By Wendy Sarubbi | October 31, 2014 1:02 pm

College of Medicine staff members were recognized for their service and commitment at the medical school’s first annual Staff Awards Ceremony October 24, held on the Piazza.

“Our staff is the foundation of this medical school,” Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean Dr. Deborah German said as she opened the ceremony. “The work you do each day determines how well our future scientists and physicians get the real life experiences that will make them tomorrow’s healthcare leaders.”

The four honorees each received cash awards and a framed certificate.

Administrative and Professional (A&P) Employee of the Year Joseph Myerson said the award was so unexpected he was actually running off to grab a stray napkin that was littering the grounds when his award was announced. “All of a sudden, I heard my name and I thought, there must be a mistake,” the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences senior engineer said. Myerson’s duties are focused on safety, facilities, technology and operations. “I generally see people on the worst day of their life, when some piece of equipment is failing,” he said. “I just try to fix what I can, or find somebody who can solve the problem.”

The college presented three University Support Personnel System (USPS) Employees of the Year, one for each of its locations.

UCF Health-Regional Extension Center USPS Employee of the Year Traci Briggs was especially humbled to find out that co-workers had nominated her for the honor. As the health billing manager for the College of Medicine’s physician practice, Briggs supports all business aspects of the clinic — often assisting patients with financial processes in the midst of an illness or injury. “It just really makes my heart swell,” she said of the honor.

The USPS Medical Education Employee of the Year was Michael Pugh, a systems engineer whose nomination described him as “one of the most dedicated employees at the College of Medicine who strives each day to make the COM a better place for students and faculty.” In announcing his honor, Dr. German described Pugh as a “first responder” for his work with AV and other technology. “It’s great to have an award, but the thanks and recognition we get every day is award enough,” he said.

Senior Admissions Specialist Lisa Vaughn was the Burnett’s School’s USPS Employee of the Year and also the College of Medicine’s overall USPS Employee of the Year. Described as “the glue that holds the Burnett School together,” Vaughn received more awards nominations than any other staff member at the college with nominations from faculty, students and fellow staffers. “Receiving this award for something that I am passionate about makes this award so special,” said an emotional Vaughn. “I am inspired and motivated to continue to work even harder implementing the goals and mission of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences Program, and the College of Medicine.”

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