The winners of our department's latest Celebrating Great Contribution Awards have been announced.
The awards were established to recognise and reward the achievements, skills and efforts of colleagues who help make our department a great place to work and study, and help us build and maintain a positive and inspiring working culture.
The winners, who will receive gift vouchers, were chosen by a panel of colleagues from across the Department, from nominations in five categories.
Colleague Appreciation Award
This award is given in recognition of staff who make a particular effort and go out of their way to help and support others.
The panel made three awards in this category:
Harmony Wong - Databases and Systems Officer
Much of Harmony’s job — which has been described by colleagues as “almost impossible” — involves continuing to ensure our department’s complex and superannuated data system remains fit for purpose, while also looking to develop a more efficient replacement.
“Harmony has managed our database processes with expertise, patience, and common sense throughout some challenging circumstances this year. Calm and helpful to colleagues, never panicking, dealing with last-minute changes, keeping his eye on the long-term strategic goals while dealing with short-term issues, and creating a "harmonious" environment. He is always reliable, a person that everyone can turn to when they have a problem.”
Richard Stephenson - Computer Support Officer
Richard is highly praised by colleagues for the blend of skills, attributes and knowledge he brings to his role as our Computer Support Officer, including his approachability and his ability to explain concepts to others, as well as his subject knowledge.
“Richard is an excellent fit for his role! His knowledge of IT is vast, but beyond this he has both the patience and the rare skill of being able to transfer his knowledge to others by fitting the language to the audience.”
“I love working with Richard because he is reassuringly and refreshingly user-focused. He will listen carefully to what is needed of him, and then go the extra helpful mile to make sure he delivers the best possible IT solutions that meet, and sometimes exceed, our demands and expectations.”
Hisham Maarki – Stores Manager
The Department Stores processes thousands of orders throughout the year, and Hisham’s award highlights his tenacity in making sure all our orders arrive, which can be particularly testing when supply companies and delivery processes fail.
“Hisham has a tough job, but when things don’t go to plan, he comes into his own. He is unrelenting when it comes to seeking out what’s gone wrong and how to remedy it, and often this will be dealt with before the person who ordered the item even knows there’s been a problem! He maintains a calm but persistent, and endlessly patient, manner with suppliers and drivers — even when calls have to be repeated multiple times.”
Teamwork / Collaboration Award
The winners of this award are our Senior Research Group Administration Team:
Vanessa Rodriguez Gonzalez
Our SRGA team plays a pivotal role in ensuring a huge range of activities in our research groups are completed to the highest standards. They are the first point of contact for students and staff, for everything from advising on expenses to reporting on multi-million-pound grants.
“The breadth and depth of skills and knowledge in this team of professionals is unsurpassed, and should not be overlooked. They work behind the scenes to smooth the running of groups while coordinating with multiple College departments to lift as much of the administrative burden as possible. Without the team, many of the essential tasks in the department would not take place, and the building would be a less enjoyable place to be.”
Rising Star Award
This award celebrates staff who have begun their career or changed role in the Department in the last two years. It recognises an individual who has created or grasped an opportunity to substantially develop and grow in their role.
The panel made two awards in this category:
Hakan Merdan - Teaching Fellow
Although Hakan has only been a Teaching Fellow for a short time, and he is already making a big impact on the department. He received a number of nominations all highlighting his exceptional contributions, enthusiasm and dedication across various teaching tasks.
“Hakan has quickly become a cornerstone of our team. His rapid ascension to an integral role is a testament to his remarkable capabilities and commitment. Hakan has seamlessly assumed pivotal responsibilities, including the laboratory teaching sessions, the oversight of second-year and first-year projects, and delivering our department's teaching timetable—a task that requires a high level of precision and strategic planning.”
“Hakan's amiable and accessible demeanour makes him a beloved team member. He is consistently ready to lend a hand or an ear, contributing to a collegial and supportive atmosphere.”
Vale Gapsyte - Facilities and Safety Support Officer
Vale joined the Department over the summer, and was thrown immediately in at the deep end with the re-sit exams. Her nominations show how much she brings to the role, with her colleagues clearly valuing her excellent communication skills and pro-active approach.
“Vale works well with her colleagues to make sure that room set-ups are completed, defaults are logged and followed up with Estates, and building projects can be finished. She is always friendly and diligent in her work, and has settled into the Department very quickly. When Zia was on leave, Vale stepped up and was able to resolve many of the problems that arose, despite not having been with us for long. She is a great colleague to have around!”
“Vale already has shown that she understands the role. In a job where communication is key she is enthusiastic and approachable and remembers information, passing it on it within her team appropriately ... and she has all the potential to grow.”
Award for Citizenship and Community
This award recognises individuals who have been a good citizen within the Department, and/or made an exceptional contribution benefitting the Department or wider college community.
Xingchen Zhang – Research Fellow
Xingchen’s nomination reflects his praiseworthy efforts in making complex subjects accessible and engaging to a diverse audience, raising the profile of the department in the wider community through his work in outreach and community events.
“Since he started his Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship last year, Xingchen has shown remarkable professional development and growth. Apart from being a great contributor to our research, and working as a temporary teaching fellow, Xingchen’s involvement in public engagement and demonstration of our department's research is commendable. This summer he made a great contribition to the Great Exhibition Road Festival, showcasing the Personal Robotics Lab research to over 2,000 visitors throughout the weekend. Furthermore, as part of the Faculty’s “Bring Your Child to Work Day” initiative, he volunteered to give a presentation of our “Unusual Cameras” to an audience of EEE parents and their children.”
Our final award celebrates a colleague who has inspired others throughout the year, either through the activities they have carried out at work or outside of department life.
Maha Diab – Researcher
Maha is described by colleagues as “always the first to swoop in like a superhero when there’s a problem, turning difficulties from a nightmare into a breeze.” She is praised by others not only for her excellence in research, but for helping creating a collaborative and supportive research environment.
“Maha's dedication to her research and her unwavering commitment to meeting project deadlines have earned her the trust and respect of her colleagues. She embodies the qualities and achievements that this award aims to honour. Her dedication to research, leadership abilities, and collaborative spirit make her a role model for research postgraduates.”
“Working alongside Maha is such a delightful journey because we often look at challenges from different lenses. There is nothing that brightens up my day more than her coming over to discuss an idea that she has, or when I go to her for a brainstorming session.”
"[Maha is] not just a colleague; she's the caring force that transforms our department into a family. Maha is the heart and soul of our academic community."
Congratulations to all our award winners, and thank you to everyone in the EEE community who took the time to recognise the hard work and dedication of their colleagues and nominate them.
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