Faculty and Staff Fall 2023 Convocation Awards

Published: August 30, 2023

UW-Parkside is proud to present our Fall 2023 faculty and staff convocation award winners:

  • Academic Staff Distinguished Service Award - Christopher Robaidek
  • University Staff Distinguished Service Award - Jennifer Agerholm and Carol Dalton
  • Faculty Distinguished Service Award - Suresh Chalasani
  • Excellence in Advising Award -  Calvin Watts
  • Community Engaged Learning and Research Award- Dr. Greg Cramer
  • Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award – Carey Watters
  • Early Career Excellence in Teaching Award- Rebeccah Mackinnon
  • Early Career Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award- Dr. Bingqing “Claire” Wu
  • Stella C. Gray Teaching Excellence Awards - Melissa Gregg and Heidi Ertl
  • University Diversity Award - Luis Benevoglienti

  • Supervisor of the Year - Amanda Markwardt

*Note: You can find last year's award winners here.

Academic Staff Distinguished Service AwardChris Robaidek
Christopher Robaidek | User Support Supervisor

The winner of the Fall 2023 Academic Staff Distinguished Service Award is Chris Robaidek. Robaidek was an Instructional Program Manager 1999 to 2022. He is currently the User Support Supervisor. In his role, Robaidek manages all Student Tech computer labs and is the steward of some of the College and Department labs.

In past roles, Robaidek managed the Help Desk and computer lab student staff from 1999 to 2010. He facilitated the sale or e recycling for end of life technology for most of the campus, generated auction revenue of $20,000 in FY ’23, and managed the $400K+ annual Student Tech Fee budget.

Robaidek served as an Academic Staff Policy and Procedures Committee member from 2013-17 and served as the Staff Advisor to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship student organization since fall of 2022.

Robaidek is also very active in the community. He has given 25 gallons of blood, participated in mission trips to Tijuana Mexico to build homes for poor families, and has held several officer positions over 12 years on the Parish Board of his church. He has served as the team lead for all chicken cooked at the Racine Greek Fest from 2008 to present and volunteers monthly at the Shalom Center to serve evening meals.

Congratulations, Chris!

University Staff Distinguished Service AwardJennifer Agerholm
Jennifer Agerholm | Accountant

Jennifer Agerholm has served the campus community for over 17 years. Agerholm is not only the campus accountant but is also the post-award grant accountant and works with the individuals receiving grants to ensure they are used appropriately. Agerholm has also trained numerous student interns through the TMAC internship and is proud to have been a part of preparing them for their post-graduation careers.

She has trained a large portion of the campus on financial literacy. As part of her training duties, Agerholm must stay up to date with the most current relevant information on the policy and procedures of UW System finances. She serves on the campus ATP Workday team which is preparing for a July 2024 launch.

Agerholm is the longest tenured employee in Business Services, which makes her the “go to” person; a role that she cheerfully accepts. She is always available to answer questions, explain a new process and, get things done.

Outside of work, Jennifer is blessed to have two overachieving student athlete daughters who just started their senior & sophomore years of high school. Jennifer is very involved volunteering with their high school and athletic teams and makes every effort to attend all their volleyball and softball games.

Congratulations, Jennifer!

Carol DaltonUniversity Staff Distinguished Service Award
Carol DaltonStudent Affairs Program Coordinator

Carol Dalton has served the UW-Parkside learning community for nearly 37 years. It is rumored that Carol bleeds Parkside green. She began her Parkside journey as a Pre-K 4 teacher at the UW-Parkside Child Care Center in 1986 and eventually progressed to the role of Child Care Center Director. That was Carol’s first experience supporting future Rangers and their families, and where she found her passion for serving and supporting students.

About 10 years ago, Carol transitioned to her current position in Student Engagement & Connection where she connects with our students and meets them where they are at every day. Carol works tirelessly to foster a vibrant campus atmosphere that positively impacts the students’ college experience. For Carol, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing students become highly involved in the campus community and earning their degrees to make their mark on the world.

In addition to her work at UW-Parkside, you can find Carol teaching fitness classes to SC Johnson employees and their families. Carol is fueled by her passion for positively influencing young people and her desire to see them succeed.

Congratulations, Carol!

Faculty Distinguished Service AwardSuresh Chalasani
Dr. Suresh ChalasaniProfessor, Business Department

Dr. Suresh Chalasani is a professor of Management Information Systems and has served the university for over 20 years.

Dr. Chalasani was the founding director for the Solutions for Economic Growth center and the founding Academic Director for several collaborative programs including the MS in IT Management, MS in Cybersecurity, and Graduate Certificates in Digital Marketing. Dr. Chalasani also helped launch undergraduate online courses and an online undergraduate certificate in project management. He helped launch the first competency-based education programs in the UW System. The Flex BSBA is the world's first AACSB accredited competency-based business degree.

Dr. Chalasani contributed to HLC and AACSB accreditation efforts and was the HLC's Accreditation Liaison Officer during the 10-year HLC re-accreditation effort.

Congratulations, Suresh!

Calvin WattsExcellence in Advising Award
Calvin Watts | Academic Advisor, College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies

Calvin Watts is the recipient of the Fall 2023 Advising Excellence award. Previously, Watts was an academic advisor at Fort Lewis College from 2015-2021 and currently serves as a College Advisor for the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies at UW-Parkside.

Watts earned a Bachelor of Science in History from South Dakota State University (2013) and a Master’s of Science in Higher Education & Student Affairs from St. Cloud State University (2015). In his free time, Watts enjoys spending time with my wife, Margaret Watts.

In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, volunteering at the Civil War Museum, and serving as Vice President for the Friends of the Kenosha Public Library. Watts would like to thank Margaret for pushing him to pursue his personal and professional goals, while keeping Him grounded at the same time.

Congratulations, Cal!

Community Engaged Learning and Research Award
Dr. Greg CramerAssociate Professor, Institute of Professional Educator Development Department

Greg CramerDr. Gregory Cramer has spent the last 8 years at UW-Parkside in the Department of Teacher Education teaching courses related to English as a Second Language (ESL), Bilingual Education, and Social Studies. He created licensure programs for ESL and Bilingual Education to address teacher shortages in high-needs areas. Dr. Cramer has taught a variety of community-based learning courses for the department and worked with a community partner, Racine University School District (RUSD), to create an alternate-route pathway for RUSD teachers to obtain their bilingual credentials. Dr. Cramer also engages with the statewide bilingual education community by serving on the executive board of the Wisconsin Association of Bilingual Education. His research interests include bilingual and ESL education, immigrants and undocumented students in U.S. K-12 schools, and civics and citizenship education. Before teaching at the university level, Gregory taught bilingual social studies in the Milwaukee public schools for 15 years.

Congratulations, Greg!

Carey WattersExcellence in Research and Creative Activity Award
Carey Watters | Associate Professor, Art and Design Department

Carey Watters is a professor of graphic design. She received her MFA in printmaking and book arts from UW-Madison. Her book and collage work weave together concepts regarding feminism, historic map making, and religious and pagan symbolism. Insect pins and needle and thread connect age-old imagery and iconography to her personal narratives in a labor-intensive process. Her work is a direct result of her residencies and travels to Calabria, Basilicata, and Sicily, Italy and her research of Byzantine architecture, design, and religious reliquaries. She uses many different techniques in her artwork, reproducing ancient patterns and surfaces found in religious artifacts.

Professor Watters’ work has been exhibited internationally, and she was awarded Best in Show at the Trout Museum of Art, in Appleton, Wisconsin, Contemporary Art Exhibition. Recently, Watters taught a book and paper workshop to international art students and served as an artist-in-residence at MADE Labs in Siracusa, Sicily.

Congratulations, Carey!

Rebeccah MacKinnonEarly Career Excellence in Teaching Award
Rebeccah MackinnonLecturer, Mathematics And Physics Department

Rebeccah MacKinnon has been a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Physics at UW-Parkside since 2019. She teaches the introductory college math classes with her trademark enthusiasm, empathy, and passion for student success. She serves as liaison to the PARC (Parkside Academic Resource Center) for the math department and as Parkside’s representative on the UW System Math Placement Test Committee. In the 2022-2023 academic year, she participated in the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program and completed a research project on the relationship between offering test corrections and math anxiety. Before coming to Parkside, Rebeccah earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Iowa studying low-dimensional topology. 

Congratulations, Rebeccah!

Bingqing WuEarly Career Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award
Dr. Bingqing “Claire” Wu | Assistant Professor of Management, Business Department

Dr. Bingqing “Claire” Wu is an Assistant Professor of Management (SHRM Certified Professional and Coactive Leadership Coach). She earned her master's degree in Labor and Employment Relations from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her doctoral degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Additionally, she was a Chicago Metropolitan Exchange Scholar at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Dr. Wu's primary areas of research interest include leadership, ambivalence, and creativity. Her work has been featured in reputable journal outlets, including the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Business and Psychology, and Journal of General Management. Moreover, she has presented numerously at international and national management conferences, such as the Academy of Management and the Southern Management Association, where she was honored with the Best Paper Award.

Congratulations, Claire!

Melissa GreggStella C. Gray Teaching Excellence Award
Melissa Gregg | Department Chair and Associate Professor, Psychology, Professional Counseling, and Neuroscience Department

Dr. Melissa Gregg is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Psychology, Professional Counseling, and Neuroscience department. She also directs the Perception, Cognition, and Neuroscience Lab at Parkside, where she conducts research with several brilliant Parkside students. Dr. Gregg and her student colleagues examine the plasticity of sensory systems, the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying natural scene perception, long-term memory for environmental objects, and the design of human-machine interfaces. She enjoys bringing her love for research into the classroom and watching all of the brilliant students here at UW-Parkside turn into young researchers themselves.

Congratulations, Melissa!

Heidi ErtlStella C. Gray Teaching Excellence Award
Heidi Ertl | Senior Lecturer, Mathematics And Physics Department

Heidi Ertl is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Physics in the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The 2023-2024 academic year will be Heidi’s tenth year teaching at UW-Parkside. Heidi is passionate about teaching mathematics and has taught a variety of introductory mathematics and algebra courses. Heidi’s students speak very highly of her teaching abilities and commend her for the ways in which she makes mathematics relevant and meaningful.

In addition to teaching, Heidi has been very involved in outreach programs on campus and in the local community, having served as the College of Natural and Health Sciences Outreach and Enrollment Liaison. Heidi was also involved in a grant project which aimed to help area in-service middle school mathematics teachers improve their mathematics pedagogy.

Ertl has her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and her M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

 She is a proud alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (2011).

Congratulations, Heidi!

Luis BenevoglientiUniversity Diversity Award
Luis Benevoglienti | Multicultural Initiatves Associate Director

Luis Benevoglienti is the Associate Director of Multicultural Initiatives at UW-Parkside and a proud alum. Luis provides oversight to the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) and the Genders & Sexualities Advocacy Center.

Luis has a strong sense of service, giving back, and collaboration. He led the efforts for the 40-year anniversary celebration of the OMSA at UW-Parkside including the launch of the OMSA Excellence Scholarship and the commissioning of the new mural in the OMSA office. Luis is also part of the Hispanic Serving Institution Network of Wisconsin and currently serves as their Education Committee Chair.

Congratulations, Luis!

Amanda MarkwardtSupervisor of the Year
Amanda Markwardt | Multicultural Initiative Specialist

Amanda Markwardt has served as a Multicultural Initiatives Specialist in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) at UW-Parkside since January of 2020. She coordinates the Always Reaching Upward (ARU) Mentoring Program and supervises the ARU Mentors and ARU Student Coordinator. She also works with DACA/Undocumented Student Initiatives and Resources, Hispanic Heritage Month Programming, and Asian Heritage Month Programming, and other OMSA signature programs and events. She has served as an advisor for Parkside Asian Organization, Sigma Lambda Gamma, and is currently trying to assist Muslim Student Association in reactivating.

Markwardt earned her Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) in Adult, Continuing, Higher Education Administration. She served Latino/a/x identifying students at the UWM Roberto Hernández Center working on various outreach, retention, student development initiatives. She also worked with UWM Student Involvement where she coordinated arts and cultural programming and acted as a liaison for student organizations. She attended Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Bowling Green, OH where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations. She is also a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc.

Markwardt is passionate about advocacy, student success, leadership, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI), and empowering student voice.

Congratulations, Amanda!


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