The Staff Excellence in University Service Award (SEUSA) is awarded to six Missouri State staff members each year. It is given to people who have a reputation for exceptional service to the Missouri State community.
The awards recognize those staff employees:
- Who strive to do their jobs well on a daily basis.
- Those who go above and beyond to serve the university in a special situation.
- Those who have contributed in a significant way to the success of the university.
The recipients will each receive a $1,500 cash award.
2020 SEUSA winners
The 2020 SEUSA winners typically would be recognized during the 2021 Staff Awards Luncheon. However, the event has been delayed due to COVID-19 related concerns.
The committee wanted to recognize the recipients at this time for their contributions.
Steve Braden serves as a Custodial Coordinator in Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services. Steve’s nominators spoke of his commitment to the university, his reliability and his willingness to go “above and beyond” in order to provide the best possible living environment for MSU students.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic became a pressing issue, Steve proactively researched enhanced cleaning protocols, sharing information and resources on how custodial operations should respond.
When the university shifted to virtual learning and the majority of students chose to leave the residence halls, Steve successfully directed his staff through a series of atypical tasks. These tasks included packing and moving student belongings, coordinating the move of residential furniture to storage, and completing the deep cleaning and room turnover that is typically outsourced to contract vendors.
One nominator shared, “Steve is critical to our ability to meet the mission and vision of the Department of Residence Life at MSU. Steve’s leadership with the custodial team ensures that we consistently provide the best possible living environment for our students.”
A’dja Jones serves as the Director of Student Athlete Development and Community Relations. A’dja’s nominators highlighted her ability to build strong relationships within the campus community and her desire to elevate the voice of staff at the university.
A’dja recently completed a term as the Chair of Staff Senate, where she assured that staff had “a seat at the table” for important conversations related to the unusual and challenging year. Over the past summer, A’dja led staff in a series of important conversations about diversity, equality and inclusion.
She is leading the Athletic Department’s efforts to educate staff and students on these important topics so that they can become leaders on campus and in the Springfield community.
Lyn McKenzie serves as the Assistant Director of Human Resources – Compensation and Information Management. Lyn’s nominators spoke of her expansive knowledge of “all things HR” and her dedication to the faculty and staff of Missouri State University.
Soon after the pandemic began, Lyn stepped into the role of Interim Director of HR, providing stability, direction and leadership during a time of uncertainty. While serving in multiple roles, Lyn remained available to employees, answered questions about changes to leave, health and compensation benefits and worked extended hours to ensure that Human Resource staff members had the necessary direction to remain successful.
One nominator shared, “Lyn is an indispensable member of the Missouri State team and I’m thrilled to nominate her for the Missouri State Staff Awards.”
Karen McKinnis serves as the Manager of Emergency Preparedness. Karen’s nominators all emphasized her incredible work ethic and dedication to the health and safety of the campus community.
Early in 2020, Karen began tracking data on the COVID-19 virus and researching recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the pandemic progressed, she oversaw the testing work group, the contact tracing team and the COVID-19 Response team. Karen also served as the link between the Residence Life Department and other groups involved in housing students in the quarantine spaces.
For many weeks, Karen worked around the clock to make sure that the health and safety needs of the students were met.
One nominator shared, “While everyone has played a role in getting the university through the semester, she is the backbone to the university’s response to COVID-19. I think this is a unique situation where the employee has gone way above and beyond what is required of a position and it had a huge impact on a large number of students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire university as a whole.”
Benjamin Metzger serves as the Associate Director of Admissions. Ben’s nominators spoke of his ability to manage complex projects and serve in multiple roles, all while maintaining an encouraging and positive demeanor.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Benjamin stepped into the role of Interim Director of Admissions, providing consistent leadership and thoughtful direction during the transition to working from home. He also focused on enrollment, scheduling a high volume of recruitment materials and responding to requests from prospective students in a prompt and professional manner.
Despite the change in office operations, he and his team were able to recruit an incoming class of students that far exceeded early expectations.
One nominator shared, “In addition to Ben’s impressive work characteristics, he is an exceptional colleague to work with. He holds a deep care for his colleagues and our students, which often drives him to go above and beyond in both professional and personal responsibilities and efforts.”
Dr. Dave Muegge serves as the Director of Health and Wellness Services. Dr. Muegge’s nominators spoke of his willingness to lead by example, his positive and calming presence and his strong work ethic.
Dr. Muegge keeps abreast of continuing medical education, researching topics and trends related to higher education, physical health and mental health, in order to use the latest knowledge in diagnosis and treatment of his patients.
During the past year, Dr. Muegge has provided valuable insight and expert guidance to university leadership regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. He has worked countless hours during the crisis, leading his medical team in the testing and care of faculty, staff and students.
One nominator shared, “Dr. Muegge’s door is always open to hear recommendations or criticism and then apply such information as needed in an ever-continuing effort to improve the facility, the personnel, and above all else, the service to students, staff and faculty.”