This award recognizes a career of service to the University of Arizona and the community by someone who loves the UA and acts in the spirit of Billy Joe Varney.

Heather Enos

Heather Enos, Deputy Principal Investigator for the UA-led OSIRIS-REx Mission

Heather manages the science operations portion of the mission, which will collect a sample from an asteroid. Enos is being recognized for her service to UA employees, her attention to diversity, and her community outreach efforts. Enos followed an untraditional career path, starting in the student financial aid office before moving up the ranks and finding herself involved in several UA-led NASA missions, beginning with the Mars Odyssey mission in 2001. Her willingness to give back to the community and to lend a hand to team members in need were also mentioned. The UA will take center stage worldwide this fall as we encounter asteroid Bennu, in large part because of her efforts and dedication.



Individual Awards are presented to approximately 9 members of the Classified and University Staff, regardless of their length of service, classification or pay grade. These awards are designed to recognize outstanding achievements.

Rachel Barton

Rachel Barton, Executive Assistant, College of Education Dean's Office

Rachel's ability to equally support the college's students, faculty and staff, her knowledge of college policies and procedures, and her ability to adapt to changes across five deanships. Ms. Barton exemplifies the highest levels of achievement, service, creativity, and commitment to the College of Education and the University of Arizona.



Samantha Biffar, Assistant Manager of the Equine Center, School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Samantha was recognized for her dedication to the center. She  has been known to use her days off to care for sick horses. She also goes out of her way to help students, and is always willing to pick up the slack to help her colleagues. Sam is the first to offer up and support ideas and initiatives that maximize new and existing opportunities. She looks for additional avenues of expansion that will benefit the students who come to the UA to make their dream of an equine career a reality.


Christine Carlson

Christine Carlson, Assistant Director of Nutrition, Arizona Student Unions

Christine brings an entrepreneurial mindset to her job to implement programs that innovate nutritional well-being. Carlson "changed the game" for the unions when she was hired several years ago as the unit's first nutritionist and dietitian. She jumped into the job full throttle and began implementing processes and procedures that have been instrumental in changing the way we do healthy business.


Tim Corley

Tim Corley, Director of Analytical Facilities and Research Support, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences

Tim planned and led the move to and renovation of space in the John W. Harshbarger Building when the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources merged in 2016. In leading the move Mr. Corley performed extra duties substantially beyond those normally assigned while performing his regular duties. He did so while earning the respect of all his colleagues, and the dean.


Jennifer Cubeta

Jennifer Cubeta, Program Director, Undergraduate Biology Research Program

Jennifer is being recognized for her work writing and administering grants, organizing events, managing the application and admissions process, and mentoring students. Cubeta's focus on student needs takes this program to a higher level. All of these facets are undertaken with the highest level of excellence. She is rigorous, timely, creative, and no detail escapes her notice.


Harmony DeFazio

Harmony DeFazio, Executive Director, Global Mobility Lab and Director of UA Study Abroad, Office of Global Initiatives

Heather has expanded the options of study abroad programs for students, has inspired collaboration within and beyond the UA campus, and has paid great attention to the needs of her employees while embedding diversity and inclusion into functions of the programs. One cannot encounter Harmony without noticing her warmth and compassion. She has an inventive spirit that guides the way she manages her unit and how she interacts with the entire University community.


Cassandra Hirdes

Cassandra Hirdes, Associate Director, THINK TANK

Cassandra is being recognized for promoting learning and academic support on campus through her oversight of several programs, particularly Schedule for Success, or S4S, which provides tutoring for students who haven't tested into college algebra. Under Hirdes' leadership, student participants have said they were surprised the program was free, and others said they would recommend it to all incoming freshmen. Her team makes a difference in the lives of students every single day. It is under her guidance and leadership that THINK TANK has been instrumental in the academic development and success of thousands of UA students.


Nancy Rodriguez-Lorta

Nancy Rodriguez-Lorta, Senior Director of Academic Advising and Student Services, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Nancy coordinates advising staff across all 17 of the college's majors. She is being recognized for her focus on student success, particularly for first-generation college students, as well as for her commitment to workplace diversity and her generosity toward her colleagues, according to her nominators. She has been "instrumental" in prioritizing student retention and time to graduation. Nancy is an exceptional employee, colleague, leader, supervisor and advocate for student success here in the college and campuswide.


Ryan Ruboyianes

Ryan Ruboyianes, Director of introductory biology labs in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Ryan oversees the department's hands-on introductory lab course with more than 60 sections of 24 students each. Ruboyianes is being recognized for his work redesigning the course, and his community outreach.  Nominators pointed to his work providing STEM talks to students at Flowing Wells High School, and his commitment to ensuring labs run smoothly for teaching assistants and students. He took a course that was broken and made it work, and not just work sufficiently, but work fantastically.


Patti van Leer, Program Coordinator, School of Architecture

Patti supports 57 faculty members and 350 students. Van Leer, according to her nominators, works hard to recognize accomplishments by faculty, students and architecture programs, manages events for the school, and takes on tasks so others don't have to. She also manages the school's learning assessment program for the Office of Instruction and Assessment, coordinates school outreach and designs promotional materials. In addition to regular duties, Ms. van Leer picks up any and every thing I am able to off-load – and does so cheerfully. Faculty visiting from other schools of architecture say we don't know how good we have it. Actually, we do.


The team award is presented to a team primarily comprised of Classified University Staff and tasked with a specific project or function.

Dean of Students Office Behavioral Intervention Team

The Behavioral Intervention Team, coordinated by the Dean of Students Office, coordinate the University's response to student behavior that may require intervention to ensure student safety. Members come from the Disability Resource Center, Counseling and Psych Services, University of Arizona Police Department, and Housing and Residential Life. It also includes ad hoc members from several campus organizations. The team meets weekly to evaluate up to a dozen cases. Due to the nature of BIT's work, it is hidden from view and does not draw public acclaim. But it is a crucial component in the retention, graduation and well-being of University of Arizona students. Their work on behalf of high-risk students is nothing short of exceptional and highly deserving of recognition.

College of Public Health's Academic Advisors:

Melanie Fleck, Grace Patterson, Maggie Ramirez, Stephanie Springer, 
Abba Versace​​​​​r

Mel and Enid Zuckerman COPH Academic Advising Team


School of Government and Public Policy Academic Advising Team

The academic advising team in the School of Government and Public Policy is a team of six advisers who provide daily support for more than 2,500 students. In addition to maintaining at least 20 hours of one-on-one advising time with students, the team also coordinates the school's annual Outstanding Scholars Breakfast, maintains "safe zone" status for the LGBTQ student community, and manages a weekly newsletter for the school's students.


Second row:

Brad Butler, Instructional Technologist, Digital Learning
Elizabeth Nguyen, Lead Instructional Technologist, Digital Learning


The Department Award recognizes a University of Arizona department for excellence in the management of its people and resources creating a culture of learning and a satisfying work environment.

Eller Undergraduate Programs

The Undergraduate Programs office in the Eller College of Management creates programs for the college that improve its curriculum, community, career opportunities for students, diversity and other areas. The office is being recognized for its teamwork, innovative ideas, and engagement with students, faculty, alumni and community partners, as well as for recognizing its employees' contributions. Nominators pointed to student feedback showing that about 97 percent of graduating student respondents felt that they accomplished the goals they had set when they entered the college. The department has frequently served as the model for others in the college.

Congratulations to These Dedicated Employees!