Schuylkill celebrates faculty, staff with annual awards and service honors

Group photo of Penn State Schuylkill faculty and staff holding awards

During an employee event held on Dec. 15, Penn State Schuylkill honored faculty and staff with years of service awards and announced winners of the campus' annual faculty and staff awards, including, from left, Rosanne Chesakis, Charlie Killian, Sarah Princiotta, Jessica Saalfield, Brian Gardner and Lee Silverberg.

Credit: Penn State

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — As the fall semester came to a close, Penn State Schuylkill's faculty and staff joined together to celebrate those who received annual honors, including the Outstanding Staff Award and faculty awards for advising, teaching, research and service. The campus also gave a special award for dedicated service to part-time faculty or staff.

Outstanding Staff Award

Rosanne Chesakis, library supervisor, earned this year's Outstanding Staff Award, which is awarded annually to a full-time nonacademic employee who has provided exceptional service on behalf of the campus. Chesakis, who has been an integral part of the campus for 37 years, is not only dedicated to serving our students in the library, but the entire campus community. Outside of her role, Chesakis is the campus historian and works diligently to preserve the rich history of Penn State Schuylkill, exciting milestones and memorable student events.

"A key piece to the campus, Rosanne radiates encouragement, beams with happiness and genuinely cares about the success of our students," said Aurora Brunovsky, interim regional human resources strategic partner. "Penn State Schuylkill is a better place because of Rosanne's commitment and dedication to the campus."

Faculty Awards

Excellence in Faculty Advising Award

Jessica Saalfield, assistant professor of psychology, earned Penn State Schuylkill's 2023 Excellence in Faculty Advising Award. The award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate dedication to faculty advising.

"Jessica's nominator stated that she always makes time to see her students and goes above and beyond — holding informal meetings with students that may be interested in the psychology program," said Cory Scherer, interim director of academic affairs at Penn State Schuylkill, while announcing the award. "She cares deeply about the major, the discipline, and each student."

Excellence in Research or Creative Accomplishments Award

Sarah Princiotta, assistant professor of biology, earned Penn State Schuylkill's 2023 Excellence in Research or Creative Accomplishments Award. This award is to recognize and encourage excellence in the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments based on a long history of high-quality research.

"Sarah's had five publications in peer-reviewed journals in this year alone," Scherer said. "Her nominator stated, 'On top of being published several times in one year, Sarah is receiving invitations to present her research at professional meetings and conferences. ... She is doing amazing work and is including undergraduate researchers in her projects, too.'"

Excellence in Service Award

Lee Silverberg, professor of chemistry, earned Penn State Schuylkill's 2023 Excellence in Service Award, which recognizes excellence in service to the University or the community. Silverberg has been a part of the campus for 14 years and his impact on the campus community is profound. In addition to his teaching duties, Silverberg leads undergraduate research efforts, connecting students who are interested in undergraduate research with the appropriate faculty research mentor, and is a faculty mentor himself.

"Lee's work is significant when it comes to the campus community — the amount of service and hard work that Lee does, shows his commitment to the betterment of the University," Scherer said. 

Excellence in Teaching Award

Brian Gardner, lecturer of information technology, earned Penn State Schuylkill's 2023 Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes and encourages an exemplary commitment to excellence in teaching.

"Brian is an excellent and passionate educator, who works to evaluate and address the needs of his students as individuals, while also ensuring high levels of quality in their work and accountability in their action," Scherer said.

Dedicated Service to Penn State Schuylkill Award

The Dedicated Service to Penn State Schuylkill Award honors a part-time employee who has provided dedicated service to the campus community. Charlie Killian, head coach of women's basketball, earned Penn State Schuylkill's 2023 Dedicated Service Award. In the 2022-23 season, Killian led the women's basketball team to earn the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference championship and is known for always encouraging players to be their very best. Throughout his time here, Killian has stepped into various interim coaching roles for the campus and is always willing to lend a hand where needed. Before joining Penn State Schuylkill, Killian served his country as a member of the Air Force and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

"Charlie often puts others ahead of himself and seldom looks for recognition," said Bryan Valentine, director of student affairs and athletics, while announcing the award. "He's a person of great character and is more than just a fantastic colleague, but a friend to all."

Years of Service Awards

Also during the ceremony, the campus community celebrated faculty and staff members who reached service milestone anniversaries in 2023:

30 years of service

  • Hartmut Heep, professor of German, comparative literature and Jewish studies
  • Anita Vickers, associate professor of English

25 years of service

  • Michael Russell, maintenance — electrical, facilities and operations
  • Elaine Tutko, assistant to the financial officer

20 years of service

  • Andrea Solinski, laboratory supervisor
  • Michael Verhagen, campus registrar
  • Hilary Yotko, lecturer and program coordinator of radiological science

15 years of service

  • Kelly Adams, maintenance — utility, facilities and operations
  • Bryan Docherty, maintenance — utility, facilities and operations
  • Janelle Gruber, lecturer, and program coordinator of corporate communication
  • Jason Reuscher, reference and associate librarian
  • Stephanie Wood, financial officer

Five years of service

  • Angela Brown, lecturer of accounting and division coordinator of business
  • Cynthia Ebling, coordinator of health services
  • Brian Gardner, lecturer of information technology
  • Jaime Patterson-Vaughn, administrative support coordinator and officer manager
  • Lisa Robinson, lecturer of business