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ZIPS
WHO INSPIRE

We've asked for your stories of Akron Zips who’ve inspired others through their work, generosity or talents. Here we recognize them, and so many more, for their hard work and dedication.

Nominate someone today!

 

Matthew Akers

Nominated by: Nicholas Nussen
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Dependable, diplomatic, diligent, conscientious, courteous — Dr. Matthew Akers is the very model of professionalism.

Edie Barnes

Nominated by: Annie Hanson Hilaire
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Edie Barnes is an unsung hero at UA. She retired as College Specialist in BCAS in December after 40 years of service. Edie always put students first & modeled exceptional customer service. Sometimes seen as a stickler for the rules, she enforced standards to make sure that every student was treated fairly & equally. Edie is considered a colleague & friend across campus and was always available to help work through a problem or take time to brighten your day. Thank you for being an inspiring Zip!

Kelly Bray

Nominated by: Julie Zhao
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Changing the culture for the better: Kelly is one of the co-workers I know at UA who has the most positive attitude towards all issues. She led by examples to motive students and colleagues who she works with. During the pandemic time, she led social media initiatives to share stories of our community services of students, faculty and staff, which inspired both internal and external audience. Faculty, students and staff members all enjoy working with her.

Heidi Cressman

Nominated by: Julie Zhao
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Serving the community wholeheartedly: Heidi is a student-oriented educator who cares about student success and professional development. She applies research findings and best practices to student success. Heidi’s dedication to recruiting and retaining female engineering students has been recognized by UA, greater Akron community, Girl Scouts and Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The most attractive characteristic is Heidi’s work ethic and her sense of humor.

John Fellenstein

Nominated by: Annie Hanson Hilaire
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: John, also known as "Professor Polymer," always says yes to outreach activities! He is always ready to inspire children to pursue STEM fields, encourage them to be curious, ask questions, and do their best. John's work in the Akron Global Polymer Academy means that he hosts guests on campus through camps and field trips, or he takes his show on the road to schools across the region or even the Rubber Ducks stadium! Thank you, John, for being an inspiring Zip!

Kim Gentile

Nominated by: Annie Hanson Hilaire
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Kim Gentile is an inspiring Zip who oozes blue and gold in everything she does. As the Director of Admissions, she is our most enthusiastic cheerleader, making sure that every prospective student is well cared for in their journey to select a best-fit institution. I am grateful that Kim is often the first person that a future Zip meets. She sets the standard for the rest of campus: be kind, welcoming, and helpful to all!

Doug Hausknecht

Nominated by: Ali Doehring
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Dr. Hausknecht [Dr. Doug] has been an influential professor and colleague to so many at UA. My fondest memory of Dr. Doug was working alongside him and students to establish a memorial service event in 2017. Dr. Doug's leadership provided an outlet for us to organize an inspirational opportunity that brought together our community after tragedy. Thanks to Dr. Doug's commitment, our campus has continued this legacy by establishing UA Day of Remembrance and the Husein-Unternaher Service Event.

Kristine Kraft

Nominated by: Madison Murphy
Student

Submission: Dr. Kraft is a phenomenal professor. She's very accommodating and caring to students' personal situations and does her best to help each student. She checks in with in us, not only to remind us about assignments, but also to simply ask how our week is going. Since I don't have family near me here in Akron, it means a lot knowing that she checks in and genuinely wants to see us succeed. She answers emails quickly and is very helpful when I have a question about school or my major. She is great!

Wendy Lampner

Nominated by: Timothy McCarragher
Administrator

Submission: In the midst of a pandemic, Design and Development Services had to assist an entire university to transition to an online format - literally hundreds of classes. Wendy Lampner and her team did an AMAZING job with this challenge. I was so impressed with the feedback I heard from both FT and PT faculty.Wendy and her staff were patient, supportive, available, and somehow managed to help all those that needed help. The entire university is grateful for her efforts.

Toni "Tyga" Montgomery

Nominated by: Annie Hanson Hilaire
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Toni the Tyga is an inspiration to every LeBron James Family Foundation student in the Akron Public Schools! She is the champion and advocate for high school students who dream of graduating and pursuing a degree at the University of Akron. Tyga works closely with students on academics, professional skills, and goal setting. She is walking alongside the class of 2021 as they apply to UA for the first time. Be sure to visit her at the I Promise Institute at Infocision this fall.

Tiffanie Nevins

Nominated by: Sarah Starnes
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Tiffanie has been a constant presence in the law school's library throughout the entire pandemic, showing up every day and being an incredible support system for her student workers. She is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the library stays functioning and open for students who need help.

Nick Nussen

Nominated by: Sarah Steidl
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: As a writer for University Communications & Marketing, Nick Nussen expertly and creatively tells the stories of inspiring Akron Zips. His work illustrates the opportunities available to all motivated Zips and provides a window into the lives of the people who make UA an invaluable institution to our region. For all his storytelling, Nick himself is truly a Zip who inspires. He is a master at his craft, meticulous in his work, reliable as a colleague and committed to excellence in all he does.

Andy Platt

Nominated by: Susan Hanlon
Administrator

Submission: Andy is a super alumni. He is a proud and successful alum who has been giving back to the College since his graduation in 1977. He volunteers, supports with generous gifts and is just a great cheerleader. Andy is currently an executive in residence and in that capacity assists with honors projects, serves as an MBA mentor and assists in other ways with our professional development program. Andy is passionate about the success of the College and the University.

Jade Reese

Nominated by: Julie Zhao
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: Name a student who inspired you with their perseverance in or out of the classroom: Immediately, Jade Reese came to my mind. Jade is a star! She has solid background in engineering, math and science and has demonstrated great performance. She was the President of Engineering Student Design Team and led the team for community services. When serving the college's tutoring program as the head tutor, her dedication to student success helps change the culture for the better. She is the model student!

James Steiger

Nominated by: Julia Saxon
Student

Submission: Dr. Steiger is what every professor aims to be. He has done an incredible job as school director and as a mentor. He believes in every one of his students even when they do not believe in themselves, myself included. I was a reluctant SLP major and he helped me uncover a great passion for audiology and research. He has been a great support in my journey through applying to graduate school and in my current doctoral program at UA. I would not be here without his constant encouragement and humor.

Teresa Strong-Good

Nominated by: Alison Doehring
Staff / Contract Professional

Submission: When I reflect on my time at UA and leader who I have aspired to emulate, Teresa Strong-Good is the woman who always comes to mind. I met Teresa upon joining Alpha Delta Pi sorority in 2004 and was honored to have worked closely with her as a student leader. Teresa's poised demeanor and mentorship played a significant role in my life during such pivotal development years and led me to pursue higher education. Teresa is a proud UA alumni, distinguished ADPi and a positive influence to so many.

Veronica Tomasko

Nominated by: Insun Park
Faculty

Submission: Aside from working hard in class, Veronica stood out from others for her empathy and care for people. She devoted much effort to the betterment of the UA community by serving in Undergrad Student Government, Mobilizing Our Branches Committee, and Campus Cupboard. Her passion for social justice is not limited to the campus. She worked in the Victim Assistance Program and hopes to become a legal professional to assist more people in need. I believe she will continue to inspire people around her.

Aleer Yol

Nominated by: Chrys Wesdemiotis
Faculty

Submission: Aleer came to the US as a 19-year refugee without parents, from Sudan. He mastered school, college, graduate school (in my group), and postdoctoral fellowship and now works for Avery Dennison, here in Ohio. He showed that no hardship is difficult to overcome and excel. With hard work, optimism, and humility. A truly inspiring ZIP.