Congratulations to the 2011 Spirit Award Recipients

Ross Colvin

Program Administrator
Department of Neurosciences-IDP

Exempt Employee

Ross Colvin, the 2012 exempt employee winner of the Spirit Award, has been the Administrator of the Neurosciences Interdisciplinary Program since 2006, after joining the program in 2004. The IDP has in excess of 70 graduate students at any given time, and Ross is responsible for the administration of this complex Program, and the care and feeding of the student population. Nominated by his students, Ross has been referred to as the gem for the neuroscience community.

Beyond his complex administrative duties, Ross spends numerous hours organizing activities for neuroscience graduate students – including seminars, retreats, interview weekends and happy hours. He helps graduate students apply for grants and helps the departments with all of the renewals and funding reimbursements, and tracks the finances for the program and each student. He responds to emails at anytime during the day or night. He follows up with all questions and if he can’t answer them finds someone who can. He also takes care of students needs from everything from grilling at their events, to cleaning up a personal home after a party, to locating and safekeeping their personal property.

Ross does all of this with a great amount of charm and modesty, and with a warm genuine smile. In a heartfelt email that Ross sent to all of the neurosciences community upon winning the award Ross said “My good fortune - whether in finding myself employed in work that I enjoy so much, or in working for John [Huguenard] and with Katie [Johnson], or in working with/for/within a community of incredibly intelligent, kind, funny and patient (and forgiving) people – is remarkable”.

Kerry Garcia

Administrative Assistant
Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology

Non-Exempt Employee

Kerry is one of a kind – she always has a warm smile for faculty, staff and visitors. She gives the department a feel of comfort and acceptance. After a conversation with Kerry, you walk away with your spirits restored and your sense of value enhanced. She does not know the meaning of "that's not possible". If you pose a problem to Kerry that you have not been able to overcome, she ALWAYS knows just who to call, where to find them, and figures out a way to get your problem in front of them. She never quits on making sure that the issue is resolved to the utmost of her capacity.

Dr. Blumenthal said, "Kerry has an absolutely infectious belief in the value and importance of what we all do both individually and communally", and Dr. El-Sayed said, "Kerry is profoundly and personally dedicated to the mission of our department and it shows in everything she does".

It is very common to find Kerry assisting patients find their way through the hospital and she treats them all as if they were visitors in her home. Dr. Aaron Hsueh tells us "Kerry is devoted to a higher cause than just fulfilling duties in her job description". Dr. Jonathan Berek believes that Kerry is an indispensable employee and our department could not run as well without her".

Simply put, Kerry has become the voice and heart of the department and very deserving of this honor.