Penny Ames, admissions and records coordinator, has been selected as the winner of the 2023 Graduate College Excellence Award for Graduate Contacts. The award is given annually as part of the Graduate College's Annual Workshop for Directors of Graduate Study and Graduate Contacts. It recognizes staff members whose service has exceeded expectations in enhancing graduate students' experiences and has positively impacted their graduate program or department's operations.
Ames serves three primary functions at the School—records manager, admissions support, and administrative support. She is involved in the entire life cycle of iSchool students from prospective to degree completion.
"Since joining the School of Information Sciences, Ms. Ames has remained dedicated to serving prospective and current students," said nominator Linda C. Smith, professor emerita and interim executive associate dean. "Her strong communication skills, collaborative spirit, attention to detail, caring nature, and extensive knowledge of departmental and University-level policies have been a tremendous asset to the iSchool."
Graduate enrollment in the iSchool has grown exponentially in the past five years, and Ames has implemented new systems to support admissions and records operations. Her team keeps track of the needs of students in five different graduate degree programs, ensuring the same level of responsiveness whether the students are pursuing their degrees on campus or online. In 2022, Ames was one of eight recipients of the Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award. In this podcast, she discusses her work and commitment to providing students with "the best experience possible."
"In each interaction I've shared with her, Ms. Ames has consistently demonstrated an exceptional level of dedication, knowledge, and commitment to excellence," said PhD student William Langston. "She stands as a pivotal first point of contact with the University, and dutifully contributes to the high marks of success for the School of Information Sciences."