The award was launched in August 2016 to give monthly recognition of staff members doing a good job, helping someone out, coming up with a new idea, etc.


Full-time or part-time staff member in good standing with minimum of 3 months of service in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Staff members are eligible for nomination every 6 months.

Nomination Procedure

Anyone in the college can nominate a staff member for this award. Nomination is due the last business day of the month. The winners will be recognized during following month. If you are interested in nominating a staff member for this award, please complete and submit the form below.

Rock in Role Award Nomination Form

What Happens Next?

Your nomination, along with any others received this month, will be reviewed by SAC at the next meeting. All completed nominations will be recognized through the EMS ListServe and on the Rock in Role website. All staff receiving nominations will be recognized at the Dean's Staff Appreciation Luncheon along with SAC reviewing all nominations for the year and selecting one overall winner that will be recognized above and beyond all other nominations, both at the Dean's Luncheon and on the Rock in Role website.

March 2019 Kay DiMarco
February 2019 No nominations
January 2019 No nominations
December 2018 No nominations
November 2018 No nominations
October 2018 Brandy Bower and Nadine Briskar
September 2018 Melissa Weaver
August 2018 Melissa Stine
July 2018 James Guyton
June 2018 No nominee
May 2018 No nominee
April 2018 Karen Cox
March 2018 Jennifer Renoe
Februrary 2018 Kary Isett
January 2018 No nominee

With the launch of the new EMS website, there was a computer glitch on the Rock in Role Award nomination form and we did not receive notification when nominations were submitted. The computer glitch has now been fixed. To remedy this situation, we are awarding Rock in Role Awards to the following recipients that were nominated during this period and calling them Fall 2017 Award Winners.

Kristin Cox

Fall 2017: Kristin Cox

Kristin is recognized for helping several geosciences faculty submit numerous NSF proposals on time, under the challenge of overlapping travel schedules of the members of the project teams and the challenge working with investigator teams from multiple institutions. She ensured that all documents were prepared correctly and were in compliance with several new regulations and formats that none of the PIs were aware of in advance. Although proposal submission is a normal part of her job, her thoughtful, thorough and collaborative actions enabled multiple proposals to be prepared and submitted in a very short amount of time. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Stacy DavidsonJames KellyGrace Turner

Fall 2017: Stacy Davidson, James Kelly, and Grace Turner

Stacy, James, and Grace are recognized for coordinating, implementing, and executing the annual Total Orientation to Earth and Mineral Sciences (TOTEMS) for entering first-year students. Their organization, preparation, and on-site presence helped facilitate the transition to Penn State of nearly 100 students. Their programming encouraged friendships and connected them with faculty, staff, and alumni – igniting their passion for EMS and their chosen program. Not only did the students feel the energy and support of the EMS, but so did their parents. They also supervised 40 upper class mentors, giving them the opportunity to develop programming, leadership, and mentoring skills. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Marnie Deibler

Fall 2017: Marnie Deibler

Marnie is recognized for helping a faculty member prepare and submit a research proposal under a very short time period. Not only did she research the criteria for the faculty member, she prepared several iterations of the budget, communicated with the funder when encountering a technical snag, and submitted the proposal within a crucial 24-hour period. she went the extra mile, enabling the faculty member to submit the proposal on time. Her hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Stacie Hugney

Fall 2017: Stacie Hugney

Stacie is recognized for her confident and devoted service to the Department of Geosciences, and her self-reliance and initiative to explore options and research the best solution to difficult problems for the good of all in the department. She is also recognized for taking on responsibilities beyond the normal scope of her job: running multiple faculty searches like clockwork. Her multitasking included making travel arrangements for the candidates and organizing the logistics for the search committee. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Denise Kloehr

Fall 2017: Denise Kloehr

Denise is recognized for her exceptional job of performing the job duties of two roles for several months in the Department of Geography: administrative department manager and acting graduate program administrative assistant. While the administrative assistant was on
maternity leave, she expertly guided the new associate department head for resident graduate education in his transition into this position, ensuring new graduate student orientation and assignments of instructors and TAs were done without error. She is being recognized for leading the office with competence under a temporary, but very challenging, situation. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Andrea Michaels

Fall 2017: Andrea Michaels

Andrea is recognized for exceptional planning, organizing, and executing several successful events in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. From the Steidle Building dedication to the annual MatSE awards banquet and External Advisory Board (EAB) event to a faculty retirement celebration, all events were triumphs. She also are being recognized for going well above and beyond the call of duty in helping a new faculty member navigate through the new employee challenges and finding solutions to roadblocks encountered during the process. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Lynn Persing

Fall 2017: Lynn Persing

Lynn is recognized fora great job in administering the on-boarding of new faculty in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science. She is recognized for her resolution of unexpected, unique complications occurring during the on-boarding processes. Her
exceptional organizational skills and efficiency allowed new faculty members able to resume research productivity within the first two to three weeks after arriving at Penn State. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Alisha Simon

Fall 2017: Alisha Simon

Alisha is recognized for being an academic adviser who is very knowledgeable and supportive and routinely goes above and beyond her duties to help students, often several hundreds, and faculty, particularly new faculty. She is being recognized for her excellent personal and professional attitude that has enhanced workplace productivity for faculty and improved student's academic performance by having easy access to correct and needed information. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Abigail Smith

Fall 2017: Abigail Smith

Abigail is recognized for going above and beyond her normal job duties by helping coordinate the logistics for a field research project in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science. Her organizational skills were essential to the project’s success and the researchers were able to collect an historic dataset. She is being recognized specifically for solving obstacles faced by the researchers by solving purchasing issues, arranging for shipping of field equipment, and finding vendors in distant field locations. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Eric Sagmuller

Fall 2017: Eric Sagmuller

Eric is recognized for his terrific skill in helping faculty maintain and repair their laboratory equipment. He is recognized for keeping much of the equipment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering running well past its anticipated lifetime, keeping older equipment that has no warranty running, and saving equipment from the scrapheap, thereby saving the department considerable money. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Kevin Tate

Fall 2017: Kevin Tate

Kevin is recognized for always going above and beyond his routine IT duties. Examples include helping faculty by resurrecting dead disk drives, locating ancient datasets, and upgrading innumerable operating systems on their computers. Best of all, he always greet visitors with a smile, even when it is obvious that he are in the midst of a project with a tight deadline. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Laura Tetrault

Fall 2017: Laura Tetrault

Laura is recognized for her dedication to "get the job done no matter what,” even volunteering to work on weekends in order to get proposals in a better shape for submission to the funding agencies. She is being recognized specifically for her dedication in preparing proposals, accuracy in account management, and for her great positive personality. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Peg Yetter

Fall 2017: Peg Yetter

Peg is recognized for effectively filling two positions in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for most of 2017. After accepting a new position in the department’s administrative office, she not only trained one but two replacements for her former position in the graduate office while also learning the duties of her new position. Few faculty, staff, and students outside the administrative suite were aware that she was responsible for keeping both these key departmental staff positions functioning smoothly for many months. She handled this difficult situation with grace and humor. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Reita Rockey

September 2017: Reita Rockey

Reita is recognized recognized for consistently providing great customer service in the Dean’s office.  She always has a great attitude, smiling face, and is very helpful to anyone who approaches the office.  It is great that all customers are greeted with a fantastic first impression.  She is also being recognized for her efforts to keep the EMS payroll train running on time.  Her hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated!

Ginger Kowalchuk

Karen Corl

August 2017: Ginger Kowalchuk and Karen Corl

Ginger and Karen are recognized for their extraordinary job arranging and reimbursing travel. Over a short two month period, they both coordinated visit schedules for eight faculty candidates as part of two tenure-track faculty searches in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science. This was also done during a time when graduate admissions were in full swing. Their hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Matthew Croyle

July 2017: Matthew Croyle

Matt is recognized for continuing to push for innovation at the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute on behalf of the faculty members in the college. Matt also created a replacement solution for an outgoing tool in ANGEL that was widely used to do multi-step formulaic quiz questions. By implementing this solution quickly, faculty members did not have to alter their plans for assessment in their courses. This helped ensure assessments continued seamlessly for students and faculty members which impacts several undergraduate and graduate classes that enroll hundreds of students each semester. His hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Martha Traverse

June 2017: Martha Traverse

Martha is recognized for her phenomenal job of planning and organizing the EMS commencement ceremonies. Her attention to detail, coupled with the numerous nomenclature hours held to ensure the correct pronunciation of even the most difficult names, resulted in an orderly and respectful ceremony where families could celebrate their graduate and hear their family name pronounced with respect and care. Additionally, her help in verifying graduates and mastering new procedures in LionPATH is greatly appreciated!

Melanie Finocchio

May 2017: Melanie Finocchio

Melanie is recognized for facilitating the Wilson Awards Banquet. Many people say the event appeared flawless and everyone enjoyed the banquet. They say it gets better each year. Thank you for all your hard work with mailing invitations, calculating attendance, creating name tags, dealing with last minute changes, and also collecting donations for the dean’s going away gift this year. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated!

Suzanne Sunday

April 2017: Suzanne Sunday

Suzanne is recognized for being a great asset to the Pennsylvania Space Grant office and always having a positive and cheerful attitude. Her hard work and quick learning abilities are demonstrated through several job responsibilities, including ones that are beyond her own, and are greatly appreciated. We are thankful for her dedication and help in making the department continue to run smoothly.

Jackie Gibboney

March 2017: Jaclyn Gibboney

Jaclyn is recognized for her dedication to the department of Meteorology. Her professional help with Lion PATH errors were greatly appreciated and was said to be an enormous help! She has helped a lot of students (many of whom are trying to graduate this spring) fix their degree audit errors so that they were able to move forward. She is truly appreciated for going above and beyond.

Karen Cox

February 2017: Karen Cox

Karen Cox quickly stepped up to help when the Department of Geography's Undergraduate Assistant was off for three days by helping to host recruiters for Esri. She not only handled the recruiters, but also the students who were being interviewed. She did this while also handling the itinerary for the Miller Speaker, who was here at the same time. Her actions made the interviews and the Miller Speaker’s itinerary all run smoothly.

Annie Kohler

January 2017: Andrea Kohler

Andrea is recognized for her dedication to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her efforts were greatly appreciated during the Steidle Building renovations, when she was quickly thrown into creating and designing the new look of the building, from the walls to the displays. Her designs have proven to be a huge attraction for students and visitors. She also designed the dedication logo, used in invitations, and trinkets, which helped to make the dedication ceremony successful. While supporting this huge task, she successfully performed normal assigned duties.

Susan Lauver

December 2016: Susan Lauver

Susan is recognized for her dedication to the Penn State Earth and Science Partnership. During the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association Science Conference, she eagerly provided additional help which was needed due to a medical emergency of a project Principal Investigator. Because she went above and beyond, the conference was successful and many K-12 Earth Science teachers from across the state were able to gather for a day of professional development on an important topic.

Marnie Deibler

November 2016: Marnie Deibler

Marnie, from Geography, offered to help out in any way that she could when a person was out of the office unexpectedly.  This was very fortunate because there was a report that needed to be completed with a hard due date.  Marnie stepped up and completed the majority of the report, as well as helped with other needed tasks during this time.

LIndsay Wells

October 2016: Lindsay Wells

Lindsay was nominated for being instrumental in helping the MatSE faculty, staff and students transition from the Forestry Building to the new Steidle Building.  Her hard work and patience has helped every person in the building, in some way, by getting people set up with internet, printers, computers and AV equipment.

Jake Hoover

September 2016: Jacob Hoover

Jake has greatly smoothed the transition for freshman, international and change-of-campus students coming into EMS and Geosciences and helped to ensure that seniors are on the correct track to graduate. Also, he helped with transitions to LionPath, Canvas, Starfish, new classroom ownerships and allowed class times.  He handles crises with humor and expertise. Jake played a key role in helping to acclimate the new Associate Head of Undergraduate Programs in Geosciences. Because of his dedication, he is the kind of staff member whom students will remember long after they graduate!

Scott Henniger

August 2016: Scott Henninger

Scott has been coordinating the move of the MatSE department from swing space to Steidle Building.  He has efficiently handled an immensely complex process involving multiple research laboratories (chemicals, equipment, etc.) as well as department and personnel offices with a great deal of patience and skill. He has gone "above and beyond", with regard to both the time he has put in and the tasks he has taken on to make the move as seamless as possible and to minimize the disruption to our work.  His dedication to MatSE is evident!
We have experienced less down time and fewer problems than expected as a result of this move.  Post-move issues (i.e., punch list items) have been handled in a timely manner at the same time.  Scott has acted as an effective liaison between MatSE personnel and the contractors to resolve these problems.  All in all, Scott's handling of the move has resulted in less of an impact on everyone else in the department.