University announces February Employees of the Month

Thu, 04/27/2017

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the February 2017 Employees of the Month:

Name: John Nelson Hronek

Title: Academic adviser and coordinator of the Undergraduate Advising Center

What that means: John Nelson Hronek advises students of all academic interests but works mostly with exception admits and probation students on developing and achieving academic goals. Nelson Hronek is a model adviser. His passion for higher education and student success is exemplified by his tremendous work ethic. Last year in the UAC, he met with more students than any other adviser in the office, a testament to both his dedication to serving students and the meaningful relationships that he builds with them.

Notable: Nelson Hronek frequently stays at work after the office is closed to meet with students who request to see him when his calendar is full. He is also well-known to come to the office on the weekend to work on recommendation letters and financial aid appeals for students when he's too busy during the week to write them. A co-worker once asked Nelson Hronek why he seemed to put in so much time, and the answer he gave embodies his philosophy in advising: "I would feel bad if I took a break and a student needed me to help them. This is why I'm here." Nelson Hronek’s dedication to students is what led to him receiving the Advisor of the Year Award during his first year with the UAC.

Nelson Hronek has been in the UAC for more than three years and during that time he has partnered with multiple offices for programming initiatives. He works closely with the University Career Center to a Common Presentation to UNIV 101 students, he earned a spot as a UNIV Fellow, he works closely with the Office of Financial Aid as a member of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee, and he's been instrumental as part of the board for the OPTIONS program this year, speaking with prospective and current students in the program on how to transition from high school to college. Last year, he supervised peer success coaches in the UAC, serving as a mentor to students who wanted additional insight into how to be holistically educated and accomplished.

More than all this, however, Nelson Hronek can't leave his office without seeing a student he knows who is excited to see him. Despite meeting with hundreds of students over the past three years, Nelson Hronek remembers each individual's name and always tells them to stop by his office to catch up if they have a chance — and many do. Nelson Hronek’s commitment to students and to this institution is exceptional.

Name: Mary Lou Strong
Title: Administrative assistant, Human Resource Management

What that means: Mary Lou Strong answers all incoming calls, schedules meetings for HRM directors, sends and organizes mail, assists in preparations for the annual recognition ceremony, completes and tracks all worker’s compensation documentation, collects and tracks annual salary notices, makes sure office supplies remain in stock, and submits work orders for the department and the building. If you have ever called Human Resource Management or walked into the office, you have likely been greeted with a smile and a welcoming “Hello!” from Strong. 

Notable: She is efficient and already two steps ahead in completing what’s needed. Strong makes sure that whoever calls or visits HRM gets exactly what they need, even if it’s in a different department or unit. Potential employees and students as potential employees often use the computers in the HRM front office to apply for positions, and Strong always takes the time to sit with and provides assistance to applicants in completing the employment application. 

Strong has been with KU for more than 20 years, and she has an immense knowledge about the university. Strong knows many employees at KU, and people are always stopping in to say hello. People enjoy interacting with Strong because she is genuinely interested and adds a personal touch to each conversation, as she remembers details and asks about what each person values, their family, their pets, their work. 
At times, callers and visitors of HRM are going through stressful situations such as a workplace injury, medical leave and workplace concerns. Strong is mindful of this in every interaction making sure her service is prompt, accurate and considerate. Her dedication to HRM and KU is unmatched. 



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