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COC honors employees with award ceremony

Posted: May 20, 2010 1:28 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2010 11:46 a.m.
Employees at College of the Canyons were recognized for their contributions to the college at the 40th Anniversary Celebration classified awards luncheon held Thursday, May 20. The luncheon was held with the "twist" that board members, administrators and managers served college "classified" employees a catered meal, this year with an Olympics theme.

Classified employees hold support positions at the college. They are most often the behind-the-scenes people who are responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the college.

This is the fourteenth year that awards have been presented to individuals in several categories, with six awards presented.

The Employee of the Year award recognizes an individual who has made contributions to the college through service to the campus. The College of the Canyons Employee of the Year was awarded to John Makevich who is an instructional design coordinator for the college's distance learning (online) program.

Makevich was recognized for the wide range of responsibilities he has on campus, and also for the professional manner in which carries them out.

Besides bringing expertise, enthusiasm and excellence to online programs, he has spearheaded several initiatives such as the Open Educational Resources program that provides lower cost textbooks and instructional materials to students; he helped organize the Reentry Mentor Program and has taken leadership of the developing "idea incubator" project. He has led the Classified Senate and participated in the college's Associate Program - a program that helps instructors teach better.

Besides that, Makevich sits on numerous campus committees. His supervisors also recognize him for his patience and positive attitude. The award consists of a decorative plaque and $300 cash.

The Humanitarian Award went to Fashia Skjelstad. This award acknowledges an indispensable contribution to the college and cites community involvement and dedication.

Skjelstad, who works as a scholarship specialist in the Financial Aid office, was recognized for her efforts on behalf of the American Cancer Society by organizing the College of the Canyons team in Relay For Life activities that raise funds for, and awareness of, cancer issues. The award consists of a decorative plaque and a $100 cash award.

The New Visions Award recognizes an employee who brings new insight to the job, which improves the college. A positive attitude and providing an inspiration to other employees are key elements in selecting the award winner. The 2010 New Visions Award winner is Wendy Trujillo. Trujillo is an administrative assistant in the college's communications, marketing and external relations office.

She was recognized for her role in helping to create official MySpace and FaceBook pages for the college, and she also became a key on-camera presence in a series of videos highlighting the college's 40th anniversary while, at the same time, using FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter to communicate important college information to students. Her award consists of a plaque and a $100 cash award.

A decorative plaque and a $100 cash award went to Seher Awan, this year's winner of the Professional Achievement Award. Awan is a student service specialist who works in the EOPS/CARE and CalWORKS office. She was recognized for her many activities on campus that include her office responsibilities, being president of the Classified Senate, president of the Recycling Club, and participating in the college's mentorship program.

Awan also is co-chair of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation's "MACS's Project" and has found time to complete her MBA at CSUN where she is graduating this spring.

The Gloria Jackson Service Award was named after a beloved member of the College of the Canyons communication's department staff who died in November of 2006.

Jackson had worked for 25 years at the college's switchboard and mailroom and was noted for her depth and breadth of information, her encyclopedic memory for numbers, her outstanding customer service and her endearing laugh. The award consists of a decorative plaque and a $100 cash award. This year's winner of the Gloria Jackson Service Award is Leila Yahata, a payroll technician at the college.

Yahata's supervisor says she "has a smile and warm greeting for each employee that comes into the office. Even when extremely busy, Leila will stop and make the employee feel that their question or concern is her top priority of the day.

No matter what hectic things were surrounding Gloria Jackson, she always had a smile and focused her attention to the person in front of her; Leila Yahata has the same talent for making others feel at ease and appreciated as employees of College of the Canyons."

Each year the California School Employee Association (CSEA) presents its Member of the Year Award at this luncheon. This year's winner is Mike Burke who works in the college's facilities department and currently serves as the CSEA chapter's vice-president.

Burke was recognized for his dedication to the union and the great attitude with which he approaches everything he does. He received a plaque and a $100 cash award.

The awards were presented by members of the college district's executive administration and members of the college's Board of Trustees.


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