Outstanding Service Award

Photo of Tris Ottolino

Tris Ottolino

Allan R. Vest is not Alex Trebek, but the director of NIU's Program for Hearing Impaired in the Department of Communicative Disorders offers this answer: Tris Ottolino.

“When I need someone to say late to help proof read, type and compile a grant, contract or report, who volunteers to stay?” Vest asks, referring to Ottolino, a PHI teacher for the last 17 years. “If a staff member needs an emergency babysitter at 2:00 in the morning, who receives the call and comes immediately? If you need a ride because your car is in the shop, who will give you a ride to and from work?”

Ottolino's work in PHI challenges and encourages students who are deaf and hard of hearing in their studies and nurtures them in their personal lives as they transition from high school into the university and public life. Meanwhile, the adjunct instructor in the departments of Literacy Education and Education Technology, Research and Assessment, was the driving force in bringing technology to PHI classrooms.

To her colleagues, she is known for her long hours that include weekends and holidays. “If Tris held to the 37.5 hours,” Vest said, “she would be finished working for the week by the time Wednesday rolled around.”

Ottolino is involved with the board of the Illinois Teachers of Hard-of-Hearing/Deaf Individuals (where she has served as president), the board of the Children's Learning Center and the Conference Planning Committee for the 2005 International Visual Literacy Conference.