Jeanne Sokolowski

Jeanne Sokolowski with VPFA Chris Clement
Presidential Award of Excellence, 2016

Director

It occurs to me that we have here in our midst a secret member of the Justice League in the person of Jeanne Sokolowski, the Director of our Office of National Fellowships. I say this because, in many ways, Jeanne’s efforts since her appointment have been nothing short of super-heroic.  When she arrived in the fall of 2012, Jeanne assumed leadership of a fledgling program, one that had until recently been run part-time and without a full sense of the University’s potential.

Almost immediately, Jeanne set UNH on a new trajectory via vigorous marketing of competitive scholarships and fellowships, broad recruitment of student applicants from diverse backgrounds, and superlative support of students and faculty through every stage of the application process. Evidence of her prolific efforts abounds:

”Since she took over the position, UNH has seen a steady stream of major award winners. This year, 12 of the 15 Fulbright applicants were finalists, and at least 9 have received the awards—a remarkable achievement,” writes one grateful colleague.

A recent Goldwater Scholar remarks: “In 2014, there were two other Goldwater Scholars from UNH; it was UNH’s most successful year for the scholarship, outperforming Harvard, MIT, Dartmouth, and other top-notch schools.”  Another student notes: “Jeanne worked tirelessly to help me secure one of 32 national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fellowships worth $50,000, including two years of tuition coverage, an internship, and other benefits.”

Beyond, as one colleague puts it, “transforming and elevating . . . the Office of National Fellowships at UNH,” Jeanne, through her exacting standards, renowned work ethic, and unflagging encouragement of students and faculty has impacted directly nearly every single focus area of the University’s strategic plan, notably promoting STEM education, strengthening the UNH brand, and boosting enrollment and retention.

As if all of this weren’t enough to secure Jeanne’s superhero status, she is herself a former Fulbright scholar who, according to an Honors Program staffer, “. . . speaks multiple ‘critical languages’ and models a spirit of intellectual curiosity and social service.”

About This Award

All members of the university community, including leadership, supervisors & managers, peers, colleagues and students may nominate any qualified staff member by completing the Presidential Award of Excellence nomination form online or by requesting a paper application from Human Resources and forwarding it to the Presidential Award of Excellence Peer Review Committee, c/o Human Resources, Nesmith Hall each year by the deadline.