University-wide Staff Awards
The 2011 Social Justice Award
For the past five years, Susanna Gallor, a staff psychologist at the UNH Counseling Center, has contributed her strong vision of what it means to practice psychology and therapy from a social justice perspective.
“When I feel the true spirit of collaboration on the job, that’s rewarding,” Gallor says. “It may be with a client as I walk with him or her on a very personal journey of self discovery. It may be with other staff members as we develop programming to help others learn about themselves, their work, and how to be a part of making this a more just world.”
Gallor counsels undergraduate and graduate students, both individually and in groups, on concerns ranging from stress and anxiety, to grief and loss, eating, academics, relationships, and family. She has a special interest in identity development, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT)-related experiences, and cultural diversity. Within the Counseling Center, she facilitates a series of seminars for predoctoral interns, which focus on multicultural and social justice counseling competency.
Gallor is also part of a group of facilitators and educators who provide the Social Justice Educator Trainings for faculty and staff. Many University organizations have benefited from Gallor’s participation, including the President’s Commission on the Status of People of Color, the Student of Color Recruitment and Retention Committee, and the UNH Diversity Team.
“I see myself as a psychologist,” Gallor says, “and also as an advocate. I try to empower students and others across many different levels.”
-- photo by Perry Smith
The 2011 UNH Women's Commission Stephanie Thomas Staff Award
If you asked Dawn Zitney to create a career that would allow her to pursue her life’s mission with passion and impact, she wouldn’t change much at all.
Working to empower young women? Check
Using social media to promote women’s health, safety, and self-awareness in creative new ways? She does that everyday.
Showing students how keeping a personal journal can build self-awareness, confidence, and assertiveness? It’s one of her favorite parts of the job.
In fact, when Zitney’s workday ends at the UNH Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), she can be found leading expressive writing workshops, volunteering as a board member at the Joan G. Lovering Health Center (formerly the Feminist Health Center of Portsmouth) and, finally, taking her own advice and nurturing her health, sense of well-being, and community.
“I’m very proud to call myself a feminist,” says Zitney, SHARPP media outreach coordinator. “I’ve always had a deep commitment to women’s issues, so this is very much a part of who I am.”
Zitney came to UNH in 2004, joining the Office of Health Education and Promotion at UNH Health Services as the office supervisor, and moving to her position at SHARPP last year. Her skills in social media, creative marketing, and facilitating small groups have proven instrumental in both positions, and her work earns high praise from colleagues and students.
In 2006, she and Corey Brown, a wellness counselor/educator at UNH Health Services, created a new women’s group for students: Being Fierce and Fabulous. Meeting weekly for eight weeks, the group provides “women a safe space to explore who they are in order to live lives that are fulfilling emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually.” More than 100 students have been through the program, which features guided meditation, expressive arts, body movement, and group discussions.
“Being Fierce and Fabulous means to love the strong, beautiful, wonderful, person you are and to love others the same way,” wrote one participant.
Zitney hopes to reach even more people on campus, throughout the region, and beyond. “It’s important for us to put a face to feminism, and for people to recognize the great diversity that’s there,” Zitney says.
-- Jim Graham
-- photo by Mike Ross
The 2011 Joyce Gibbs Award
Through the Office of Community Service and Learning, program coordinator Lisa Ciccotelli makes service opportunities available to UNH students by maintaining relationships with supervisors at more than a 100 community organizations and nonprofits.
Volunteer experiences can be short-term such as helping with a 5-K fundraiser or more long term such as reading to a child throughout the semester. Students from all majors participate and placements range from nearby Oyster River Middle School in Durham to as far as the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
“When service is part of a class, it’s required that the student apply theory to practice,” Ciccotelli says. “As examples, a student may serve as a mentor to youth, as a support for families of incarcerated adults, work with children with special needs, adults with acquired brain injury, or older adults in assisted living or an Alzheimer unit. It’s an opportunity for students to learn, and to grow.”
“If students tell me they’re going to continue volunteering ‘just because,’” Ciccotelli says, “then I know the experience has transformed them.”
Each year, a few hundred students find service opportunities through the Office of Community Service and Learning. Anyone is welcome to contact the office for support and resources.
For more than a decade, Ciccotelli has helped put together food baskets for the Cornucopia Food Pantry. She also volunteers as a trained advocate for SHARPP (Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program). And, with UNH Relay for Life, she captains her own team, enlisting both her sons. But this past spring, her eighth grader formed a team of his own.
As Ciccotelli both teaches and demonstrates, the best part about the “talk” really is the “walk.”
-- Carrie Sherman
-- photo by Lisa Nugent
The 2011 UNH Professional Advising Award
A chance remark took Caitlin Baldwin from a career in newspapers into higher education. Assigned to cover a number of local tragedies, the young reporter found herself unhappy about approaching people at funerals, photographer in tow, to ask them interview questions, and mentioned her concern to her editor.
“He told me I needed to lose my heart if I wanted to be in the newspaper business, and that just sat completely wrong with me,” Baldwin recalls. It wasn’t long after that she quit her job and enrolled in a program to earn a master’s degree in higher education administration.
It is to UNH’s benefit that she did. At the University since 2006, Baldwin spent five years in the University Advising and Career Center, helping undeclared first-year and sophomore students feel their way toward their academic interests and goals. She describes the work as immensely rewarding, particularly helping first-generation students who might not have the resources and support at home that other students did.
“You see this weight lifted off them, and genuine excitement take its place as they find what they really are interested in and want to do,” Baldwin says. A three-sport athlete in college, Baldwin also served as a valuable resource for new UNH student-athletes struggling to balance sports and a demanding academic workload.
Earlier this year, Baldwin moved from the UACC to the CEPS dean’s office, but her contributions at the UACC won’t soon be forgotten.
"Caitlin is highly skilled at helping students investigate their interests and how they compare to UNH academic opportunities and post-UNH opportunities, providing them with a thorough approach to identifying majors and how they relate to life after college,” says UACC Associate Director Andy Colby. “I have no doubt that her skills are as great an asset to CEPS as they were to us in the UACC.”
-- Kristin Duisberg
-- photo by Perry Smith