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HACE Presents Staff Member, Rookie Staff Member of the Year Awards

The Hourly and Classified Employees Association (HACE) presented Staff Member and Rookie Staff Member of the Year awards during its annual luncheon on May 14.

Deanna M. Kroner, assistant site director for NSASP Dahlgren (Naval Support Activity, South Potomac) in Dahlgren, Va., won the Staff Member award, while Cary J. Oakley, instructional support manager for the physics department, won the Rookie award.

Kroner, a five-year ODU employee, was nominated by Emily Robertson, the university site director for NSASP Dahlgren and MCB Quantico.

"ODU at Dahlgren is virtually a 'stand alone' site. We only have ourselves on which to rely," Robertson said. "We cannot run down the hall to ask for technical support from community college personnel, for example. Our students do not have access to a community computer lab. If something breaks, we have to fix it or call the main campus. Deanna Kroner is the 'go to' person for all these pesky issues. And she is good at it!"

Robertson noted that Kroner's positive attitude, competence and caring nature combine to make her the ideal employee.

"On many occasions, Deanna has personally delivered tapes and DVDs to students who were unable to get to the Dahlgren site, either meeting them at their homes or at their jobs," she said.

She added that Kroner was "solely responsible for persuading the engineering management department to offer the first-ever live class taught at Dahlgren."

Robertson further noted, "The students trust her, the engineering department trusts her and we all benefit from the relationships with this department which Deanna has cultivated over the years."

Commenting on her extensive volunteer service, Robertson said that Kroner manages the food booth at the Dahlgren July 4 celebrations, and came up with the idea to serve the finger food on ODU Frisbee discs, which have a label with contact information for ODU programs at Dahlgren. She also has spearheaded efforts to collect items to send to troops overseas.

A host of students offered comments in support of Kroner's nomination for the HACE award. Here is a sampling:

• "If it weren't for Deanna and ODU, I would not have been able to continue my education while working full time at NSWC. She has been great in supporting me during extensive travel by recording the classes and mailing them to me as far away as Israel."

• "I was impressed with her caring and helpful personality. She is pleasant and goes out of her way to help with any problem that arises. Consequently, my decision to enroll in graduate school at ODU was greatly influenced by Deanna."

• "She is the No. 1 cheerleader in Dahlgren. Deanna approaches every problem with a spirit that says, 'How can I help solve your problem?'"

ODU faculty and staff also offered favorable comments.

"Her understanding of students' needs and her attention to detail, coupled with the fact that she really and truly cares about the students and their education, make her an extraordinary employee for Old Dominion University," said Resit Unal, chair of the engineering management and systems engineering department.

David Chase, director of military distance learning, said, "Of all her many fine qualities, she is noted for her superior customer service skills. She works well with everyone from students and faculty, to officials at the base, including senior commanders and leaders in the local community. Deanna is always exceptionally responsive to the needs and requirements of her customers."

As winner of the annual HACE award, Kroner received $200 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund. Gifts also included four tickets to any 2008-09 Lady Monarch basketball game, a gift certificate for two tickets to a 2008-09 event at the Ted Constant Convocation Center and a $35 University Village Bookstore gift card.

Also nominated were: Dale B. Amos, Chariety C. Brown, Christina M. Gonzalez, Diedre D. Hall, Donald Jones, Harvey D. Logan, Delicia Malin, Sue Nagle, Donald V. Nash, Dwayne L. Smith and Linda Wray.

C.J. Oakley, who joined the physics department staff in April 2007, stepped into a difficult situation, taking on the duties of the late Bob Evans, who died suddenly the prior December. His supervisor, Walt Hooks, the department's operations manager, said that Oakley nevertheless was successful in climbing a steep learning curve during a semester that was more than half over.

"Mr. Oakley wasted no time tackling the tasks at hand, picked up the pieces and turned the Physics Support Shop into a more efficient and up-to-date workplace," Hooks said, adding, "[He] does not consider any request too small or trivial if it will help make things better."

Gail Dodge, department chair, agreed. "It is hard to acknowledge all of the ways in which C.J. goes above and beyond expectations in the fulfillment of his duties," she said. "He does not just discharge his duties effectively - he tries to improve instruction wherever possible."

She added, "C.J. has earned a reputation as one who can solve any problem that comes up, a quality that translates into better education for students and happier faculty and staff."

Other faculty joined in lauding Oakley's work, among them Lawrence Weinstein, University Professor of physics, who said, "C.J. has worked hard to organize the lecture demonstrations to make them useful for the physics faculty. To do that, he had to acquaint himself with the hundreds of different demonstrations based on their brief descriptions on a Web site, learn what equipment was really required for each one, and make sure that they actually worked as advertised. This is a large task, and C.J. accomplished it with his characteristic skill, hard work and good humor."

Charles I. Sukenik, associate professor of physics, summed up Oakley's contributions this way: "To put it simply, if it needs to get done, C.J. will make sure it gets done and done right."

Nominators also cited Oakley's public service. After reading a story in The Virginian-Pilot about a Johns Hopkins University report on the drop-out crisis in American high schools, which labeled all five Norfolk public high schools as "drop-out factories," Oakley met with Granby principal Ted Daughtrey, offering tutoring assistance.

Soon after Oakley established Hampton Roads Old School, for which he recruited faculty and graduate students from the physics department to help out in Granby's algebra classes.

In a Feb. 11 letter, Daughtrey praised Oakley's "willingness to get involved," stating, "To date, this has been a wonderful experience for our teachers and students. It provides our teachers with an opportunity to differentiate instruction for students and it provides our students with role models who help instill both academic knowledge and intrinsic motivation in our students."

As winner of the HACE award, Oakley received $100 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund. Prizes also included four tickets to any 2008-09 Monarch basketball game, a gift certificate for two tickets to a 2008-09 Constant Center event and a $35 bookstore gift card.

Also nominated were: Michelle M. Falck, Janet M. Touchon and Romina Samson.

This article was posted on: May 15, 2008

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