Student Affairs announces annual employee awards

On Dec. 3, Student Affairs held its 2019-20 awards ceremony. Colleagues came together to recognize staff from each of the four areas in Student Affairs (Health and Wellbeing, Identity and Inclusion, Leadership and Engagement, and Student Advocacy) for their achievements in the following areas: Commitment to the Wisconsin Experience; Leadership in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Efforts; and Student Affairs Partner. A committee selected recipients from peer nominations within Student Affairs, based on established criteria for each award. Congratulations to the awardees listed below.  

Commitment to the Wisconsin Experience Award

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.  

  • Headshot of Matt Douglas Matt Douglas, StudentPrint Advisor, StudentPrint (Student Advocacy)
    “Matt continuously points out the opportunity for process improvement and growth. … He demonstrates values that are important in student advocacy and Student Affairs as a whole, including honesty and vulnerability.” 

Head shot of Abby Diehl

  • Abby Diehl, Assistant Director of  Wellbeing (Health and Wellbeing)
    “In her two years here, Abby has made a significant impact on our entire campus [by establishing] relationships with colleagues…as well as with state and county health officials.” 

Head shot of Dong Chan

  • Dong Chen, International Student Services Assistant, International Student Services (Identity and Inclusion)
    “Dong uses her unique experiences and ability to express the needs of the international student community to serve as a bridge through which all international students build community, a sense of belonging, and can have a meaningful and sustained Wisconsin Experience.” 

Head shot of Barb Kautz Wittwer

  • Barb Kautz-Wittwer, Associate Director, Center for Leadership & Involvement (Leadership & Engagement)
    “Barb is a community leader and engages in public service to create and sustain positive change, both on and off campus. Her service-oriented nature leads her to advocate and acknowledge the good work of colleagues and students.” 

Leadership in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Efforts (DISJ) Award

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 staffwithin 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.  

Head shot of Aaric Guerriero

  • Aaric Guerriero, Program Director, Our Wisconsin, Center for the First-Year Experience (Student Advocacy)
    “Aaric pushes and encourages colleagues to interrogate our own actions, beliefs, and motivations, and to be more empathetic leaders and strong advocates for social and racial justice. He has never wavered in his commitment to do what is best for our students.” 

Head shot of Ashley Lax

  • Ashley Lax, Assistant Director of Sports Programs, University Recreation & Wellbeing (Health & Wellbeing)
    “Ashley consistently ensures that topics of diversity and inclusion are incorporated into staff trainings and facilitates ongoing conversations with student employees. She has been a leader on Rec Well’s equity, inclusion, and diversity committee that designed and delivered a ‘Diversity Forum’ program for our student employees with 150 participating.” 

Head shot of Kate Lewandowski

  • Kate Lewandowski, Student Services Coordinator, McBurney Disability Resource Center (Identity & Inclusion)
    “Kate served on the search committee for the cluster hire ‘Opening Doors Through Language:  Access and Equity.’ Kate ended up providing critical information to the committee about issues related to deafness, American Sign Language, interpreters and the deaf community. Her role was then expanded to educate the faculty and students in each of the home departments of the prospective new Deaf employees on these issues.” 

Head shot of Mo Kappes

  • Mo Kappes, Adventure Learning Programs (ALPs) Advisor, Center for Leadership & Involvement (Leadership & Engagement)
    “Mo demonstrates an on-going commitment to advocating for social justice in many capacities within ALPs, CfLI, Student Affairs, across campus, and in the community.  She remains a vocal and unwavering advocate for staff holding marginalized identities and consistently engages in social justice work with students and colleagues.” 

Outstanding Student Affairs Partner Award

The final awards were for Outstanding Student Affairs Partners. This award is given to a person, department, unit, or division that has worked with Student Affairs and advances our mission through the service of various programs and initiatives.

  • DoIT Academic Technology (Advocacy)
  • Outdoor UW, Wisconsin Union (Health & Wellbeing)
  • Peter Kleppin, Producer/Project Manager, University Communications (Identity & Inclusion)
  • DoIT Project Management Office, DoIT Identity & Access Management, DoIT Enterprise Integration, and DoIT Risk Management, Compliance, and Engineering (Leadership & Engagement)

Congratulations to all recipients of the 2019-20 Student Affairs Awards! We appreciate all they and so many others do to make Health and Wellbeing, Identity and Inclusion, Leadership and Engagement, and Student Advocacy the focus of their work while serving our Badger community.  


DoIt Academic technology logo Outdoor UW logo

Head shot of Peter KleppinDoIT Division of Information Technology logo