Visitors & Friends > UCSD News > Releases > Arts & Humanities

May 26, 2005

UCSD Honors 10 Exemplary Staff In
20th Anniversary Of Recognition Program

By Colleen DeLory

UCSD has honored 10 exemplary staff members and celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the program that recognizes their contributions to UCSD and San Diego. At the UCSD Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award ceremony held Monday, May 23, Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and campus leaders recognized the award recipients, who represent a broad spectrum of service to the campus and within the community.

From left to right: Rogers Davis, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Human Resources; Theotis Duncan; David Cupp; Penny Dockry; Leann Cortimiglia; Aaron Borovoy; Chancellor Marye Anne Fox; Esteban Marquez; Brenda Wong; Lourdes (Lou) Felix; Julia Engstrom; Ann Fulcher

From their positions in the UCSD Regional Burn Center to the Financial Aid Office, these individuals have had a profound impact on bettering the lives of San Diegans. They are distinguished by their extraordinary efforts in serving others, including at-risk youth, seniors, and the homeless. In addition, they are being recognized as individuals who stretch the limits of what is possible in contributing to the excellence of the institution.

Principal staff employee of the year Leann Cortimiglia is a nurse at the UCSD Regional Burn Center and a clinical expert, mentor, volunteer and patient/family advocate. In addition to her daily duties, she promotes community partnerships with other burn facilities and educational programs, and gives wound care presentations at national conferences. As a volunteer, Cortimiglia has been the lead medical relief team member for Mexican migrant camps, a medical team coordinator for the Avon Breast Cancer three-day walk, a counselor and clown (Miss Scissors) for UCSD Burn Survivor programs, a medical trainer for H Town High School football, and organizer of Operation Holiday, where UCSD employees sent items to our troops in Iraq. A foster mom, Cortimiglia has successfully assisted 12 children – five of whom were UCSD Burn Center patients – in becoming loving, productive young men and women. Her compelling work on behalf of patients, families and the community has influenced the lives of many.

A senior publications coordinator, Aaron Borovoy helped redefine the software that tracks and integrates UCSD Publications projects. The new system is more responsive to client needs and generates financial and staffing reports that save hours of work and provide management tools. Borovoy also expanded the local vendor list, learning about new services and technologies, decreasing turnaround time and increasing diversity in the vendor pool. In the community, he is currently first vice president/president elect of Temple Emanu-El; on the executive committee of J*Pride, an outreach program to the LGBT Jewish community; and is a member of the Grocery Hearts Organizing Committee, a food pantry for people with HIV/AIDS. San Diego’s leaders and organizations have recognized his outstanding service. Most notably, he and his partner received a Champion of Pride Award from the San Diego LGBT Pride Committee and City Council Member Toni Atkins proclaimed Aaron Borovoy Day in the Third District of San Diego.

An information technology manager, David Cupp develops programs that save Admissions and Enrollment Services hundreds of hours of work every quarter. He also worked with several technology departments to eliminate duplication of hardware resources, cutting the number of dedicated database servers in half. His efforts are supported by a student staff identified through his campus outreach. Active in the community, Cupp’s longstanding involvement with the Rotary Club includes serving as chairman of the Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship Selection Committee for San Diego and Imperial counties. He also served as chairman of the Rotary Foundation Peace Scholarship Selection Committee, on the board of directors and as chairman of the International Committee of Rotary Club of La Jolla, and as a staff advisor to the UCSD Rotaract Club. With coworker Beth Surrell, he established a UCSD student Toastmasters Club, and he has led student teams in volunteer activities supporting the homeless.

As program manager for the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Penny Dockry has been a crucial part of CMBC’s development from an idea into a multimillion dollar operation. She helped secure a $250,000 grant for a series of three international meetings, and a $3,500,000 grant from the NSF’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Training Program. She was also instrumental in establishing a new professional master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation. An active community member, Dockry is an advocate for the American Cancer and Heart associations, and a member of the Women of the Moose, an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of children and the elderly in need. You can often find her cooking or serving seniors dinner at the Mira Mesa Moose Lodge, collecting toys and clothes for distribution at Christmas to an orphanage in Mexico, or helping at a charity fund-raising event.

Theotis Duncan has served the University for 23 years and is currently a senior custodian supervisor. He was a key contributor in reducing cleaning expenses more than $600,000 annually since the 2001-2002 fiscal year, while maintaining or improving customer and employee satisfaction scores. Duncan has helped implement training programs and develop manageable staff workloads. In the community, he is active with Helping Hand Church, serving as president of its board of trustees and developing a youth program that included singing, dancing, poetry and a play that children performed to raise money for disadvantaged youth. He also participates in the Outreach Ministry, visiting hospitals and convalescent homes, providing food and clothing, and ministering to the homeless. At UCSD, he worked with the Black Staff Association to organize a “Motown Revue” for the campus community. In addition, Duncan and his coworkers raised money to assist a terminally ill employee with medical bills and other expenses.

As director of catering, Julia Engstrom has grown the operation from $600,000 in annual sales to $2.5 million a year. She motivates and leads a staff who put customer needs first, and directs a culinary and service program that makes events memorable. Engstrom steps out of the box to ensure things are perfect for her clients. She recently worked with a client’s wife to learn how to make foods from India to ensure an international menu was authentic in taste. When asked why she went to this trouble, Engstrom responded, “It is what we are here for – to exceed the client’s expectations and wishes; it is the sign of a great catering company.” She creates a positive environment by working and learning with employees, sharing customer praise and acting as a mentor. Engstrom helps develop UCSD Staff Appreciation Week and many holiday events, and has been a member of the UCSD Special Events Council. She teaches classes on cooking and menu planning and coordinates the food at the Chancellor’s 5K Challenge each fall.

Lourdes Felix has served the University for over 28 years and is currently executive assistant to the vice chancellor of Health Sciences. Her gift for making things happen has played a critical role in achieving major initiatives and planning for those in the future. In addition to representing Health Sciences on campus committees, her contributions extend to youth, parents, students, staff, and the community. She has acted as a staff mentor, donated her leave time to other UCSD staff in need, served the Chicano Alumni Association, mentored community college students transferring to UCSD, and volunteers as a speaker at East San Diego elementary schools, encouraging students to stay in school. In support of diversity awareness, Felix is a member of the Friends of the Cross Cultural Center board, and is co-president of the Chicano/Latino Staff Association. She also organizes a holiday Adopt-a-Family program and is member of San Diego MANA, a local network of Latinas and community supporters.

Starting in a volunteer position, Ann Fulcher assisted in securing a grant that enabled her to be hired as the program manager for the UCSD Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doula Program. She educates volunteers in how to provide continuous, one-to-one physical and emotional care during a woman's labor and birth. While doulas are no longer unique in medical settings, a completely volunteer staff is. The services are offered to any woman giving birth at UCSD Medical Center’s Birth Center or Labor and Delivery Unit, and Fulcher ensures the program reaches out to women who normally wouldn't be able to pay for a doula. This program is the only one of its kind in Southern California, and Fulcher’s expertise is frequently sought out by others across the country. Her passion for the birth process and women’s empowerment are contagious, which is why this program has been so successful. Fulcher continually seeks out ways to better the program, such as encouraging volunteers to become certified doulas.

A UCSD graduate and former financial aid counselor, Esteban Marquez currently works in the Financial Aid Office’s systems area, where he has saved funds by reducing “paper” costs and streamlining processes, improved student services, and enhanced staff training via technology. He volunteers with the California Association of Financial Aid Administrators and is known throughout the state as someone who is willing to share information and set up activities that will benefit other members, students and their schools. Marquez also serves as the main Spanish-speaking presenter for financial aid outreach. Giving presentations to parents and youth, he works to carry the message of post-secondary accessibility to under-represented and low income groups. Active in the Knights of Columbus, he has been involved in clean-up campaigns and fund raisers to support the mentally disabled. Because of his generous spirit and strong commitments, Marquez has helped many in our community to have a brighter future.

A biosafety officer, Brenda Wong is regarded nationally as a subject matter expert in the area of Recombinant DNA biosafety. She finds solutions to complex regulatory problems, helping the University to achieve its state-of-the-art level in biomedical research while maintaining safety. She has been a member of the Biological Safety Information Network, the Metropolitan Medical Strike Team, and the American Biological Safety Association. Wong engages in cross-border science education at the Technical Institute of Tijuana and participates in the Consortium of High Schools/Undergraduate and Medical Schools. She has spoken at conferences hosted by the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society, and the California Public Health Laboratory Directors. Wong mentors students and staff, helping to develop their scientific interests and goes out of her way to support the educational and regulatory needs of foreign, visiting scholars. She is a member and past chair of the UCSD Pan-Asian Staff Association.

Media Contact: Colleen DeLory (858) 822-3566

Print this story
Email this story
-->" />  

E-mail ail E-mail Janet Howard for any comments regarding this webpage. Updated daily by University Communications Office
Copyright ©2001 Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

UCSD Official web page of the University of California, San Diego