Two incredible members of IU’s Staff won the Outstanding Staff Mentor-Advocate Award at this year’s annual CEW&T Summit. This award is reserved for IU staff members who have been recognized as a diligent and supportive mentor or advocate for women and technology by their peers. CEW&T’s Executive Director, Dr. Maureen Biggers, shared her favorite quote prior to announcing the winners: “A mentor is someone who allows you see the hope inside yourself and help you clarify and realize your goals.”
This year’s winners, Dr. Katie Kearns and Melanie Ebdon, both have the qualities to be wonderful mentors; they have high emotional intelligence, they’re flexible, accessible, and transparent, they are great role models, positive guides, and they are people of integrity.
Those who nominated Dr. Kearns, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Development, had a lot to say:
"Dr. Kearns passion for inclusion and acceptance and understanding of how students intellectually (and personally) evolve, are traits that are not easily acquired via textbooks or journal articles.”
“When I met Dr. Kearns, I lacked professional direction, and was constantly agitated about my educational process. Within a few meetings, she helped me outline what areas of my learning environment I CAN improve to help myself grow. Dr. Kearns took time out of her schedule to listen and comprehend my experiences. She has openly stated that she may not know what it is like to be a person of color, but she does her best to be an ally.”
“Most importantly, Dr. Kearns always presents her true authentic-self when she is with you. Whenever we meet, she genuinely asks me, ‘how are you?’ and she means it. Higher Education is the experience of the marriage between the personal and academic. Dr. Katherine Kearns delivers this message in a way that I feel very few faculty and staff are able to do consistently.”
“Personally, I consider Dr. Kearns as AN ACCOMPLICE FOR CHANGE. I am fully aware that she is a human and does not have super powers, but she is a SHERO to me because she has helped me to effectively think in a way that other colleagues, academicians, and mentors have not been able to do.”
Ebdon, UITS Human Resources Management Systems Manager, nominated by Thomas Visnius, Kalani Ekanayake, Ying Feng, Maria Whitaker, Naga Rekha Malae, and Gagan Arora, said these wonderful words about her outstanding mentorship:
“She truly deserves this award because of the amount of positivity and performance enhancement she brings me. As a role model, she sets up a perfect example of how to work seamlessly under tough situations and tight deadlines.”
“I want to thank her for advising, believing in and giving a chance to every person on the team.”
“Melanie is the best coach mentor I have met in my 30+ years of professional life. She is not afraid of telling her staff about shortcomings and helps them overcome them with actionable suggestions. She is also always looking out for opportunities to make her staff members shine, and to get recognition for their contributions. She does all this with grace and compassion. She is a star!”
“Mel is warm-hearted and shows genuine care for each individual's well- being. I feel comfortable to share with her my personal concerns such as health and family issues, and she is always supportive and gives me helpful suggestions. I'm very grateful for her kindness. She also introduced the strength finders program to help us find what we are best at and try to maximize the opportunities where we can apply our strengths. Mel is a wonderful tutor/advisor/leader. I highly value Mel and am delighted to have this opportunity to nominate her for this award.”
Dr. Biggers closed with a quote-piece of advice given by Mark Twain: “Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Thank you to our award winners for your part in helping your students realize their potential!