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Stanford Engineering announces annual staff award winners

Six individuals across the school were honored for their valuable service and contributions
Group photo of five Stanford Engineering staff award recipients
Congratulations to the 2022 Stanford Engineering staff award recipients. Not pictured in this group photo is Owen Modeste. | Photo by Rod Searcey

The School of Engineering is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 School of Engineering staff service awards. These awards recognize the exceptional commitment and dedication of our staff, who were nominated by faculty and staff throughout the school.

Amy Kao, Financial Manager, Management Science & Engineering, Citizenship Award

The Citizenship Award is given to an individual who does the right thing even when they think no one is looking, earning the trust and respect of their colleagues for being a good steward who takes initiative. 

Amy’s nominators cited her “quick responsiveness” to questions and her dedication to “doing things right the first time.” She educates her team with useful information on policies and deadlines, and she goes the extra mile to track down necessary details so her colleagues don’t have to. Amy’s “patient and caring attitude” helped to expedite staffing needs, and her “quiet and happy-to-help-you attitude” makes all the difference for everyone around her.

Aria Rashidi Abad, Instructional Labs Manager, Electrical Engineering, Innovation Award

The Innovation Award recognizes contributions in support of improvements in customer service, efficiency, or operational effectiveness. 

After navigating the pandemic years “with creativity and perseverance,” Aria managed students’ return to in-person instruction, along with many details of a building remodel, while creating “innovative solutions to keep classes running uninterrupted.” Aria facilitated the use of a new instructional computer cluster and prevented downtime and thousands of wasted dollars by personally repairing a piece of essential equipment. His new main teaching lab is “a model of efficiency and productivity.” Aria is “an absolute pleasure to work with,” making tough tasks easier and new perspectives possible through teamwork and perseverance.

Gosia Wojciechowska, Center for Design Research (CDR) Administrator, Mechanical Engineering, Client Service Award

The Client Service Award recognizes exemplary customer service, collaboration, and interdisciplinary contributions

Gosia “handles a variety of student, postdoc, and faculty administrative issues with grace and empathy.” Her nominators describe her as “incredibly trustworthy, reliable, and proactive” and “always on top of the rules” as she helps those around her navigate complicated policies to realize their creative ideas. She is “gracious, patient, and kind” and “grasps the big picture as well as the small details” to make people feel supported and understood. Her positive attitude about work extends to life in general. Gosia “is a delight to work with” and “makes CDR and Stanford at large a better and more human place!”

Owen Modeste, Senior Creative Producer, Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD), Diversity & Inclusion Award

The Diversity & Inclusion Award recognizes exceptional work toward promoting a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment, which may include efforts in supporting initiatives involving faculty, staff, students, postdocs, and/or the broader Stanford community

Owen is “an exceptional leader who truly exemplifies the qualities of diversity and inclusion.” He is recognized for his “outstanding efforts in the SCPD REAL [Race, Equity, Accountability, and Leadership] IMPACT Initiative.” He is “absolutely dedicated to making manifest progress in the diversity of our staff, including diversity of ideas and perspectives, and diversity of life and professional experience, making SCPD one of the healthiest, most enjoyable places” to work. Owen has been a role model for others to follow, “consistently reminding us to keep DEI at the top of our priorities list.”

Robert Prakash, Managing Director & Chief Technology Officer, Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD), Leadership Award

The Leadership Award recognizes mentoring and management contributions that promote a supportive and respectful work environment by an individual who advocates for growth and opportunities, motivates, and leads impactful change

Robert’s nominators said he “radiates integrity, courage, respect, empathy, gratitude, and self-awareness.” As a leader, he is “open to change and growth and puts in the time and effort toward self-improvement.” He “recognizes the value of mentoring” and “constantly advocates for growth and opportunities for his team members, from senior leadership to admins.” Fostering “a positive and productive work culture,” Robert “strives to create an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best.” He is “an amazing leader” who inspires his team and makes them happy to be a part of the SCPD and School of Engineering.

Lisa Boesch, Human Resources Director, Dean’s Office Human Resources, Shah Award 

The school’s highest staff honor, The Shah Award is given each year to a staff member who exhibits outstanding competence, dedication, and accomplishment. 

Lisa’s colleagues recognize her as “an incredible motivator” and a “huge advocate of change and innovation.” She is “always open for suggestions” with the goal of “providing the best customer service possible with efficient and clear processes.” Lisa “goes out of her way to make sure the people she interacts with know just how much they are appreciated.” She has also “worked diligently and persistently to center DEIB as an SoE core value, and demonstrates it daily in her own behavior, expectations of her team, counsel, hiring, and actions.” In complex and sensitive situations, Lisa’s “calm, friendly, matter-of-fact handling” establishes her as “a gracious partner in every way and a model of what an HR director should be.”