Three USF College of Public Health staff members, Alana Falcone, Carlos Montoya, and Andres Abril, were recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Staff Awards. Their achievements were celebrated at a ceremony in the USF School of Music Concert Hall held in March.
Each year USF selects staff and administration employees who demonstrate a commitment to the pursuit of excellence and is hosted by President Judy Genshaft.
Three of this year’s 69 honorees were COPH staff members.
“I am extremely honored to have received this award, especially knowing that it was my coworkers who nominated me,” said awardee Alana Falcone, who was working as an academic program specialist in the COPH’s Undergraduate Studies office at the time of nomination.
“This award is reassurance that I am making a positive impact on the COPH and is motivation to continue to strive and meet my future goals and accomplish upcoming tasks within the college. I absolutely love the environment that I work in!” she said. “I feel the College of Public Health has such a collaborative and impressive team that it makes working truly enjoyable for me. Everyone is extremely helpful and I appreciate getting to work with so many people in all different departments throughout the college.”
Falcone joined the COPH in 2014 as a temporary employee, eventually becoming a staff member in 2015. She now works as an administrative specialist to coordinate COPH special events and provides administrative coordination for college wide projects.
“I enjoy being able to use my creativity and imagination in what I do on a daily basis. I love envisioning something and seeing it come to life!” she said.
Annette Strzelecki, assistant director of academic advising for the COPH, is one of four colleagues who nominated Falcone.
“Alana understands that all the work done is ultimately to help the students and better the university. She embraces supporting our community through recruitment, student engagement, and assisting our instructors,” Strzelecki said.
Falcone was also nominated by Dr. Kay Perrin, associate dean of academic and student affairs.
“Alana’s contributions impact USF by her wonderful customer service and welcoming smile.
She is known to give maps to anyone (students, families, staff) and get up from her desk and walk outside to give specific directions to parking lots and buildings,” Perrin said. “Customer service goes a long way in recruiting and retaining students.”
Carlos Montoya, instructional multimedia developer in the COPH’s Office of Educational Technology and Assessment (ETA), said that when he’s at work he feels like he’s at home with family.
He joined the COPH in 2014 and works to develop online courses with multimedia components, ensuring they are aligned with research-based best practices for education. He provides pedagogical strategies to faculty teaching online and on-campus and is a classroom technology consultant, creating e-learning courses with cutting-edge multimedia technology.
“I get to enhance the learning experiences for students and meet their learning needs, while trying to reduce faculty’s workload. I also enjoy the challenges and that I can utilize my creativity and expertise to find solution to those challenges,” he said.
Montoya’s ETA colleague, Andres Abril, was also a recipient of this year’s award.
Abril joined the COPH in 2012 and he assists faculty with designing and developing distance learning courses, while collaborating with on-campus organizations to explore and design new innovated approaches to web-based learning.
“To be the recipient of this award is not only an unbelievable experience but also a great honor and privilege,” Abril said. “I get to work with an amazing group of instructional designers, faculty and leadership. As colleagues, we collaboratively transform and enhance our courses to provide the highest classroom and online quality education to our students.”
Dr. Jaime Corvin, assistant professor of global health, nominated Montoya and Abril.
She said they both played a vital role in guiding the transformed MPH core curriculum at the COPH.
“They transformed traditional lectures into interactive and dynamic presentations that fostered improved educational quality and outcomes both online and in-class,” Corvin said. “In the process, they changed how many faculty look at technology in the classroom – from clickers to online integration.”
She said both Montoya and Abril embody the mission of USF’s focus to provide high quality education.
“They allowed us to rethink class time and enhance the quality of online education. We are better educators and our students are better served because of them,” she said. “With the innovation of Carlos and Andres, I no longer question the value of online learning. Through their leadership, we envisioned what we do online and developed interactions that mirror the in-class environment. Their courses are richer, more interactive and of the highest quality I have ever seen.”
Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health