Student Affairs announces 2023–24 employee awards

On May 16, 2024, employees from across Student Affairs gathered in the Great Hall at Memorial Union to celebrate their colleagues and campus partners during the annual Student Affairs Awards Ceremony and summer celebration.

During opening remarks, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor reflected on the past year and how, even in the midst of challenge, Student Affairs professionals seek – and bring – joy to the work: “Joy is at the core of why many of us were first called to student affairs work. And, the joy is how so many us find a way to deal with the tough timesI appreciate you leaning in on difficult conversations when it means gaining or giving perspective for a greater good. Thank you for your long days and nights taking care of our students and community. Thank you for bringing the joy, especially on the tough days.”

A committee with representatives from across Student Affairs selected recipients from peer nominations based on established criteria for each of the following awards: 

  • Outstanding New Professional
  • Commitment to the Wisconsin Experience
  • Leadership in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Efforts
  • Student Affairs Partner

Congratulations to the following honorees:

Outstanding New Professional

This award recognizes a Student Affairs member who has made outstanding contributions during the early years of one’s career. These activities must show innovation, reflect foresight, and display promise that the individual has the unique quality to positively impact the student experience.

Erika Enk, University Health Services

Enk’s nomination said: “Erika Enk has consistently gone above and beyond to cultivate a socially-just environment for the UW–Madison student body and their work colleagues. Stepping into their role as Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) and Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) Nurse Case Manager in 2022, they have dramatically reduced gatekeeping for TGD students seeking gender-affirming services, increased services and care offered to TGD students across campus, augmented scope and availability of training for UHS staff, and collaborated with UW partners to help foster an inclusive and supportive campus. … Their commitment to addressing systemic issues and promoting inclusivity underscores their dedication to creating a more equitable and just environment for all.”

River Linebarger, Office of Inclusion Education

Gaonue Vang (UHS), Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor, and River Linebarger (MSC) stand together after recognizing Vang and Linebarger at the 2023-24 Student Affairs Awards.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor (center) awards Gaonue Vang (left) and River Linebarger (right) with the Outstanding New Professional Award. Not pictured is awardee Erika Enk.

Linebarger’s nomination said: “River has been a constant positive influence, change maker, and dedicated staff member for the past year who consistently exceeds expectations. River continues to be an excellent leader within our office and strong collaborator and partner that centers the well-being and success of students and champions the work of Student Affairs. They truly embody the spirit of the Outstanding New Professional Award and are an integral part of the Student Affairs team.”

Gaonue Vang, University Health Services

Vang’s nomination said: “While in the final stretch of her first year, Gaonue’s contributions have been major — with impact on student survivors, our Survivor Services program, our UHS team culture, and campus at large. … Gaonue challenges the status quo, devoid of ego or self-interest, but in order to improve the support available to our student survivors. We — as a campus
community, and particularly at University Health Services — are lucky to have her on our team and looking forward to witnessing and supporting her professional development.”

Commitment to the Wisconsin Experience

As part of former Dean of Students Lori Berquam’s legacy, this award recognizes champions who have used their work at UW–Madison to have a positive and significant impact within student communities. The Wisconsin Experience is characterized by close integration of in- and out-of-class experiences; by active, creative, and entrepreneurial engagement in real-world problems; and by offering students leadership in their learning.

Sadat Khan (RecWell) and Lauren Adams (MSC) pose for a photo with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor before receiving their award.
Sadat Khan (left) and Lauren Adams (right) were recognized for their commitment to students’ Wisconsin Experience and awarded by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor (center).

Lauren Adams, Multicultural Student Center

Adams’ nomination said: “Lauren Adams fosters an environment that centers Black life and culture while offering unwavering support for Black students as they navigate the Wisconsin Experience. … Among the impactful initiatives under Lauren’s leadership is the Black History Month Planning Committee (BHMPC). … Zee Akanni, a 2022 graduate and former BHMPC Co-Chair, attested to its transformative impact, stating, “BHMPC played an instrumental role in the student leader and adult that I have become today.” … Lauren’s commitment to Black students and passionate, purposeful leadership makes experiences like this possible at UW.”

Sadat Khan, Recreation and Wellbeing

Khan’s nomination said: “Throughout his nine-year tenure, Sadat has demonstrated unwavering dedication to enhancing the student experience and fostering the Wisconsin spirit. From the outset, Sadat prioritized student involvement in the Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center’s design process, ensuring that student voices were heard and represented in every decision. … Through his unwavering dedication, Sadat has created something truly remarkable that will positively impact Badgers for generations to come. Sadat Khan exemplifies the Wisconsin Experience through his courage, commitment to students, and willingness to innovate.”

Leadership in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Efforts

This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership and courage while initiating, creating, and supporting a more socially just learning and work environment for students and staff — within or beyond the scope of their current position. Honorees have a clear record of fostering an open, positive, inclusive campus community, and demonstrate a sense of commitment, spirit, and integrity to social justice both professionally and personally.

Noreen Siddiqui (MSC) and Tiffany Lee (GSCC), hold their awards alongside Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor at the 2023-24 Student Affairs Awards.
Noreen Siddiqui (left) and Tiffany Lee (center) received the Leadership in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Efforts award on behalf of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor (right) at the 2023-24 Student Affairs Awards.

Tiffany Lee, Gender and Sexuality Campus Center

Lee’s nomination said: “Tiffany’s position is shared between the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center and the Office of Inclusion Education and its Social Justice Education team. Through this complex role, she establishes connections honed over years to expand knowledge, awareness, and skills. She mentors, supports, and advocates for students’ belonging while serving as an educator for the campus community. … Sharing community with Tiffany feels like a hug, a welcome home, and we are all sincerely grateful for all that she pours into us.”

Noreen Siddiqui, Multicultural Student Center

Siddiqui’s nomination said: “Noreen has consistently exhibited outstanding dedication and leadership in her role as assistant director for cultural programming at the Multicultural Student Center (MSC) over the past two academic years. Her unwavering commitment to supporting students of color has bolstered the MSC’s capacity to address gaps in services and enhance existing resources. … Her involvement in programming initiatives, such as helping to organize “Dinner with the Deans,” and her advocacy for the welfare of Muslim and Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) students during meetings with campus leaders highlight her tireless efforts to foster an inclusive and supportive campus community for some of our most marginalized students”

Student Affairs Partner

The final award recognized an entity whose collaboration with Student Affairs had positively impacted campus life.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor stands next to Carmen Romero-González, director of Cultural Linguistic Services.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor (left) congratulates Carmen Romero-González (right), Director of Cultural Linguistic Services.

Cultural Linguistic Services

The Student Affairs Partner Award nomination said: “When Rec Well took on full responsibility for custodial operations, there were many uncertainties. Cultural Linguistic Services stepped in to bridge the gap, ensuring that new employees not only felt welcomed but truly became integral parts of the team. … Their motto, “Enhancing communication, cultural understanding, and learning in our diverse multilingual work environment,” perfectly aligns with our mission in Student Affairs. … We are grateful for their ongoing partnership and the impact they’ve had on enriching the lives of everyone at UW–Madison.”

Years of Service

35 Years

Susan Dibbell, Wisconsin Unio
Donald Werla, University Health Services

30 Years

Bob Wright, Wisconsin Union

25 Years

Katherine Loving, University Health Services
Jay Schoenbeck, Wisconsin Union
Kara Zizzo, Wisconsin Union

20 Years

Sue Duhr, Student Affairs Administration
Griselda Manzano Martinez, Wisconsin Union
Tonya Schmidt, Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards
Lhakpa Tsamchoe, Wisconsin Union
Lindy Walton, McBurney Disability Resource Center

15 Years

Lindsey Bratton, Wisconsin Union
Donald Dismuke, Wisconsin Union
Matt Douglas, Student Print
Roman Lazowski, Wisconsin Union
Julia Madsen, Wisconsin Union
Joan Kazel, Recreation & Wellbeing
Nhia Thao, Wisconsin Union
Jeffrey Willis, University Health Services
Kelly Krein, Associated Students of Madison
Kristen Wurgler, McBurney Disability Resource Center

10 Years

Brooke Barreau, University Health Services
Jabou Darboe, Recreation & Wellbeing
Lucy Hernandez Perez, Recreation & Wellbeing
Tim Kotta, Recreation & Wellbeing
Nicolas Munoz-Montoya, Recreation & Wellbeing
Margarita Perez, University Health Services
Reonda Washington, University Health Services
Katherine Block, McBurney Disability Resource Center
Nicole Bresnick, McBurney Disability Resource Center
Peggy Weaver, McBurney Disability Resource Center
Jen Brown, Wisconsin Union
Danielle Brzezinski, Wisconsin Union
Thupten Gyatso, Wisconsin Union
Joshua Koehler, Fluno Building Services
Cindy Pearson, Wisconsin Union
Jason Powers, Wisconsin Union
Roberto Puyol, Wisconsin Union
Rod Rotar, Wisconsin Union

Congratulations to all recipients of the 2023–24 Student Affairs Awards! Your leadership and partnership help build a strong community of care for UW students and the entire campus community.