University honors April, May 2024 Employees of the Month

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced Employees of the Month for April and May 2024. These staff members have made outstanding contributions to the KU Lawrence community.

Winners of the Employee of the Month awards receive the following:

  • A surprise visit from the provost or her designee
  • A certificate of award
  • A biography featured in KU Today
  • A $750 gross monetary award.

Nominate an employee for this award by completing and submitting the online or paper Employee of the Month nomination form and returning it to HRM by email or fax to 785-864-5790. More information is available here.

April 2024 Employees of the Month

Name: Erick Morales
Title: Art/Design Lab coordinator in the Department of Visual Art
Erick Morales
Erick Morales

Erick Morales has worked in the Department of Visual Art in various roles for about nine years. He coordinates teaching and research activities for three diverse and complex areas: metalsmithing/jewelry, printmaking and textiles. Morales’ responsibilities include teaching, giving ad hoc tours, overseeing renovations and repairs, training GTAs on studio maintenance and safety, updating and creating exhibitions, and stepping in whenever help is needed. To stay up to date in the field, he attends national professional development seminars and conferences. Colleagues describe Morales as respected and well recognized as a vital and resourceful member of the KU visual art community.

Morales’ nominator wrote, “I see Erick on a daily basis, and he is always going above and beyond. He is responsible for more areas than most lab coordinators, plus teaching. I don’t know how he does it, but I know his tireless efforts deserve to be recognized.”

Morales is said to pitch in with help as needed and has been known to help give tours in a pinch, fix small issues in the office, stay late to make sure gallery shows are hung well and get supplies at the last minute.

A co-worker wrote, “Erick is deeply committed to his work supporting the department’s mission. As an artist himself, he is passionate about wanting everyone to succeed in their research goals. He is incredibly conscientious, capable and self-motivated. Coupled with his uniquely specialized skills and knowledge, he is an invaluable employee.”

One of Morales’ peers provided an anecdote on his contribution to the Common Shop Cutting Board Challenge: “Erick contributed …with a sense of excitement and dedication that was completely voluntary. He used his personal time to craft and construct an inspirational project that was a conversation starter for many students inquiring about the event. His contribution was huge!”

Colleagues said Morales takes pride in and stands out in the work he does. He makes the workplace a kinder, more fun and more supportive place, and he is said to be a highly valued colleague in the department.

Name: Nhan Reed
Title: Grant manager, Achievement & Assessment Institute
Nhan Reed

Nhan Reed has worked with grants and as a researcher for the university for more than eight years. She leads the Achievement & Assessment Institute pre-award Grants Management group, which provides grant and contract proposal assistance with searching for funding, application preparation, proposal submission and additional services. Since transitioning into her managerial role about nine months ago, there have been multiple accolades from AAI’s centers echoing Reed's success in building her team and for the professionalism and commitment she displays daily.

Reed is said to take the time to truly build relationships with her customers — center directors, principal investigators, faculty and internal AAI staff — as well as individuals she works with across the university. Her nominator wrote that “the relationships she builds ensure trust, transparency and respect, which has greatly improved the overall experience each receives from the grant management department within AAI.”

They went on to share how Reed worked diligently to ensure everything was properly in order for a recent proposal for over $13 million with a very short turnaround time. Multiple AAI center directors have commented positively upon Reed's engagement, dedication, professionalism and work ethic.

In addition to Reed's exemplary performance on the job, she is known to promote civic engagement by volunteering the team’s time once a month to the Audio Reader Network, further enhancing team morale and contributing to the Lawrence community.

Reed's peer wrote, “It has been said that there is not a person Nhan doesn’t get along with as she has a unique way of making everyone feel comfortable, and that is 100% true!”

Reed's supervisor wrote, “Nhan has an amazing personality and is warm and welcoming. She will jump into anything that is given to her and has worked hard to build a team with the same customer service acumen. Nhan is an open book and freely shares her knowledge/skill with others on her team and across AAI/KU. It is important to her to see her team grow and succeed professionally and personally.”


May 2024 Employees of the Month

Name: Erika Holmes
Title: Manager, Campus Coffeehouses
Erika Holmes
Erika Holmes

Erika Holmes, of KU Dining, was a supervisor at The Coffeehouse, located at the School of Engineering, when nominated for this award. She has recently been promoted to manager of all Campus Coffeehouses. Holmes has been working for KU Dining of the Memorial Union for almost four years. Her supervisor wrote, “From the start, when opening a Starbucks in the engineering building, Erika was hiring, training, scheduling, ordering, maintaining brand standards and improving service, and just over a year later is holding those high standards across campus.” She is said to have built a great reputation around the engineering building, and almost all her guests are repeat customers because of the quality service she provides.

Holmes successfully balanced her class load prior to graduation with her position and was the only full-time student supervisor in KU Dining before her promotion. She graduated from the university in 2023. Her work ethic and attention to customer service is said to far exceed expectations. She is the “We Proudly Serve” brand ambassador across the Lawrence campus and contributes to the successes of the other KU Dining Starbucks locations campuswide by organizing training programs, where she teaches recipes and preparation along with the importance of knowing the history behind the product to successfully sell the menu, assisting with ordering needs and performing monthly audits. Holmes has rolled out the Coffee Traveler program across campus, offering a 96 ounce option of coffee-on-the-go, and is also piloting a revised Grab-and-Go program that provides guests with freshly made sandwiches, salads, parfaits and much more that they can conveniently eat during their commute. She also provides updates to the GrubHub WPS ordering system to ensure that it is consistent with each location and easy for the guests to order their morning latte. Holmes’ job responsibilities have primarily remained the same since becoming a manager, except she is now responsible for all eight KU Dining Coffeehouses.

Holmes has built internal relationships with students, faculty and staff within the engineering building that have directly contributed to the success of her business. She is said to be “the best in her department” by her supervisor, who also wrote that her “… work ethic and attention to customer service should be bottled and redistributed to all of our locations.”

Name: Rosalyn Lucas
Title: Administrative associate for the Department of French, Francophone & Italian Studies and Department of East Asian Literatures & Cultures
Rosalyn Lucas
Rosalyn Lucas

Rosalyn Lucas has worked for KU for just over 3 ½ years. On behalf of the two departments she works with, she collaborates with the Registrar’s Office to ensure the departmental courses are properly listed on the Course of Schedule, organizes events, prepares the newsletter, creates posters, helps faculty and guest speakers with reimbursement and honoraria, answers phone calls and emails about departmental matters, takes photos at events and much more. Colleagues describe Lucas as patient, dedicated and competent, having strong communication skills and juggling numerous tasks, and she is always willing to help faculty, has a friendly disposition and is always available to help whether she is in the office or working from home as a part of her hybrid schedule.

It has been noted by Lucas’ peers that she has a great ability to manage people and events and is an exceptional team player. Several colleagues also noted Lucas’ ability to streamline processes and that she has a to-do list and task-tracking techniques that are very efficient. One wrote, “(She)… is dedicated to the job and getting things done. Her work is often overwhelming as she handles the large majority of the administrative and outreach work for two academic units. She is constantly juggling dozens of tasks at the same time, and it is a rare occurrence for something to slip.”

The chair of one of Lucas’ departments had the following anecdote to share: “For her first full semester on the job, in the first month of that semester, we received last-minute notification that the French ambassador to the United States would be visiting, a first in the history of KU. I knew that to do my job well and provide him and his entourage with the best possible experience, I needed the person in charge of all the logistics to be exceptional. Rosalyn was. Everyone was all smiles during the visit. I could only be fully present during the ambassador’s visit because I had full trust that Rosalyn would take care of everything else, which she did. As a department chair, I consider collaboration and support from others critical for success in the job; I am so grateful to have Rosalyn as a partner in this job. She makes my job immeasurably easier and allows me to be more ambitious with what our department can accomplish.”