Academic Staff: Early Career Award

Recipients of the L&S Academic Staff Early Career Award must have 0-7 years’ (including the current year) experience and demonstrate outstanding performance, promise of future contributions and a high degree of professionalism.

2018 Recipients

Carmela Diosana
Student Services Coordinator, Department of Botany

Carmela is the point person for all undergraduate Botany majors, as well as all of the department’s master’s and Ph.D. students. She not only assists them with course enrollment and keeping them on track toward their degrees, says Botany chair and professor Kenneth Cameron, “but she also offers them guidance as they develop into young scientists.”

She’s also an incredible ally for students and her dedication to equality and social justice keeps her constantly on the lookout to make everyone feel welcome in Birge Hall. “Camily has gone the extra mile to remind our faculty and staff that diversity is important and that mutual respect for each others’ differences leads to a more safe, creative, pleasant and productive workplace,” says Cameron. “In this role, she has become the educator of the educators.”

Ellen Hamann
Senior Research Specialist, Center for Limnology

Managing a research lab in the Center for Limnology is just the start of Ellen’s duties. She also provides field and lab support for nearly 30 graduate students, post-docs and undergrads; conducts fieldwork in remove areas of East Africa, Hawaii and the Great Lakes basin; coordinates with collaborators on four continents; executes sophisticated statistical analyses; and blogs about fieldwork and findings.

“I cannot imagine that anyone other than Ellen could have performed such a variety of tasks for so long, so well, or so reliably,” says Peter McIntyre, associate professor of Integrative Biology.

She’s also an exceptional science communicator, who’s developed the Fish on the Run website and organized the Center for Limnology’s participation in events at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, among many other outreach efforts that help magnify the impact of the Center’s work.

Valerie Johnson
Student Services Coordinator, Department of Psychology

When Valerie joined the Psychology department, her two fellow undergraduate advisors hoped she’d help them serve the nearly 1,200 majors in need of guidance. She’s ended up offering so much more.

Valerie dedicates 36 of her 40 hours each week to student advising and other direct student contact through programming initiatives she’s developed, such as a peer mentoring program and student advisory board.

“Valerie effectively conveys to students that her job as an advisor is to help them explore their interests and their options,” says Psychology chair and professor Hill Goldsmith. “She focuses on answering the questions that brought them into the appointment, but then dives deeper to address questions they often were unaware they had.”

Benjamin Schultz-Burkel
Assistant Director, Mead Witter School of Music

Ben is responsible for “carrying out a host of complicated and often daunting tasks involving students, faculty, staff and the larger Madison public” in support of the School of Music, says director Susan Cook.

There’s hardly a corner of the school that he doesn’t touch, and he has increasingly taken on a formative advancement role in directing the seat-naming campaign, the final piece in the fundraising campaign for the new Hamel Music Center.

Ben’s service extends beyond the School of Music, working on the L&S Climate Committee and advocating for academic and university staff rights across campus. You might even see him on stage, as he earned his doctor of musical arts degree here at the School of Music and continues to perform with University Opera!

All Recipients


  • Carmela Diosana, Student Services Coordinator, Department of Botany
  • Ellen Hamann, Senior Research Specialist, Center for Limnology
  • Valerie Johnson, Student Services Coordinator, Department of Psychology
  • Benjamin Schultz-Burkel, Assistant Director, Mead Witter School of Music


  • Hilary Shager, La Follette School of Public Affairs
  • Libby Dowdall, Department of Chemistry
  • Michael Kruse, Language Institute
  • Brian Esselman, Department of Chemistry


  • Stephen Block,  Assistant Director of the General Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry
  • Linnea Burk, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychology
  • Elizabeth Foste, Careers and Outreach Coordinator, Department of Economics
  • Jesse Steinberg, Faculty Associate & Assistant to the Chair Department of Philosophy


  • Desiree Bates, Computational Chemistry Leader, Department of Chemistry
  • Adam Hinterthuer, University Relations Specialist, Department of Limnology
  • Oh Hoon Kwon, Course Supervisor for the Mathematics 13x series, Department of Mathematics
  • Russell Portier, Assistant to the Directors, School of Social Work


  • Carol Warden, Associate Outreach Specialist, Center for Limnology
  • Tiziana Serafini, Associate Faculty Associate, Department of French & Italian
  • Cheri Barta Rossi, Associate Faculty Associate, Department of Chemistry 


  • Melanie Jones, Faculty Associate, Department of Psychology
  • Laura Halverson Monahan, Senior Academic Curator, Department of Zoology
  • Dorothea Salo, Faculty Associate, School of Library & Information Studies
  • Chad Wilkinson, Associate Faculty Associate, Department of Chemistry


  • Danielle Benden, Senior Academic Curator, Department of Anthropology
  • Allison Kaplan, Faculty Associate, School of Library & Information Studies


  • Nancy Linh Karls, Faculty Associate, The Writing Center in the Department of English
  • Shirin Malekpour, Faculty Associate, Department of Mathematics


  • Marilyn Larsen, Assistant Director, Center for Limnology
  • Byung-jin Lim, Associate Faculty Associate, East Asian Languages & Literature
  • Jaime Stoltenberg, Map and GIS Librarian, Department of Geography


  • Erlin Barnard, Faculty Associate, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia
  • Ilia Guzei, Senior Scientist, Department of Chemistry


  • Ron Harris, Academic Staff, Department of English. 
  • Dianna Murphy, Academic Staff, The Language Institute


  • Shea Ramey, Academic Staff, Chemistry Learning Center
  • Richard Slaughter, Academic Staff, Geology and Geophysics


  • Melissa Tedrowe, Academic Staff, Department of English


  • Patrick Barrett, Academic Staff, the Havens Center in the Department of Sociology
  • Emily B. Hall, the Writing Center in the Department of English


  • Jeff Henriques, Department of Psychology


  • Ron Cramer, Learning Support Services


  • Grace Krewson, Department of English

Nominate an excellent early career staff member.

Please contact the PDRC for more information about the Academic Staff Awards.