In 1995, Eileen Coughlin, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, introduced a new tradition of acknowledging staff members and their contributions with a Nakama award. Each year, division members have an opportunity to nominate a colleague who has fostered the division’s traditions by excelling in any of the following areas:
- Demonstrate outstanding commitment to the development or support of students
- Create or significantly contribute to initiatives which promote student success
- Strengthen the Division’s work within the University and larger community
- Provide dedicated and consistently excellent service to students and/or the Division
Amy Appleton, Nakama’s 2018 Award recipient
Each year, the Nakama award goes to a member of our division whose work demonstrates an ongoing and dedicated commitment to supporting our students, strengthening the contributions of our division to the university, and promoting Western’s mission and values.
Amy Appleton, this year’s recipient, was described by nominees as a fierce student advocate and one who consistently looks for ways to collaborate with other departments on campus to improve the student experience. She is characterized as being a great listener, inspiring, having a deep passion for serving students, and tireless in her commitment to providing excellent service.
Assisting students in navigating their academic journey began long before Amy took a job at Western. As a college student, she rowed crew at Yale and went on to coach crew at Dartmouth and the University of Wisconsin. It was during that time of coaching student athletes that a passion for helping students successfully chart their paths to graduation was realized. This passion led to the pursuit of a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration at Western and then an eventual position in the division.
Her contributions to her department, to the division and to the University are many and varied.
- She steps up to support her office team during times of transition – welcoming new hires or covering when officemates are on extended leave periods – to help ensure things are running smoothly.
- For the past three years, she has developed and led an outreach campaign to identify and connect with high performing freshmen, in an attempt to avoid attrition. Results of this campaign show significantly higher rates of retention for students who respond to the outreach.
- She was actively involved in providing an advising perspective in the planning and implementation of Western’s new online ALEKS Math Placement Assessment last year.
- She was instrumental in the grassroots creation of and now leads the Academic Care Team, and
- She collaborates with the Registrar’s office in assessing and determining seat availability for managing fall term enrollment for incoming students. The result of these efforts has been an increase in student satisfaction with course schedules as well as maximizing course enrollments.
Amy also spends time acting as a supervisor and mentor to student staff, with an open door policy allowing her to be available to answer questions and help as student needs arise.
She regularly serves as a marshal at Commencement and seeks out professional development opportunities that support her work with students. As an example, she participated in QPR training this past year in order to better identify common warning signs for suicide. As rates of anxiety and depression increase among our students, having these skills and the ability for compassionate conversation without judgment are essential.
Amy truly exemplifies exceptional effort in all dimensions of her work. Congratulations Amy!
Amy Appleton, Academic Advising Center
Christian Urcia, University Residences
Tina Loudon, Academic and Career Development Services
Nate Panelo, Ethnic Student Center
Dong Vo, University Residences
Janet McLeod, Enrollment and Student Services
Lori Larkin, Admissions
Sally Abbott, University Residences
John "Fuzzy" Fuchs, Athletics
Jean Meyer, Financial Aid
Michael Postlewait, University Residences
Kurt Willis, University Residences
Dixie Doran, Registrar's Office
Lynda Goodrich, Athletics
Chris Roselli, Admissions
Connie Copeland, Special Assistant to VP
Jules McLeland, Child Development Center
Emily Gibson, Student Health Center
Margie Conway, Admissions
Jennifer Pickeral, Admissions
Kevin Majkut, Student Activities
Lynn Thomas, Registrar's Office
Deborah Frost, University Residences
Renée Murray, Career Services Center
David Brunnemer, Student Support Services
Patricia Fabiano, Prevention Health and Wellness
Anna Carey, New Student Programs/Family Outreach
Sonia Arevalo-Hayes, Student Support Services
Kay Rich, University Residences
Jack Smith, Student Activities
Their names have been added to a plaque that resides in the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services.