Models of Excellence Award

Congratulations, 2024 Models of Excellence Honorees

The University is pleased to announce the Models of Excellence Program honorees for 2024. This year 54 staff members will receive recognition across the three award categories.

The Models of Excellence Program Awards celebration will be held at Harrison Auditorium on April 9 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a reception in the Penn Museum Chinese Rotunda.

Since 1999, this award has recognized staff member accomplishments that reflect initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, and a deep commitment to service. Now, the Models of Excellence Award is one of three award categories in the overall Models of Excellence program.

Standards of Excellence

These Standards of Excellence are used by the nominators and the Selection Committee to identify individual staff members or teams as Models of Excellence for their notable contributions to the mission of the University that go above and beyond performance and job expectations.

  • Demonstrate extraordinary initiative to overcome obstacles and initiate positive change within the University
  • Provide outstanding innovation and leadership to inspire others and contribute to the overall mission at Penn
  • Exhibit deep commitment to service in ways that exceed the expectations of internal and external customers
  • Improve processes that result in substantial cost savings for the University
  • Collaborate within and across organizations to build relationships and support Penn’s mission

2024 Models of Excellence Honorees

Models of Excellence Award

Kayla Clark, Perelman School of Medicine

Kayla Clark, Project Manager in the Division of Health Policy, is an essential team member for the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Initiative. Kayla has overcome challenges, collaborated, built relationships across the Penn community, and made remarkable improvements to the research operations. Her work informed the development of the initiative’s new centralized program, Penn Medicine Healthy Heart, which treats hypertension and hyperlipidemia, increases smoking cessation, and improves nutrition.

DEEPenn STEM Organizing Team

The DEEPenn STEM Organizing Team orchestrated a grassroots graduate school preview event showcasing Penn's interdisciplinary research by promoting inclusivity. Tailored for undergraduates who have limited information and opportunities to pursue advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), this initiative bridged the information gap in STEM graduate recruitment efforts at the University of Pennsylvania.

Team MemberSchool or Center
Christina BurtonSchool of Engineering and Applied Science
Annie JeongSchool of Engineering and Applied Science
Patricia ReaSchool of Arts and Sciences
Ashley J. WallaceProvost Interdisciplinary Programs
Abreeotta J. Williams-JonesSchool of Engineering and Applied Science

Abby Kalkstein, School of Social Policy and Practice

Abigail Kalkstein, Associate Director of Admissions and Operations, supports the School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2) in their enrollment management and admissions initiatives. She ensures accurate data management allowing all other school departments to make strategic decisions affecting budgets, personnel resources, and enrollment goals. Her contributions to the admissions team are essential in SP2’s overall mission to create a community of student-leaders committed to global social justice.

Let’s Talk Team

The Let's Talk Team is a diverse panel of experts who provide culturally and linguistically appropriate emotional well-being services through informal, confidential drop-in counseling. Let's Talk provides easily accessible services that challenge the stigma around mental health and create a safe, non-judgmental environment. The innovative initiative actively engages with students to address their concerns and equip them with life skills.

Team MemberSchool or Center
William AtkinsStudent Services
Zaida BryantProvost’s Center
Batsirai BvunzawabayaHealth and Wellness
Mary Kate CoghlanHealth and Wellness
Krista CortesStudent Services
Benoit DubéHealth and Wellness
Bramble HeidtHealth and Wellness
Jane HolahanStudent Services
Jasmine R. JohnsonHealth and Wellness
Tex KangUniversity Library
Steve KocherProvost’s Center
Marc A. LoProvost’s Center
Chelsea MinskyHealth and Wellness
Kaden MoriartyHealth and Wellness
Malik MuhammadStudent Services
Nicole NardoneHealth and Wellness
Brian PetersonStudent Services
Marian ReiffHealth and Wellness
Morgen RosenDivision of Recreation & Intercollegiate Athletics
Julia SaulHealth and Wellness
Steve ScadutoUniversity Library
Alaina SpiegelHealth and Wellness
Yacob TekieHealth and Wellness
Miao TianHealth and Wellness
Derik Yager-ElorriagaHealth and Wellness
Tianhong “Jojo” YaoHealth and Wellness

Penn Cooks

To celebrate the diversity of the students, and to provide them with opportunities to explore and appreciate their own and others’ identities and experiences through food, the Penn Cooks team created Penn Cooks - Culture, Community, and Cuisine. This program features chefs and cuisines from various backgrounds, partners with campus groups and cultural centers to select the food and the chef, and invites students to join a special meal and a friendly discussion about the chef’s culture and history.

Team MemberSchool or Center
Kristin CummingsResidential and Hospitality Services
Pamela LampittResidential and Hospitality Services
Barbara Lea-KrugerBusiness Services
Thomas MacDonaldResidential and Hospitality Services
Ted MorrinResidential and Hospitality Services

PVP Consent Circles Team

The Consent Circles Team at Penn Violence Prevention (PVP) designed a unique educational opportunity for all incoming Penn students during New Student Orientation. The team works collaboratively with orientation administrators, peer educators, and dozens of staff supporters to deliver peer-led consent education that moves beyond compliance and embraces an opportunity to build healthy relationship skills with new students in their first days on campus to create a safer and healthier Penn community.

Team MemberSchool or Center
Reema Malhotra PhillipsStudent Services
Julie MilliskyStudent Services
Tyler RizzoStudent Services
Elise SciosciaStudent Services

Lauren Rudick, Student Services 

Lauren Rudick, Director of the Office of Student Intervention Services (SIS), leads a team of advisors who coordinate efforts to address the needs of students who require specialized assistance for personal and academic challenges. Lauren and her team avert crisis by working actively with academic deans and advisors, Special Services, and Student Health and Counseling in the best interest of students.

Teri Scott, Morris Arboretum & Gardens 

Teri Scott, Director of Marketing at the Morris Arboretum & Gardens, expertly led a major rebranding campaign, pushed for new, visitor-focused initiatives, focused on new and diverse markets and increasing media awareness of the Morris and its activities. She is determined to make everyone she encounters feel valued.


Questions? Call 215-898-7729 or contact us by email.