The department of human resources created four new staff awards in 2021 to honor the hard work and dedication exhibited by exceptional employees in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. The inaugural award winners were announced at the college’s holiday part on Dec. 8. They include:
- 2021 Outstanding Education Staff Annual Award – Mary Beth Yokomi:
- Mary Beth Yokomi has been delivering outstanding service to our students and the college for over 15 years. While the office of student affairs has been understaffed, Mary Beth has developed ways to track the work better and streamline communications to ensure that the student experience is not affected. She has stepped up to fill the void of losing two team members by hosting advising meetings with pre-pharmacy students, both in-person and via Zoom; attended advising fairs and workshops when needed; and developing consistent messaging for replying to numerous inquiries that come in to the team. When the additional workload was addressed with Mary Beth, her simple reply is, “No worries! We are a team, and I would never let you carry the load by yourself.” She is instrumental to the student affairs team, and we congratulate her on winning the 2021 Outstanding Education Staff Annual Award.
- 2021 Outstanding Research Staff Annual Award – Wanyi Hu:
- Since joining the College in 2018, Wanyi Hu has become the go-to person in the Zhou/Zheng lab and has been described as the “most reliable team member.” She is a highly creative researcher and always motivated to find ways to increase productivity. She initiated the transformation of a compound purification process into an automated purification system now used by the entire lab. She requires minimal supervision and always completes work before expected timelines. During last six months, she contributed to generating the key data of two now accepted manuscripts (Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Nature Communications) by using the biochemical assays she just learned. Beyond that, she is teaching students in the lab to perform these assays. Wanyi has a team-first mentality which is very important in advancing our projects. Congratulations to Wanyi for this achievement and recognition!
- 2021 Outstanding Support Services / Administration Staff Annual Award – Daniel Morgan:
- Daniel Morgan has overseen the logistics of numerous changes in the college over the past year. Throughout the pandemic, Daniel was still regularly on campus making adjustments to workspaces so employees could work safely. He oversaw procuring and distributing masks, sanitizer and other pandemic related supplies for employees and workspaces. During this time, the college ended its lease at the East Campus Office Building, and as a result, Daniel has been coordinating move out efforts, relocating state vehicles, revising mail and courier needs, etc. In addition to pandemic related workload, Daniel has continued to lead the college’s fiscal team and oversee most logistics areas for the college (including renovations, equipment inventory, space allocations, etc.). Daniel has many behind the scenes responsibilities that help keep the college running smoothly. It is with great appreciation that we award Daniel Morgan the Outstanding Support Services and Administration Award!
- 2021 Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity Annual Award – LaZendra Danforth
- LaZendra Danforth has helped support DIHE efforts in the college by leading coordination efforts for multiple DIHE activities, including Black History Month, Diversity Week, Pride Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. Outside of her routine duties, she is consistently engaged as a member of the diversity and inclusion committee and regularly contributes her insight and guidance to help the committee achieve its goals. LaZendra regularly demonstrates her commitment to enhancing diversity, inclusion and health equity efforts through her interactions with the college community. Congratulations to LaZendra!
In addition, Candice Butler, an administrative assistant in the department of medicinal chemistry, was selected as the 2021 UF College of Pharmacy Annual Employee Excellence Award winner. She was recognized for being a great asset in supporting the approximately 85 people in the department and remaining calm, confident and positive in any situation. Her reach and impact go beyond the department, and she regularly helps out others in the college. For example, she has worked closely with other department admins and assisted in training new hires. She also assisted when volunteers were needed to support the college’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Her chair characterizes her approach as, “striving for excellence with a smile.”