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Great People Awardees: June 2009

Catherine Norton

Catherine Norton, an Administrative Assistant in Pediatrics, is valued immensely by her colleagues. Singlehandedly, she turned her job into a position where she interacts with hundreds of faculty, staff, post-docs and students. Many applicants comment on how helpful she is with the interview process and despite her busy work schedule, she continues to maintain an excellent rapport with everyone.

Because of Catherine’s expertise and excellent time-management and administrative skills, the program has grown without an increase in staffing. A co-worker stated, “In addition to her day-to-day work, Catherine monitors our website and update it as necessary, as well as maintaining our internal Wiki site for MSTP’s. This has saved us countless emails as we can post all information there for our trainees.” One supervisor states, “I find working with Catherine an absolute joy! She is always ready to help with any crisis that comes up; and they do, often! Catherine is not only one of UCSF’s Great People, but she is also one of UCSF’s “go to” people.”

Damjan Osredkar

Damjan Osredkar, a Neurology Postdoc, is highly thought of by his peers as evidenced by the quality of nominations he received. Comments range from: “Damjan Osredkar has a remarkable ability to share his enthusiasm when scientific lab results are less than successful.” Another co-worker wrote, “He has a rare gift to care about how people feel. When a senior tech ran into trouble with one of her experiments, Damjan stepped in and help out. His efforts resulted in having her paper accepted. Damjan was surprised when the technician offered to put his name on the paper. He thinks nothing of putting in extra time to help others.”

Everyone agreed that Osredkar exemplifies teamwork and customer service and serves all employees with a positive attitude, helpful demeanor and professionalism. One colleague said, “The zeal and dedication – not to mention speed – with which he has tackled his scientific endeavors is truly inspiring.” The quote that sums up Damjan the best is: “He is someone who sees beyond the present but lives so fully in it. Can there be a better lesson in life than that?”

Maria Elena Ryan

Maria Elena “Malena” Ryan, a Financial Analyst for Radiology, is considered “#1” by her peers. Her manager stated, “Malena is a consistent outstanding contributor of the Finance Unit of the Radiology Business Office. Through superior financial acumen, she expanded and enhanced the quality of automated spreadsheet templates and models used throughout the department for ledger review, budgeting, financial reporting, contract and grant oversight, and resident FTE tracking.”

As the spreadsheet “guru”, Maria has given informal pivot table workshops to her time to help anyone solve thorny spreadsheet problems. Showcasing teamwork and excellent customer service, Maria has a natural, quiet helpfulness that encourages others to seek her out. She listens attentively and offers ideas in a calm competent manner. She enjoys working with others and helping them get their jobs done more easily … everyone praises her positive attitude and abilities. Her co-workers states: “Her goal is always to get the right job done, on time … and smarter and faster whenever possible.”

Sara G. Velasquez

Sara Velasquex, a Lab Assistant I at UCSF Cancer Center Research Facility, is highly valued. Recently, as a number of labs vacated the facility, Sara put in extra effort and time to provide dishwashing services to the remaining labs since they no longer have individual lab assistants. In addition to her responsibilities, she went above and beyond her job description to contact the maintenance people for machines and personally made sure everything was running smoothly. Her supervisor says, “She is always helpful, polite, friendly, efficient and does an excellent job.”

One colleague states, “Sara is very accurate and reliable employee. Her performance is excellent. It is great to have a lab assistant who delivers clean glassware, fills out tips and Pasteur pipettes, autoclaves solutions - she always manages to do it before we need it.” All of her clients have only praise and respect for the service she has provided for them. More than one have said, “I nominate her with great confidence and pleasure.”