Faculty and staff at Bellevue College have received $1,000 each for their contribution to the institution and its students. In conjunction with the Margin of Excellence Awards, six employees were nominated by students, faculty and staff to be honored for outstanding work.
While the recipients all displayed similar work ethic and dedication to the College, each showed special care and attention to distinct aspects of college life.
The Bellevue College Foundation, which is directed by a board of 27 community volunteers, conferred the awards.
Richele Buoy, Advising Information Specialist at the College, received the Margin of Excellence Award for her work in the Educational Planning Advising Center.
Despite only being a college employee for two years, Buoy has earned a reputation as a dedicated and caring employee. On a daily basis Buoy assists up to 300 students, offering advice and answering questions. Buoy also manages over 19 advisors’ and counselors’ schedules.
“Since advising is one of the first departments with which new students interact, her pleasant demeanor and helpful attitude become the welcoming face of the entire college,” the award citation read.
However, when a first generation student comes to Buoy with a question regarding learning aid, Ron Holland would be an appropriate contact.
Holland, a program specialist in the College’s TRiO program, has developed strategies to enhance the way specific students receive academic and personal support. These include those with disabilities, limited income or first generation students.
Holland developed an English-as-a-Second-Language assistance program after he learned that TRiO students were struggling with studies due to limited English proficiency. He was described in the award citation as, “a dedicated advocate working tirelessly to ensure the success of Bellevue College’s students.”
Two teachers that also demonstrated a dedication to the student body were Louis Watanabe and Mary Thorp, who both received Margin of Excellence Awards.
Thorp, a nursing instructor with the College, has taught behavioral health, gerontological, and medical and surgical nursing. Her experience has helped teach, motivate and give confidence to students at the College.
The award citation said that, “Thorp expects greatness from her students and always gives her time and extra support to any student in need. Nursing students have consistently chosen Thorp to be their faculty speaker at the program’s culminating ceremony- underlining how much of an inspiration she is to them.”
Watanabe, a business instructor with the College, joined Bellevue College 7 years ago after pursuing a successful entrepreneurial career in computer software development. Since joining BC, the Seattle-based instructor has become extremely active in college life, ensuring the success of on-campus events including the American Film Festival and Living Treasures banquet.
Many of the events at the College rely on the revenue provided by international students, as well as their attendance. Weihong Geiger, a Chinese language instructor at the college, has received an award for her outstanding leadership, especially in building upon the College’s international relations.
Geiger, who has worked at the College for four years, was integral in negotiating agreements with two sister colleges in Shanghai and Beijing.
The College said that Geiger “has the ability to encourage her students to become involved and extend themselves. She strives to make sure that each student feels they are the center of the class, no matter where they are sitting.”
One recipient of the Margin of Excellence Award was Carol Ryckman, whose tireless work behind the scenes earned her the honor.
Ryckman, who is Administrative Services Manager, started her career at the College seven years ago as an office assistant. Through hard work Ryckman was promoted to the position she holds now, which entails assisting students, supervising staff, overseeing budgets and building course schedules.
“Since advising is one of the first departments with which new students interact, [Richele Buoy’s] pleasant demeanor and helpful attitude become the welcoming face of the entire college.”
Ryckman was described as “a champion multi-tasker who handles administrators, faculty, staff and students with aplomb, wit and a smile,” in the award citation.
As individuals they represented specific beliefs, but as a group they represented the commitment Bellevue College has to every student, staff and faculty member.