Academic Staff: Mid-Career Award

Recipients of the L&S Academic Staff Mid-Career Award must have 8 or more years’ (including the current year) experience as outstanding leaders with substantial professional competency and the promise of continuing contributions.

2016-17 Recipients

Nina Valeo Cooke
Director of Undergraduate and Curricular Services, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies

Since joining the department in 2006, Nina Valeo Cooke has consistently supported students and worked to connect them with alumni and career opportunities. Each fall, she organizes an internship fair, and follows up in the spring semester with a six-credit internship course. Students are assigned readings on the theory and practice of feminist and report on what they’re learning and experiencing in their internships.

Nina also regularly brings alumni in to meet with students and participate in workshops that illuminate how they used their gender and women’s studies degree.

Department chair Judith Houck sums up Nina’s impact best: “I say without exaggeration that Nina is the single most valuable member of our Gender and Women’s Studies department. I cannot imagine our department without her vision, energy and commitment.”

Mark Wendt
Faculty Associate, Department of Chemistry

Physical Chemistry labs used to be quiet spaces, where students carefully followed instructions on their own. Today, the labs are buzzing with energy, as students work together to shape and execute experiments.

These lab courses have long been capstone experiences for chemistry majors, but they were hardly students’ favorites — until Mark Wendt transformed them utilizing collaboration, experimentation and technology.

Mark has created online pre-lab quizzes and videos, and in the lab, he encourages students to explore and make their own decisions. They not only learn more, but also gain skills as independent researchers.

“Mark turned the classes upside down, placing the students at the forefront of their own education,” says chemistry professor Gil Nathanson. “He has turned our most feared lab class into a place where curiosity and questions are encouraged and nurtured.”

Arrietta Clauss
Student Services Coordinator, Department of Chemistry

Sometimes a person’s impact is felt more than seen, and that has certainly been the case with Arrietta Clauss. Since joining the chemistry department, she’s created electronic-based systems for the admissions process, graduate student records, recruiting and communications.

She has also transformed Chem 901, a valuable introduction course for new graduate students. She’s also worked to improve the diversity among graduate students, recruits faculty to talk to them about their work and life experiences and is proactive in bringing representatives from companies to campus to meet chemistry graduate students in person.

Since Arrietta has come on board, the department has noticed a steady increase in students coming in to talk about resumes, interviews and post-graduation plans. As professors Thomas Brunold and Daniel Fredrickson attest, “Arrietta has become the go-to person in our department for career advice.” 

All Recipients


  • Nina Valeo Cooke, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Mark Wendt, Department of Chemistry
  • Arrietta Clauss, Department of Chemistry


  • Araceli Alonso, Senior Lecturer, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies
  • Jeffrey Henriques, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology
  • Sharon Kahn, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Geography
  • Dianna Murphy,  Founding Associate Director, The Language Institute


  • Brian Babler, Researcher, Department of Astronomy
  • Shirin Malekpour, Faculty Associate and Wisconsin Emerging Scholars Program Coordinator, Department of Mathematics
  • Debra Pierce, Faculty Associate, School of Journalism and Mass Communication


  • David Black, Administrative Program Manager, School of Journalism & Mass Communication
  • Russell Dimond, Senior Information Processing Consultant, Social Science Research Services
  • Thomas Gorski, Instrument Innovator, Department of Physics
  • Ewa Miernowska, Senior Lecturer, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature


  •  Daniel Denhartog, Senior Scientist, Department of Physics
  • Jennifer Tishler, Associate Faculty Associate, Center for Russia, East Europe & Central Asia (CREECA)


  • Tracy Drier, Senior Instrument Specialist, Department of Chemistry
  • Jim Maynard, Senior Instructional Specialist, Department of Chemistry


  • Dana Longstreth, Associate Professor, Department of Communicative Disorders
  • Rob McClain, Faculty Associate, Department of Chemistry
  • Rachel Weiss, Assistant Director, Center for South Asia
  • Doug Worsham, Learning Support Services


  • Brett Chapman, Senior Scientist, Department of Physics


  • John Stevenson, Associate Director, Survey Center


  • Dr. Scott Mellor, Academic Staff,  Department of Scandinavian Studies 
  • Dr. Ieva Reich, Academic Staff, Department of Chemistry


  • Dr. Jeff Percival, Academic Staff, Department of Astronomy
  • Michelle Quinn, Academic Staff, Department of Communicative Disorders


  • Gloria Mari-Beffa, Academic Staff, Department of Mathematics
  • Merritt Dietz, Academic Staff, Department of French and Italian
  • Paul Hanson, Academic Staff, Center for Limnology


  • Nelly Halzen, Academic Staff, Department of French and Italian,
  • Matthew J. Sanders, Academic Staff, Department of Chemistry


  • Jane Perlmutter, School of Library and Information Studies
  • Rebecca Ryan, Cross-College Advising Services
  • Mary Jo Studenberg, Southeast Asian Studies


  • Bruno Browning, Learning Support Services
  • Anthony Jacob, Department of Chemistry
  • Jack Solock, Data and Information Services Center

Nominate an excellent mid-career staff member.

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