A Huskie You Should Know: Spotlight on Operating Staff

A Huskie you should know: Spotlight on operating staff
Featured civil service employee: Theresa LaRocco

LaRocco's excellent student service helps student retention

Theresa LaRocco

Theresa LaRocco, Records Supervisor for the Graduate School, gives excellent student service on a personal level, which helps student retention, and through an instructional video that she recently created.  

She developed a video with Dr. Elizabeth Wilkins, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education and Co-Coordinator of the Graduate Career and Professional Development Center in the Graduate School, entitled “Preparing to Graduate: Critical Information You Need to Know.” 

LaRocco shared with Wilkins the fact that students were asking a considerable amount of questions through voicemail and email. Wilkins suggested that she use PowerPoint technology to create an online video that would clarify the graduation deadline system for the students using multi-platform technology to reach students by computer, tablet or telephone.

 “She brainstormed, wrote the script and put forth the idea from a student perspective. Enhancement of communication is so good for students because it makes the pathway for graduation much more understandable and streamlined for them,” said Wilkins.  More


Featured civil service employee: David Pevonka

Pevonka–building services worker, NIU starting pitcher and trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange

David PevonkaDave Pevonka, a building services worker at the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center (BAVC), has an interesting story to tell about his past. Some NIU faculty and staff may remember him from when he was an NIU student; he was a starting pitcher and a corporate fitness major from 1980-1983. He spent 17 years as a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange prior to working at NIU.

A Huskie baseball player from 1980-1983, he is one of the elite group of Huskie baseball players who is an all-time

letterwinner for his pitching skills in 1981. The corporate fitness student didn’t graduate because he was offered an opportunity at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

“The photo is a time snapshot of one of my favorite moments at the CME during my 17-year career. Not only did I get to shake President Bush's hand twice, but I also received an autograph and according to the secret service agent he rarely gave autographs.”  More


Featured civil service employee: Colleen Leonard

 Alumni story is Leonard's success story

Colleen LeonardColleen Leonard engages with NIU alumni through writing for social media, the website, bimonthly enewsletter and Northern Now. As a publicity promotion specialist for the Office of Alumni Relations, she also markets events and arranges mascot appearances for Mission.

“Colleen’s effort and work ethic changed the way we communicate from the Office of Alumni Relations,” said David Haas, director of operations for the NIU Alumni Association.

Leonard said, “I am a perfectionist at heart and am driven to do a thorough job. Sharing alumni successes is a way to educate Huskies, whether it’s allowing them to see job opportunities or give back to their communities.”    

Haas said, “The attention to each of our social media channels has more than doubled since she joined the team."  MORE


Featured civil service employee: Ashleen Woods

Woods shares method of doing more with less

Ashleen Woods

Ashleen Woods, Office Support Specialist to the Chair of Nursing, is a master of doing more with less. She tells about techniques in multi-tasking and customer service, and she shares a success story that affects many civil service staff.

“Although primarily I am supposed to support the chair, I do a little of everything (as all secretaries here do). There’s always something new popping up,” Woods said.

Some of her duties include assisting students with paperwork, scheduling appointments, assisting faculty and instructors with various questions and requests and coordinating events. MORE


Featured civil service employees: Merci and Tom Sawyer

Sawyers beautify the castle and remove the occasional unwanted guest

The Sawyers

Merci and Tom Sawyer are building service workers whose designated area is Altgeld Hall. They are married and work two different shifts; T. Sawyer works from 4:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and M. Sawyer works from 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. This works well for them beause they each work their preferred shift.

Altgeld staff say, “She takes care of Altgeld Hall like it’s her own home and knows the importance of the look of it on the inside and outside, especially to visitors to campus.” 

M. Sawyer takes care of the second floor which includes the Division of Finance and Facilities, the Provost office, Student Affairs, five conference rooms, five stairways, bathrooms and the auditorium.  MORE


Featured civil service employee: Ashleigh Sorenson

Sorenson helps NIU students achieve success

Ashleigh SorensonAshleigh Sorenson partners with students to develop individual action plans which address their questions, concerns and challenges and connects them to relevant campus resources. As a Student Success Specialist in the Office of Student Academic Success (OSAS), she also assists students with issues such as time management, study skills, organization and getting involved.

Educational Program Evaluation Coordinator for OSAS Brian Berchtold said, “She is very focused and driven, and I greatly admire her dedication towards helping students.” MORE


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Send us an email with who you want to nominate and why, or complete the nomination form and send it to Pam Roesner at Human Resource Services. We'll post feature stories on them here.