment supervising student during a patient care procedure

Cesar Gonzalez approached giving feed back to a student in presence of the patient in the following manner: First he began by giving the student positive feedback about what the student did correctly. Then, he continued by providing feedback regarding how to build on and improve the procedure. Lastly, he used the “tell-show-do” technique, leading the student to successfully complete the task.

Cesar Gonzalez’s approach and demeanor clearly demonstrated the University's core value: Student Centered.


Perry Morris, Athletic Facilities & Operations Manager

Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences

Core Value: Integrity

Our therapy pool began leaking and there was about 3 inches of standing water in the area below the pool. Perry is not responsible for our equipment, but he was the first one that was willing to help with a solution. He contacted facilities immediately and was working with them to get the standing water out and fix the problem. Perry is always willing to help, whether or not it is his responsibility and he does it with a smile. He went above and beyond in this situation.

Perry's behavior is consistent and takes action on a daily basis to assist in any situations that need correction. He wants to help wherever he can and he always holds himself accountable. He definitely uses campus resources to get things done and everyone really enjoys having him around.


Stefanie Carter, EdD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine

Core Value: Integrity; Opportunity

It isn't just one particular instance, it's an everyday habit that Stefanie has for seeking out opportunities to help in every way she can, regardless of whether or not it's a task related directly to her job. She never feels above any task, she is equally willing to lead as she is to serve in any capacity. Stefanie is the embodiment of accountability, always asking "how can I help?" and sharing the credit. In fact, she never seeks the spotlight, which is why it is time to shine the light on her and let her know she is appreciated and she makes a difference every day.

In terms of opportunity, Stefanie is always asking all her colleagues how she can help. She has helped making countless phone calls to secure faculty for other people's courses; she has gone out in the field to visit faculty to help recruit them for other people's courses; she noticed a lack of support for a major academic event and she volunteered to coordinate and staff it, and it ended up being a great success. Stefanie is courteous, respectful and friendly, a true role-model of the civil work environment we strive for. In terms of Integrity, Stefanie is very self-accountable and recognizes when a mistake was made and instead of dwelling in it, she finds a way to solve it and improve the processes.

The tasks she helped with were not her responsibility, yet she saw beyond that and recognized that the success of others within the college is the success of everyone. Thanks to her efforts I can say I had a successful course where my students had preceptors to teach them every week, and the college was able to conduct its first research symposium with great success.

Stephanie Petrosky, Director

Department of Nutrition, Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Core Value: Academic Excellence

In the course of 2-3 years, Stephanie has created a Department of Nutrition in the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, a department that did not exist before. She took her vision of spreading nutrition throughout the campus, the medical school curriculum, and to both graduate and undergraduate students and made it a reality. She is pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition degree and has encouraged her faculty to pursue higher education also.

Stephanie has taken over initially as a Program Director, (now Director of the Department of Nutrition) elevating the existing MS Nutrition Program by having the faculty critically review the course content, student feedback, and similar programs online and make improvements in course content, online delivery, faculty and technology utilization. While those changes were happening, she applied to become a demonstration site for an accredited Future Education Model for Professional Practice in Dietetics and Nutrition. The Department has also added an undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition Program, which has its own Program Director, Dr. Ioana Scripa, who works under Stephanie as department Director.

Stephanie could possibly described as Super Woman and the Ever-ready Bunny combined. She consistently seeks to form new relationships with all departments across campus. She is not easily deterred when she sets her mind to something. She gently pushes her faculty to strive to be their best and use their unique talents within the department and the community. Stephanie is in a constant growth mode, challenging the way things have been done in the past and looking ahead 3-5 years planning for the future in education and healthcare.


September 2019


George Fisher, Field Operations Coordinator East Campus

Public Safety

Core Value: Community

George Fisher is a consummate professional, considerate, attentive to detail, and courteous to all who visit the NSU East Campus. In particular, when the Life Long Learning program hosts an Open House, George and the team he works with deliver the utmost consideration for members of the community who visit our location.

George's positive outlook and professionalism represent NSU's Core Values of Community and Integrity, and his commitment to the welfare of all who visit the East Campus is admirable.

Althea Harvey, Research Support Specialist

College of Pharmacy 

Core Value: Scholarship/Research

For Althea Harvey, meeting grant submission deadlines is a primary function. Normally, grants must be submitted to the Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education eight days in advance of the funding agencies deadline. In May 2018, a substantial grant was submitted with only two days lead time. Knowing the importance of these grants, Harvey was relentless in doing what was necessary to get all the required signatures, staying in contact with appropriate staff, identifying alternatives where needed, and keeping the Office of Sponsored Programs apprised. This remarkable display of perseverance and passion led to making the deadline with two hours to spare. She really went above expectations with a small submission window and, if granted, the award could be an impact of over $2 million.


August 2019


Arkene Levy, Associate Professor

College of Medical Sciences

Core Value: Community

Dr. Levy has been volunteering with FORCE for a little over two years, contributing her time and expertise in cancer research through online and in person contributions.

FORCE is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers. Dr. Levy is an educational materials volunteer, as well as a fundraiser for the organization. Dr. Levy uses her extensive background in cancer research to help with writing literature to explain the risks of hereditary cancer, treatments and preventative measures that previvors can take. She also helps with expanding the reach of the organization in terms of reaching and informing this population of affected individuals.

Dr. Levy exhibits the NSU value of community by representing NSU in a professional manner with the community. She shares information readily with others and helps to gather appropriate resources for reference on the topic of hereditary cancers. Dr. Levy leads by example, giving her time and expertise to improve the understanding that the community has in regards to hereditary cancers and the research being done in the field.

Dr. Marie Florent-Carre, DO, MPH, Chair, Department of Rural and Urban Underserved

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Core Value: Community

Dr. Florent-Carre is very dedicated to our community as well as the international community. Her dedication to the KPCOM Health Fairs and outreach trips goes beyond her responsibilities. She is also an expert on the Zika virus by teaching how to prevent the virus from spreading in our communities.

She cares about the undeserved community. She volunteered to multiple missions trips, helped with the back to school drives for the communities as well as helped organize and work in the multiple health fairs in Broward County. Her dedication to the community is an inspiration to future doctors as well as the staff and volunteers that participate in these events.

Andrea Uribe, Executive Assistant to the Dean

College of Optometry

Core Value: Community

Andrea has participated as a volunteer in different events making NSU and the College of Optometry present in the community. Two great opportunities were: the KID Holiday Drive in November and December 2018, and the United Way Get Dirty Day in April, 2019.

Andrea always demonstrates interest in volunteer work. In these two opportunities, Andrea showed her commitment to the Community Core value, assisting others in need and expanding NSU's engagement with the external community. She donated her time and work to make other's lives better.

Through her volunteer work, Andrea has been an advocate for the ones needing assistance. From partnerships that NSU and the College of Optometry have aligned, to her will to make a change in our community, Andrea created a campaign to raise funds for Christmas gifts donated to children from the nonprofit KID and also spent an entire day painting and landscaping 2 homes of local homeowners, impacting a neighborhood in need.


July 2019


Nancy Kelly Sanguigni, Assistant Dean for Clinical Programs

Shepard Broad College of Law

Core Value: Student Centered & Community

Nancy has gone out of her way this Summer to meet student needs in a few ways. First, she is meeting and speaking individually to the largest number of students ever seeking to enroll in clinical programs. Second, she has the most diverse format of clinical credit earning opportunities upon which to counsel students. Third, she has more clinical placement opportunities to manage with new rules and regulations ever before. Nancy has gone out of her way to ensure all students are as well informed as possible in all the possibilities for them to properly complete their education.

Nancy's student centered approach has resulted in the highest number of students in the law school's history being interested and involved in live-client experiential education. She has made the clinical offices welcoming and student serving and enhanced the practical training, which serves both the students and the community.


Jessica Duran Carrasquillo, Administrative Assistant

College of Pharmacy 

Core Value: Student Centered

Jessica has embodied the value of “Student Centered” as she provides a positive attitude and reassurance to all COP students she encounters handling confidential information and private student situations excellently. With patience and kindness, she helped a student through a difficult situation providing words of wisdom, encouragement, and motivation. Ms. Duran provided the student with enough confidence and support to achieve academic success and professional development.


May 2019

Scholarship/Research is the core value of the month for May. Here are some great examples of how we demonstrate the core value of Scholarship/Research.

Robin J. Jacobs, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.S., M.P.H., Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Medical Education

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine


Robin Jacobs is an associate professor and the director of Graduate Medical Education at KPCOM, where she uses her substantial research-mentoring experience to help junior faculty members and residents. She contributes to the college’s research mission as a prolific scholar and successful grant writer with 200 pieces of published/presented work. Just since 2018, Jacobs has published 12 research articles.


As a researcher, she focuses on activating and engaging patients in preventive care and disease self-management to contribute to the reduction of health disparities. She is co-investigator of a $2.75 million National Institutes of Health trial to help individuals with low health literacy manage their chronic health conditions, additionally, she was the mentor on a five-year, student-led research project to study chronic, musculoskeletal pain in developing countries. Recently, a student asked Jacobs for help with statistical analysis for his study, and although not part of her job, she worked overtime to help him complete his project.


One of her greatest strengths is that she has a relentless passion for research and instilling the importance of evidence-based medicine in all, as demonstrated in her presentations to clinical faculty members at Broward Health Medical Center. Jacobs also explains how to practically apply the information, so others can generate their own research. In fact, she recently created three new research courses for students, faculty members, and residents.


Jacobs lives NSU’s values. This is evidenced by her enduring record of interprofessional collaborations both within and outside the university. These activities fulfill her desire to apply her unique skill set and methodological expertise to a research agenda that serves NSU’s mission. She inspires everyone she meets to partake in some sort of research, independently or as part of a team. She always takes time to help a colleague with research. She never tires of inspiring and instilling the value of research and scholarly activity in us all at NSU.


Malav Trivedi, Assistant Professor

College of Pharmacy

Through Malav Trivedi’s grant proposal writing, the level of extramural funding for research has increased. He has prepared more than 10 grant proposals in the past year as the primary investigator (PI), and several more as a co-investigator (Co-I). In total, he has requested in excess of $8 million. Trivedi has already received grant awards (as the PI or Co-I) in excess of $1.2 million. The university is working to improve its reputation as a research university. Obtaining significant extramural funding is key to achieving this goal, and faculty members like Malav Trivedi are leading that effort.

Irina Rozenfeld, Assistant Professor

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine


As a member of the team at a research and clinic-based institute, Irina Rozenfeld is always encouraging faculty members to apply for funding opportunities and to engage students in research. She, herself, has successfully been awarded PRG awards which included students in her proposals. She actively mentors students in the NSU nursing program and has successfully completed her master’s degree in Integrative Medicine. All of this, while she works full time as a clinical provider, seeing patients with complex neuro-inflammatory disorders.

Rozenfeld’s commitment to continuing her own education, as well as sharing her knowledge with students is inspiring, to those she works with and the patients she cares for. In fact, one of her patients has donated funds to the NSU Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine specifically to assist in Rozenfeld’s patient care.



April 2019

Opportunity is the core value of the month for April. Here are some great examples of how we demonstrate the core value of Opportunity.

Blake Constantinides, Director of Finance and Administration

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine


Blake Constantinides seeks to participate in additional learning. He demonstrates growth, competency, and professionalism. His example motivates others, and he is a great example that working at NSU gives individuals the opportunity to grow in their careers.


Emma Colon, Pharmacy Technician III

College of Pharmacy

A Pharmacy Clinic customer had a very high copay on a particularly expensive medication. Emma Colon found a manufacturer’s coupon online for the customer. This gave saved the customer $40 a month on the prescription medications. 

Colon recognized an opportunity to help a fellow employee and patient. She took the initiative to find a special solution for the patient. Her behavior showcases one of our core beliefs at the NSU Clinic Pharmacy: service that is excellent to all customers.

Jonathan Harrison, Director of Learning and Organizational Development

Office of Human Resources

Jonathan Harrison has put together wonderful programs, including the Emerging Leadership training program and the new academic chair training sessions. Through these programs, attendees have had the opportunity to grow professionally and develop skills that allow them to perform their jobs more effectively. Harrison’s excitement in bringing these necessary trainings to the NSU community is contagious. He is a wonderful role model to demonstrate how to act in a very professional and compassionate manner.



Michelle Demory Beckler, Assistant Professor

College of Medical Sciences

Michelle Demory Becker is an amazing colleague. Two years ago, she began helping to develop a Rheumatology Research Unit. She has been instrumental in getting students motivated and enthusiastic about performing research-related activities.

Demory Beckler is also a great educator. She strives for excellence in scholarship, research, and education. She is an inclusive person who strives to embrace opinions and contributions from the incredibly rich, diverse population of NSU. In addition, Demory Beckler displays the highest moral fiber.

She is a wonderful research collaborator and those who work with her are very fortunate. Demory Beckler enhances the participation and research exploration of those she works with by her high degree of enthusiasm and energy!


MARCH 2019

Student Centered is the core value of the month for March. Here are some great examples of how we demonstrate the core value of Student Centered. 

Arif M. Rana, Ph.D., Ed.S., M.S., M.P.H., Director, Biomedical Informatics Program
Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (KPCOM)

Dr. Arif M. Rana is an associate professor in, and the chair of, the Department of Biomedical Informatics. He is also the director of the Biomedical Informatics Program at KPCOM. Additionally, He is a lifelong learner, continually enrolling in graduate courses in areas that interest him, “not necessarily to get a degree.” This is one of his greatest strengths as, through these experiences, he has come to recognize that students are reflections of teachers.

Dr. Rana encourages student-centered learning by allowing students to share in decisions, believing in their capacity to excel and remembering how it feels to learn. He has a deep belief that how learning is demonstrated depends on the different ways that students process understanding. He allows for student choice and autonomy, listening with great intent to his students. He gives freely of his time outside of class to ensure students completely understand the material and could apply it to practice. He has even created individual, self-paced assignments for students, meeting with them individually, as needed, to make sure they grasped the concepts and mastered the material. Dr. Rana does this, in part, by encouraging student reflection, pushing students to think, simplifying complex issues, and helping students understand what’s worth understanding.

Using the student-centered spirit of active learning, Dr. Rana motivates students to solve problems, answer questions, formulate questions of their own, discuss, explain, debate, or brainstorm during class. He encourages cooperative learning under conditions that assure both positive interdependence and individual accountability. In addition, in his role as director of the biomedical informatics program, he teaches his faculty members in the same manner that he teaches his students, working to instill positive attitudes toward the topics being taught and a level of self-confidence in knowledge and skills.


Audra Betty, Library Assistant II
NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center

Every semester, the Public Library Services Department participates in the SEA Thursday NSU Libraries Takeover event at the Don Taft University Center. Each table at the event has its own theme, and the NSU students who attend vote for their favorite.

Audra Betty was eager to help at the department’s table, even dressing as a mermaid to promote an event we’ll be having in the spring. She enthusiastically interacted with many students, encouraging them to save the date and to volunteer for the event. Thanks, in part, to her help, 118 NSU students were engaged with the library’s upcoming events and service hour opportunities.


Dr. CA Tolchinsky, Director of Student Success
Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (NSU MD)

Dr. CA Tolchinsky has looked after the needs of NSU students for 16 years, whether it be student-athletes, allopathic students, NSU University School students, or UNIV 1000 students. She created the Academic Success Program for NSU athletics—from concept through fruition—and is now creating an academic support program for NSU MD students.

Dr. Tolchinsky is always improving the services provided to her students and altering the programs as the needs of the students change. She collaborates with other campus departments to develop programming and provide the resources necessary to retain and enhance the student experience at NSU. Students are her focus, and all of her resources and programs have centered around ways to assist the academic success and wellness of her students.


Donna Gibson, Administrative Assistant II
NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center

Donna Gibson proactively ensures that the library’s printers in the reference area are performing to meet students’ needs. If a repair is needed, she quickly submits a maintenance request to have it up and running as soon as possible. 

Although new to NSU, Donna has quickly identified that these printers are among the most heavily used by students on campus. By frequently checking their status, she helps ensure that students can easily print the papers that they need and go off to class happy.

Eleanor Lawrence, Associate Professor of Management
H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship

Eleanor Lawrence has been leading the Orientation Course Committee for the past few years. The purpose of this committee is to provide a welcoming experience for incoming graduate business students and to prepare them for what to expect in their time spent on the ground or online at Nova Southeastern University. The committee includes other business school faculty and staff members, as well as other support staff. Each time the one-day course is offered, the committee solicits feedback, and each time, the committee reviews those comments and tweaks the course to better support our students.

Eleanor listens to all of the stakeholders—faculty and staff members and students—and makes sure that these, and future, students receive a positive lifetime experience that will benefit them and the university in the years to come. She gets things done, and truly embodies the concept of being student centered.

Emily Bibisi, Administrative Coordinator
NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center

The Collection Development for the Alvin Sherman Library runs the semi-annual Book Sale, twice a year, in April and October. All of the proceeds raised go to the Donald Riggs Scholarship Fund supporting library staff members who want to get advanced library degrees.

While the sales are twice a year, every single day, Emily Bibisi and her students receive donations and gifts of books to the library. There are thousands of items. Each item is looked up in our system to see if we should add it to our collection (saving money), or whether it should be donated to the book sale (raising money). Emily organizes these gifts and also organizes the set up and volunteers for the sales. Many people assist in this process, but Emily leads it all.

The library has had three students take advantage of this scholarship so far, and has raised more than $7,500 this year alone to assist more students in furthering their education and, in turn, using those skills to add value to NSU’s libraries. Emily demonstrates her leadership and student-centered values with every donation and at every sale. She deserves to be recognized for it.

Juan C. Saavedra, Recruitment and Student Affairs
College of Optometry

Juan Saavedra is responsible for overseeing the recruitment and admissions process for each new entering class and coordinating all activities related to the Office of Student Affairs. Every year, he guides prospective professional students through the application and admissions process with a strong commitment to helping others.

Juan ensures that students are the focus of not just institutional priorities, but the College of Optometry specifically. In his role as the recruitment and student affairs coordinator for the college, he is a true advocate for student academic success and professional development. He has a way of treating all who step into his path like family. Whether a person is seeking guidance, a listening ear, or an afternoon shot of espresso, he is always available, and his door is always open.

An asset to the College of Optometry, Juan’s hard work and dedication to our core values and standards affect the department in a crucial way. His efforts are reflected on the admission of new students and the preparation of their success, as well as the guidance he offers current students.


Kasandra Landrian-Ramos, Assistant Director of Academic Advising
Student Affairs

Kasandra Landrian-Ramos is one of the most student-centered professionals I have met. She constantly goes above and beyond to help our NSU Sharks overcome obstacles and challenges. Recently, she helped a student struggling with food insecurity and serious difficulties. Kasandra immediately acted to ensure this student was provided with food and clothing. She is a tremendous support and advocate to so many of our students. I can’t think of a more deserving professional who is living NSU’s core values!

Not only is Kasandra a role model and advocate for our students, she is always supporting other advisers on campus as well. She will drop everything to help a colleague and give advice to those in need. She has significantly helped to change many NSU students’ lives. Kasandra is a mentor to many of our Sharks and plays a huge role in helping our students to graduate and become successful.

Marcia Young-Tippenhauer, Administrative Support Lead III
Office of Human Resources

Marcia Young-Tippenhauer is one of the contacts for the Volunteer Service Program at NSU. In one case, a department that includes research and clinical experiences, has lots of students who want to volunteer with it. The volunteer process is complex and requires a lot of paperwork, with steps for the volunteer, the mentor, and the administration. It was becoming more difficult to properly submit applications, due to lack of communication and confusion in processes and procedures.

Marcia investigated the difficulties all sides were having on each step of the process. Together, we were able to come up with a solution that worked for everyone to ensure information being submitting was correct and complete, so that there was less confusion and more efficiency.

Marcia understood that, although a process is in place, it can always be reviewed and modified if needed. She also understood that the main goal of this program is to get students involved in various departments. She was more than willing to review procedures and ensure that students were approved in a timely manner, allowing them to begin their volunteer service.


Michelle Duarte, Optometric Technician
College of Optometry

Michelle Duarte lives this core value every single day. She is, without a doubt, one of the most student-centered optometric technicians that has ever worked in the college. She has been known to put her own work on hold to assist students on several occasions.

Michelle has created multiple systems to help optometry students throughout their semester in primary care. She makes folders for them at the beginning of each semester that break down exactly what they will need to know, highlighting important information, and has even added some useful tools that she created. She has made herself someone the students find comfort in, and someone they learn from on a daily basis.

Michelle’s presence alone has had a huge impact on her department. She is relied on by both students and faculty members. When she is at work, it’s felt. The optometry students she works with become better because of the knowledge she shares and the respect she gives.


Nadine Martinez, Library Assistant II
NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center

Every semester, the Public Library Services Department participates in the SEA Thursday NSU Libraries Takeover event at the Don Taft University Center. Each table at the event has its own theme, and the NSU students who attend vote for their favorite.

Nadine Martinez did a fantastic job engaging students and sharing information with them about an upcoming event at which they can earn community service hours. She fully committed to her mermaid role! Thanks, in part, to her help, 118 NSU students were engaged with the library’s upcoming events and service hour opportunities.

Nicholas (Nick) Blume, Assistant Director of Finance and Student Affairs
Student Affairs

An email was recently received from the president of MEDLIFE, an undergraduate student organization. She explained to me how Nick Blume went above and beyond to assist her club with an issue they had. This is not part of Nick’s day-to-day job function, but he dropped everything he was doing, made multiple calls, and spoke with several people to ensure that the club’s issue was resolved. At the end of the email, the student said, “I hope you recognize his dedication to the student body, and I am very glad he is a part of NSU.”

Nick’s hard work deserves to be recognized. This is just one example of his student-centered attitude.

Odanna Duverge, Administrative Assistant
Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Odanna Duverge is always helpful and goes above and beyond in making sure students are assisted with all of their needs and requests. She always greets them with a smile and makes them welcome, never letting them feel like an inconvenience. Students love working with her.

Tasha Yohan, Assistant Director
Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications (PRMC)

In her expanded role in managing social media, Tasha Yohan interacts directly with students on a daily basis. She supervises students who do social media takeovers, trains students about NSU’s objectives for social media, and often covers student events. She responds to questions that students post on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat day and night. She researches the information and gets back to the student, always in a timely manner

Everything Tasha does, she does with a smile. Consequently, she’s a great ambassador for PRMC, and NSU overall, both on campus and in the community. Her willingness to take on the social media is greatly appreciated and recognized.


Xiara Acosta, Library Assistant II
NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center

At the end of summer, Alvin Sherman Library’s Public Library Services Department was given a goal to design events that motivate more young adults, specifically NSU students, to visit the library. Xiara Acosta accepted the challenge.

She designed and implemented two movie marathon programs: Marvel movies in August, and horror movies in November. She led the planning process, including reserving space, acquiring refreshments, choosing the movies, and setting up the room. The marathons were attended by large numbers of young adults and NSU students. Through designing and implementing these programs, Xiara played a valuable role in accomplishing the department’s goal.


Innovation is the core value of the month for February. Here are some great examples of how we demonstrate the core value of Innovation.

Adam Cohen, Manager of Instructional Design and Development

Innovation and Information Technology


As we recently transitioned from Blackboard to Canvas, we had to employ innovative problem solving for the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Training. Adam Cohen worked tirelessly, suggesting and exploring options even in Beta design. His outside-the-box creative approach encouraged us to ask, “what if we could...” and resulted in a solution that serves our NSU partners far better than we imagined.


Adam worked diligently to solve the challenge of building the EHS training modules in Canvas, but most recently, he helped tackle a project that required a very fast turn-around time. He frequently proposes options and innovative solutions that result in providing a better experience for those engaging in our training. His approach makes him amazing to work with, and the results are outstanding.


There are many demands on Adam’s time—and no doubt, each NSU “customer” he assists needs their project completed yesterday! Somehow, working with Adam gives you the sense that you are his only priority. He was always ready with a suggestion and a solution—ready to test out something new that he thought might work well on the project. For many years, we have had our stakeholders request information specific to their department, and we were not able to deliver on this request—until now! Thanks to some ideas from Adam, we have solved this challenge at last.


James (Jimmy) Drew, Director of Innovation and Info Architect

Innovation and Information Technology


January 14, 2019, was the start of the Artificial Intelligence Chat Bot Internship. Jimmy designed the curriculum that would help educate students on the process of building and training AI chat bots, such as NSU’s virtual assistant, Julie. There are currently four students participating in this program. The students are required to complete assignments designed to help conceptualize new features and prepare to deploy them in a production environment. Students are getting hands-on experience with key methodologies, and

Jimmy designed the entire curriculum and implemented the program. He was also a key participant of the creation and launch of the AI chat bot that the program is based on.


Jimmy is very passionate about innovation and has a desire to help students prepare for the real world. The feedback from the students has been very positive. The program has helped them think differently and has given them new tools to bring to the table. The students see a lot of value in the critical thinking skills they have learned through Jimmy’s curriculum, and look forward to learning more in their internships.


Jennie Q. Lou, M.D., M.Sc., Assistant Dean for Medical Education and Innovation

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine


Thursday, February 7, 2019, Jennie Lou captured the essence of NSU’s Core Value of innovation at a presentation to fellow NSU leadership regarding a pipeline master’s degree program. She explained that innovation is the creative and deliberate application of teaching, research, scholarship, and service for effective education and the development of useful products or processes. She further stated that having this innovation provides added value to a community.


The master’s degree program that Jennie conceived of captured a significant level of depth, detail, and embedded innovation in its design, structure, outreach, and applicability. The program is poised to become a significant driver of excellence in medical education and will allow incoming students who complete it to hold an innovative and intellectual advantage in their health field of choice.


Julie Anne Jacko, Ph.D., Chair and Professor

Population Health

I have been in several meetings during the last month or two in which Julie Anne Jacko has demonstrated her innovative thinking related to health care informatics and navigation. She shares her ideas and bounces them off others participating in the meeting. She is leading a highly innovative effort to build a patient navigation system and electronic medical record for health care that meets urgent clinical needs and provides research tools. Her approach brings IT together with health care practitioners to develop tools that will be truly impactful. 

The highly collaborative and innovative approach that Julie Anne Jacko developed really puts NSU on the map as one of the leaders in addressing these important health care needs. By thinking outside of the box, the tools being developed have great potential to change the health care environment.

Karen Aguilar Cerrato, Director, HRIS and Shared Services

Office of Human Resources


During the last year, HRIS and Shared Services implemented a series of new electronic systems and procedures to transition of Office of Human Resources (OHR) processes from paper to electronic files. Karen Aguilar Cerrato is an example of the dedication and hard work those implementations required. She and her team brought about the new OHR systems and processes. She is also a tireless trainer, providing HR Contacts with the latest updates, and is willing to assist coworkers during the transition.


Karen takes on new challenges and seeks opportunities to improve these new systems, being open to constructive feedback and suggestions. Her commitment to the protection and security of data is also impeccable.


The improvement of some of the university’s processes impacts everyone. Knowing that NSU fosters development shows that it is on the right path. Karen’s efforts to innovate the ability to generate and access information in a faster and safer way affects all the departments that deal with a high flow of documents on a daily basis.

Michelle Merida Morgado, Manager of Marketing

College of Optometry

During the month of September, Michelle Morgado worked on an optometry admissions video that will enhance the experience of new students and reinforce the work and diversity of our faculty members. The idea came originally from administrators and staff members. Michelle promptly accepted the challenge, embracing the idea of creating the video that will be sent to all students who are accepted to the college. More than that, she researched the best methods, produced a script, invited faculty members to participate, and directed the entire creative process. She really went above and beyond!

Michelle is always looking for new and innovative ways to contribute to the College of Optometry, whether doing her regular work or accepting new challenges. Among her responsibilities, she carefully manages all NSUCO social media accounts and the Visionary magazine.

Noel Facey, Senior Accountant

Financial Operations


Noel Facey came up with an idea to make reconciling time and effort certifications more efficient. The current method involves exporting, sorting, and subtotaling figures from Banner, then comparing them to another report to identify variances. This task takes a considerable amount of time to complete and is subject to data entry and formula errors. Noel wrote a macro to sort, subtotal, and format the information with a few keystrokes. This innovative solution will save countless hours of time and reduce the possibility for human error significantly.


Noel helped to demonstrate how a single idea can be developed and implemented to increase the productivity of an entire department. In turn, this will allow the Contracts and Grants Accounting Department staff to focus its resources on other areas and keep pace with the changing needs of the university, as it relates to sponsored programs.

January 2019

Academic Excellence is the core value of the month for January. Here are some great examples of how we demonstrate the core value of Academic Excellence.

Cristina Llerena Law, O.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Optometry

Cristina Llerena Law holds the rank of associate professor at the College of Optometry and is a teacher and mentor. She is a trained clinical scientist who maintains a laboratory with funded studies, student-assistants, and mentoring faculty members with interests in her areas of research. Law enjoys her teaching and clinical responsibilities. These responsibilities also assist her in patient recruitment for her studies.

Working toward publishing in high-impact journals, Law currently has a paper in press in Vision Research. She has expressed how happy she is to be part of the College of Optometry team, which she embraces with enthusiasm.

Jennifer Wilson, Director, Student Disability Services, Student Affairs

Jennifer Wilson’s role is to oversee the accommodation process for students with identified disabilities. She regularly goes above and beyond to ensure that students receive information in a timely fashion; accommodations are appropriate, based on verified documentation; and the process for providing accommodations ensures that students with disabilities have equitable access to abled-students, allowing them to strive for academic excellence. She also spends time educating faculty members about disabilities, so they can better understand and serve their students.

Wilson collaborates with faculty members and escalates matters appropriately to department chairs or legal counsel when warranted. Her advocacy for students whom others may, unfortunately, often perceive as challenging or anxious, enables the students to be academically successful when they otherwise may not have been. Though this is her role, she does it with patience, creative thinking, and dedication. Wilson also proctors exams, meets with parents, discusses facility limitations, and often works on high-priority issues after the traditional workday to ensure students can access their education.

Her commitment to helping students with disabilities is often a thankless job, but her collaborations across campus promote an environment where ALL students can learn. Students have faith that their medical and other information is protected, so they can attend class and participate without feeling labeled or diagnosed. While some of the impact has to do with the function of providing accommodations, students and their parents receive a very high-quality experience and ethic of care when they interact with Student Disability Services at NSU. And it’s at least partly because of Wilson’s approach and expertise.


Mirela Burca Career Adviser/Counselor, Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Every time someone asks Mirela Burca for her assistance, she is always available to extend a hand and help in whatever way she can. She never says no, no matter the time or who made the request. She is always prompt to assist.

Burca has been known to stay late to help prepare for a presentation the following day, making some previously overlooked observations that improved the whole thing. In addition, she provides all students that come to her academic advice sessions with the best information, the best guidance, and the best treatment that any student can have. They leave her office with a smile on their faces, clearly feeling relieved from her advice.

She demonstrates her commitment with not only her own department, but also with others whose work may be connected to hers. Her ideas impact not only her work and responsibilities, but also others who she willingly helps.


Natalie Register, Web Content Manager, Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications

Natalie Register played a major part in the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine’s website launch, and continues to provide advice and counsel regarding best practices on a regular basis. She is always accessible and helpful. Whenever her advice is sought or her help is needed to fix a glitch, she is there, calmly and professionally. She is indispensable, and her work contributes to the academic success of the NSU MD program.

Thanks to Register, and others on the web team, both in marketing and OIIT, the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine’s website launch was a major success. The new site debuted in alignment with the Patel gift naming in January 2018, and the college has seen a significant increase in metrics, contributing to the admissions process—ultimately helping matriculate a strong charter class and more than doubling applications for the second class. The NSU MD website has won numerous awards, including Best Website by the Public Relations Society of America Sunshine District (Florida) and a Silver Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Register has been a major part of this contribution to NSU’s vision to enhance its academic reputation in Florida and nationally.


Stacey Coulter, O.D., Professor, College of Optometry

Stacey Coulter was appointed chair of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) task force. During the initial meeting of the task force, she had many ideas. As chair, she suggested, and received faculty buy in for, individual faculty coaches. The coaches serve as mentors for students, helping them with study plans and encouraging them throughout the study process. The program was a great success, with 51 students who signed up for mentors. Coulter coordinated the coaches and personally mentored nearly a dozen students herself.

Students are very appreciative of the time faculty members spend going above and beyond to help ensure their success. The program has fostered a positive study environment and improved student-faculty member relationships. Additionally, the program has greatly enhanced student preparedness for boards. The most recent board passage rate improved by more than 15 percent. This is likely due in part to the faculty coaches. The feedback has been so favorable that Coulter’s program is used in College of Optometry recruitment efforts.

Return to top of page