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Staff and student honoured at 2016 Arts & Science Outstanding Achievement Awards

Four staff members from across the Faculty of Arts & Science are this year’s recipients of Outstanding Staff Awards. Established in 1999, the awards recognize employees who have achieved excellence in support of the Faculty’s mission of teaching and research. They — along with the Dean’s Student Leadership Award winner, Adlai Salcedo — were honoured at an award ceremony on April 14th.

Silvia Cocolo, Woodsworth College — Student Life Award

Photo of: Siilvia CocoloWhen she was a newly graduated U of T student Silvia Cocolo took what she thought would be a ‘temporary’ job at Woodsworth College. Twenty-six years — and several positions — later, Woodsworth is fortunate to have Cocolo serve as the undergraduate program coordinator for the criminology, employment relations and the certificate in human resource management programs. She is the friendly face in the program office that helps students know they matter. She also helped create and expand events such as the “Let’s Talk” series on academic and career topics, as well as the Backpack to Briefcase program. Because she is so connected to the needs and desires of students, Cocolo’s advice on everything from services to course offerings has been invaluable.

Grace Desa, Medieval Studies — Distinguished Service Award

Photo of: Grace DesaGrace Desa has served as graduate administrator at the Centre for Medieval Studies for 29 years. Desa has worked with eight different directors and each one credits her with supreme competence. All who work with her appreciate her vivacity, joie de vivre and teasing sense of humour. In the words of one colleague: “Grace is the ever-present, ever-helpful, and always cordial human face of the Centre for Medieval Studies. The unit is famous for its outstanding Latin and palaeography programs but it is also famous for its Grace.”

Jessica Finlayson, Geography & Planning —Administrative Service Award

Photo of: Jessica FinlaysonJessica Finlayson joined the Department of Geography & Planning in November 2009 as graduate student advisor. Since that time she has made continuous efforts to improve the effectiveness of graduate administration in ways that benefit not only students, but administrators and staff as well. Other units have also noticed Finlayson’s administrative acumen. In fact she’s currently on secondment with the School of Graduate Studies, and has worked in the Dean’s Office from time to time to deal with graduate administrative matters.

Lloyd Smith, Computer Science — Technical Service Award

Photo of: Lloyd SmithLloyd Smith is a systems administrator in the Department of Computer Science. But that’s a bit of a misnomer — he’s actually a “systems improver.” Thanks to his innovative and creative solutions, the department has seen improvements in both efficiency and cost. As just one example: Smith is vital in supporting “Gradapps,” the department’s online system used to select the very best applicants possible. The software is finicky — what software isn’t? — but thanks to his speedy troubleshooting and fix-it skills, you’d never know it. Smith is also valued as a mentor to other administrative staff and is highly respected not only in computer science, but across the university.

Adlai Salcedo — Dean’s Student Leadership Award

APhoto of: Adlai Salcedo fourth-year University College student studying International Relations and Economics, Salcedo is involved in many initiatives such as UC’s International Students Committee, the U of T Translator’s Union and the Backpack to Briefcase program. He is also a passionate volunteer for the Beautiful World Foundation and War Child Canada — organizations committed to helping educate and protect children in the developing world and war zones. In his work with Model UN organizations, including the UN Association in Canada, Salcedo is currently helping to promote opportunities in model assemblies as a means of developing global citizens.