Jun 25, 2020
Staff Awards 2020
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 Staff Recognition Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions made to the department by our staff members.
 
Since 2018, the awards have been given to UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry staff members in recognition of the wide-ranging positive impact they have on the many areas of the department. 
 
"Our department is made better because of our staff,” said Department Chair Professor Neil Garg. “We appreciate the work they do and the ideas they offer to push our department to higher levels.” 
 
CHEM Honoree: David Gingrich
Fund Manager, Business Office
This award honors one staff member who exemplifies service to the department in Commitment, Honesty, Empathy, and Motivation. This award is our premier staff recognition that highlights one staff member who goes above and beyond with a wide-reaching positive impact on the department. “Dave’s dependability and productivity in the face of daunting tasks has been a huge benefit to our department,” said Professor Sarah Tolbert, one of six faculty members to nominate Gingrich for the award. “He regularly goes well above and beyond what is requested or expected of our departmental fund managers, and as a result, I think he is highly deserving of a departmental award.” Professor Ken Houk added “Dave is wonderfully pro-active and does a terrific job of staying on top of complex budgets; so great to work with, too!”
 
Marla GonzalezOxygen Award: Marla Gonzalez
Biochemistry Divisional Assistant
This award honors a staff member who brings refreshing ideas and creativity to their unit and the department. “Marla, in short, is my go-to person,” said her faculty nominator, Professor Joe Loo. “She knows how to do nearly everything and she does it all expertly and efficiently. I never have to worry that Marla will forget, or she won’t be able to complete a request. It is incredibly helpful to have someone as dependable and bright as Marla working for us. Her contribution to the department is substantial and deserves recognition.”
 
Hydrogen Award: Ricky Ruiz
Storekeeper, Shipping and Receiving
This award honors a staff member who extends beyond their unit and bonds to other areas of the department in an impactful way. “Ricky is a constant and much needed source of positive energy,” per the nomination letter, which was co-signed by the entire research group of Professor Neil Garg. The group praised Ruiz’s “impeccable work ethic, his dependability, and his all-around great attitude.” Ruiz was also nominated by staff member Justyna Glodé who wrote “Ricky is known by the vast majority of graduate students, staff, and faculty due to his positive and helpful demeanor.  He deserves to recognized by the department for his dedication and hard work.”
 
Carbon Award: Laura Strom
Administrative Assistant, Professor Ken Houk’s group
This award honors a staff member who is essential to the function of the department through their dependability and proactivity. “Laura’s ongoing efforts for the department for nearly 25 years have sustained and advanced the reputation our department and also my ability to sustain a major research, teaching, and service effort during that period,” said nominator Professor Ken Houk. “Laura’s efficient and outstanding performance and the perfect execution of all her responsibilities have made all of my work, including the production of about 60 publications a year and major research support, possible.”
 
Maria Dimaano-SalangaTechnical Staff (Ts) Award: Maria Dimaano-Salanga
Lab Support Manager, Instructional Labs
This award honors a technical staff member who is viewed as an anchor of stability and success for the department. “Maria is a critical member of our department and is a go-to person for nearly every challenge that arises when we teach a laboratory course,” wrote nominators Professors Hosea Nelson and Alex Spokoyny.
 
These awards are normally presented department’s annual departmental awards ceremony which, has been postponed until later in the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Previous recipients: 
CHEM Honoree: Jin Lee (2018), Max Kopelevich (2019) 
Oxygen Award: Penny Jennings (2018), Graduate Office Staff: Justyna Glode, Nick Baerg, and Annie Carpenter (2019) 
Hydrogen Award: Jonathan Erde (2018), Stephanie Hotz (2019) 
Carbon Award: Denise Mantonya (2018), Janette Kropat (2019)
Technical Staff (Ts) Excellence Award: Rochanne Pucket (2018), Ankur Gholkar (2019)
 
Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.