Melissa Brown, administrative assistant in the University of Kentucky College of Engineering's Office of Administration, is the 2021 winner of the Staff Excellence Award in the non-exempt category.
Melissa Brown serves as the primary staff contact for the First-Year Engineering program, with specific responsibilities for purchasing equipment, supplies and consumables. Over this past year, Melissa has been an essential resource for FYE, and has provided outstanding support as we have launched initiatives to offer FYE students direct-purchase access to required electronic kits and class project kits through the UK Bookstore. For both the Fall and Spring semester, FYE has partnered with the UK Bookstore to provide students the opportunity to directly purchase the kits needed for their courses (EGR 102 and EGR 103). These kits are custom configured for FYE and require the purchase of dozens of individual components from a range of vendors; the materials must then be organized and packaged for delivery to the UK Bookstore. The 2020-2021 academic year was the first year of this effort, and Melissa did an outstanding job organizing the purchases, communicating with vendors, handling backorders and seeking out alternate suppliers. In addition, Melissa went very much “above-and-beyond” by volunteering to take delivery and organize/assemble the kits for us, a duty usually handled by FYE personnel. In effect, Melissa felt that she had additional time available during the break periods this past year and took the initiative to provide this service to FYE and the College. This was not only an outstanding contribution to the College and FYE, but also to our students, as the availability of kits via the UK Bookstore (and via online shipping) made it possible for our students to get their kits and complete FYE coursework regardless of their personal circumstances for the Fall and Spring semesters. In her role in the Hardymon Center for Student Success, Melissa is one of the most effective and service-focused staff members in the College of Engineering. She is unfailingly friendly, responsive and willing to go the extra mile in assisting students, faculty and staff colleagues. In her staff support role for FYE, the faculty know that they can depend on Melissa for the timely procurement of any needed supplies or equipment. She is highly detail-oriented, seeks out alternative solutions without prompting, and provides effective communication throughout all interactions with the FYE program. Over this past year, as it became possible for faculty and staff to return on a limited basis, Melissa made the personal decision to spend most of her time back on campus, working from her office on the third floor of FPAT. Her steady presence in the office has provided an important element of cohesion in the Student Success area and has sustained a personal point of contact for anyone who would have reason to stop by in person. It’s simply one additional demonstration of Melissa’s dedication and a strong commitment to the College of Engineering – a dedication worthy of recognition via the Staff Excellence Awards