USM Board of Regents Announces Winners of Annual Staff Awards

Recipients to be Acknowledged During Sept. 18 (Zoom) Meeting of Board

Baltimore, Md. (August 3, 2020)—The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents is honoring nine members of its staff at institutions across the system as recipients of the 2020 USM Regents’ Staff Awards.

The awards are the highest honor presented by the board to exemplary staff members. The awards honor excellence in the following categories: Contribution to the Institution; Service to Students in an Academic or Residential Environment; Effectiveness and Efficiency; Public Service to the University or the Greater Community; and Inclusion, Multiculturalism, & Social Justice.

Institutional staff nominating committees make recommendations to the institutional presidents, who review nominations and supporting material and forward recommendations to USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. The Regents Staff Review Committee makes the final recommendations.

Each award carries a $2,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation. Chancellor Perman and Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden will offer notice of the awards at the scheduled meeting (via Zoom) of the full board on Sept. 18, the board’s first regularly scheduled meeting of the 2020-21 academic year. 

“During this unprecedented time, we look forward to honoring these nine winners of the annual Board of Regents Staff Awards,” board chair Linda Gooden said. “We await the day that we can safely gather in person and have a more personal celebration, but we are pleased to honor these special individuals early in the academic year.”

Said Chancellor Perman, “I know we’re recognizing our award recipients for their work over a number of years, but the 2020 awards just feel different, because they remind us how essential our staff are to a high-quality student experience, to a well-functioning institution, to a mission that endures no matter what our circumstances. COVID has forced all of us to reexamine and innovate how we do our jobs, how we maintain excellence despite difficulties none of us saw coming. This excellence proves the dedication of our staff—their commitment to their jobs, to their purpose, and to those they serve. This year’s honorees embody that dedication, and I can’t wait to celebrate them in September.”


Exempt Staff
C. Monica Gellene, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)
As Associate Director for Administration & Development at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), Monica Gellene’s contributions have been felt throughout IMET and UMCES.  She launched a sustainability initiative that has helped IMET eliminate 90 percent of plastic consumption and moved the institute towards being an almost “paperless” office.  To improve the efficiency of several business processes, she moved purchasing and travel online, while automating online reconciliation and routing processes. She improved donor relations, securing funds and awards for several key projects.  In addition, she serves as a liaison between IMET’s partner institutions—including University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)—and UMCES labs. 

Non-Exempt Staff
Debra Phillips, Center for STEM Excellence, Towson University (TU)
Debra (Debbie) Phillips is an extremely efficient, productive, and valued member of the Towson University Center for STEM Excellence team.  Thanks to her efforts to increase efficiency and productivity, the Center has expanded the number of lab kits it provides as part of its outreach programs to Maryland’s K-12 schools to support science education.  The Center provides materials to more than 16,000 students.  Debbie also serves as a mentor to student interns not only from TU but also from the Biotechnical Institute of Maryland (a non-profit biotechnology job training program) through the Center. 


Exempt Staff
Judith Edelman, Department Administrator, Anatomy & Neurobiology–School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)
During her 25 years of service with the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Ms. Edelman has saved the department—and UMB—more than $1.5 Million. She has had a hand in a number of projects to achieve these savings: moving the non-capital asset inventory to an electronic tracking model (saving a minimum of $225,000 annually); creating and implementing a robust and innovative electronic grant management program to reduce personnel costs and increase efficiency of grant submissions; and developing an electronic resource management tool to show financial commitment across the department. While serving as an invaluable source of institutional knowledge, Ms. Edelman stays focused on continuous improvement.


Exempt Staff
Mary Beth Gallico, Department of Psychiatry–School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)
Ms. Gallico has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to improving the culture of civility and inclusiveness at UMB. As a member of the Staff Senate, she has worked with representatives from the Diversity Advisory Council, Faculty Senate, and Human Resources divisions.  This work led to a Climate and Engagement Gallop Survey to the campus community which shined a light on barriers to inclusion for women, members of the LGBTQ community, employees dealing with parenting/family crises, and individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups.  She now serves as an “Engagement Champion” to work with managers to help them engage, develop, and retain staff while increasing connectedness and job satisfaction across campus.

Non-Exempt Staff
Mishawn Smith, Office of the Dean, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)
Outside of her role as an Executive Administrative Assistant at the School of Nursing, Ms. Smith is passionate about making the UMB community a better, safer, and more inclusive place for people to work. She is currently a member of the Baltimore City Office of the Mayor LGBTQ Commission. She volunteers in her local community 2-to-3 days each week, helps the children of ex-offenders with holiday and back to school assistance, assists individuals overcoming substance abuse, and dedicates the proceeds of her small business to programming that provides re-entry assistance to ex-offenders.  Ms. Smith is an integral asset to UMB’s School of Nursing and the greater campus community.


Exempt Staff
Amy Griffin, Graduate Program Office, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s (UMCES) Amy Griffin began her career at UMCES as an Assistant to the Vice President for Education, with matters related to graduate education as a key focus. In taking on this responsibility, she made working with students a top priority in her role from the beginning. With her drive, commitment, and “open door” policy, she became the unofficial student services officer and an advocate for all students, across all six diverse sites that make up UMCES. Her efforts—such as helping students create a Mental Health Committee on campus—underscore the transformative impact she has had on students.

Non-Exempt Staff
Megan Baker, Public Relations Specialist
Salisbury University (SU)
In her role within the Public Relations Office, Megan is responsible for overseeing practicum and intern students.  Having served in that capacity herself as a student, she has elevated and transformed those duties.  She coaches up to 5 students each year and serves as a mentor to any student interested in a career in public relations.  Additionally, Megan has directly touched the lives of hundreds of SU community members as a staff advisor to multiple student organizations, working especially closely with many last year who were impacted by events off campus.


Exempt Staff 
Antwaine Smith, Senior Assistant Athletic Director for the Total Tiger Program, Towson University (TU)
Antwaine’s commitment to weaving service into the student athlete experience has grown significantly. TU student-athletes now complete 10,000 hours of service annually.  Perhaps more importantly, this focus on service is now a core function of the Athletic Department at TU, with student- athletes embracing service as something they truly enjoy. Additionally, Antwaine focuses on social justice issues on a national level through educational programs around diversity and inclusion, organizational leadership, and gender violence prevention. As a native of Baltimore, Antwaine is helping student-athletes at TU become service leaders who will continue to have a huge impact on Maryland and beyond. 

Non-Exempt Staff
Claire Williams, Department of Secondary and Physical Education & Education Leadership
Salisbury University
While exceptional in her capacity as a Program Management Specialist, it is Claire’s commitment to service and the local community that sets her apart.  She volunteers with the Hope and Life Outreach program in Salisbury to serve meals to the homeless, with “Surfers Healing” in Ocean City to enhance the lives of people with autism, with Operation We Care to support military personnel and first responders, and with SU’s annual Sea Gull Century—a 100-mile bicycle tour of the Eastern Shore that provides funding for scholarships and community organizations, among other initiatives.  As she engages in these volunteer experiences herself, she also encourages participation from the Salisbury community and the campus.

Contact: Paul Stackpole
Phone: 410.576.5750