UCLA Staff Assembly celebrated important staff contributions that support the betterment of UCLA and reinforce a commitment to professional development and growth at an awards ceremony and reception held June 27 at the J.D. Morgan Center.

“This annual campus event, which has become a UCLA Staff Assembly tradition, is even more special this year because we are honoring our award winners and centennial scholars as part of the UCLA Centennial Celebration,” said Kevin Baldwin, Staff Assembly president.

Sandra Arreguin, a college academic counselor for the UCLA Academic Advancement Program was named this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Excellence in Service Award. The $4,000 award, presented by Lubbe Levin, associate vice chancellor of human campus resources, and Carol Block, recognizes, encourages and reinforces the performance of staff members who have greatly contributed to UCLA’s ongoing mission.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues and friends for making this space such a wonderful place to work in,” said Arreguin, who has worked at UCLA for 18 years. “I love my job, I love working with the peer counsellors, I love working with our students — seeing them grow, seeing them change, seeing them take off has been my driving force.”

The Faculty/Staff Partnership Award was presented to Yue Ming Huang, an associate adjunct professor in the anesthesiology department and education director at the simulation center in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The award, presented by Michael Maranze, a professor of history department and vice chair of the academic senate, recognizes faculty who exemplify the values of collaboration and collegiality with staff.

“I feel especially honored and privileged because I’m on both sides,” said Huang of her role as both a faculty member and a staff member.

“I know sometimes there is misunderstanding or an unknown about ‘them’ and ‘us’ as staff and faculty, but I just want to say everyone on both sides is working very hard and everybody wants the best for our learners and trainees and our patients in the hospital,” the two-time UCLA alumna said.

Kyle McJunkin, strategic projects director for the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, received the inaugural Kevin McCauley Memorial Outstanding Staff Award, established by the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies to recognize staff members throughout UC who are supportive and inclusive of UC staff; encourage equity, diversity, and community/collaboration; are forward thinking; and do not compromise quality.

“Kevin was known for his inclusiveness, accessibility, a collaborative nature, approachability and as a skilled negotiator and problem-solver for students and staff,” said Kevin Smith, chief administrative officer in the UCLA chancellor’s office, of McCauley, who served as deputy chief of staff at the UC Office of the President prior to his death in 2013.

McJunkin said he was honored to be a recipient of this award and took a moment to acknowledged McCauley’s legacy. “It’s a humbling honor to be associated with someone who had such an impactful life here at the university.”

McJunkin also reflected on his own time at UCLA, which began in 1994 when he was an undergraduate student.

“I’ve been fortunate to see this campus grow into such an amazing institution,” he said. “I firmly do believe that it’s the result of the staff investment because the staff that I knew as an undergrad are still here and they’re still working hard and they’re still making this campus adhere to its public mission. I really believe that our staff are not just the backbone, but also the lifeblood of the university.”

Baldwin also announced that thanks to a gift from the University Credit Union, the UCLA Staff Assembly would be awarding a total of 100 Staff Centennial Scholarships over the course of UCLA’s 100th year. Fifty were announced at the event, while another 50 will be announced in June 2020. The scholarships of up to $500 each support professional training and career development, during the campus’s centennial year. In addition, the Office of the Chancellor provided a 50% match to the University Credit Union gift, further enhancing the university’s investment in its staff, Baldwin said. Staff Assembly has invested these funds to create the Staff Assembly Financial Endowment Scholarship Fund.

“Above and beyond all Staff Assembly’s fundraising efforts, this endowment will guarantee that we can continue to invest in [staff] into the next 100 years here at UCLA,” Baldwin said.

In addition, the UCLA Retirees Association, which also announced the creation of an endowed fund to support its staff scholarship program, recognized recipients of its 2019 awards. They are: Eileen Garcia, a clinical specialist at the Venice Family Clinic’s Common Ground program; Fanny Hoang, an administrative analyst at UCLA’s Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior; Jessica Bishop, an administrative specialist in the division of thoracic surgery; and Teresa Valenzuela, director of social media for alumni affairs.

The Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA also awarded scholarships for education and training that supports the health and wellness of the UCLA community. This year’s recipients are Adam Garner, assistant strength and conditioning coach for intercollegiate athletics; Kayla Kilani, an assistant nurse manager in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center emergency department; Kristina Thorson, assistant to the assistant vice chancellor of research in the research policy and compliance office; and Scott Gruber, a web designer and developer at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Applications for the 2020 Staff Scholarships and Awards will be accepted in Spring 2020.