Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2021 @ 8:51 AM
OTMs are “Of The Month” awards that recognize exceptional students, staff, faculty, programs, or initiatives during the month. Any resident or staff member can submit an OTM, and the general categories are: Advisor, Executive Board Member, First Year Student, Student, Residence Life Professional Staff, Institution Faculty/Staff, Organization, Resident Assistant, Student Staff Member, and Spotlight. Individuals can also recognize programs for OTMs, and those categories are: Community Service Program, Diversity Program, Educational Program, Passive Program, and Social Program. OTMs are due by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of each month and can be submitted here. The UCF OTMS are overseen by the UCF NRHH, or the National Residence Hall Honorary. Learn more about December’s winners below.
Institution Faculty/Staff: Karen Rodriguez
Karen is the Social Media Marketing Specialist for UCF Housing and was recognized this month for her continuous diversity efforts. Karen has researched and implemented the best content to support many underrepresented populations. She has also encouraged additional ideas and feedback from the department. In addition to supporting the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, Karen has spent countless hours responding to requests pertaining to anything from fall closing, COVID-19 policies and procedures, returner lottery questions, housing applications, spring move-in, and more.
Her nominator stated, “Over the last month she has gone above and beyond in her efforts to perform her duties at the highest level and use our online platforms to support our residents and their families. Karen has been a key staff member in communicating our COVID-19 and move-in changes and supporting our residents and families online, handling social media messages at a higher volume than ever before.”
Residence Life Professional Staff: Amanda Torrellas
Amanda Torrellas was recognized as the Coordinator of Residence Life and Education for the Hercules Community for her punctuality, thoroughness, and visibility to support the student staff. Amanda will be transitioning from the Department of Housing and Residence Life to the University’s TriO department of Student Development and Enrollment Services. She has proven what a fantastic contribution she’s been to the department even during this time of transition.
Her nominator stated, “I’d like to specifically highlight Amanda for this month because of how she’s helped begin to prepare me to primarily oversee the Hercules Community for the Spring 2021 semester, as there likely won’t be a candidate to fill the soon to be vacant Coordinator position until sometime in the summer months. Amanda has shown that she’s dedicated to ensuring the success of her supervisees and peers until she has fulfilled all of her commitments, and I am extremely grateful for that!
Resident Assistant: Brooke Kahan
RA Brooke was recognized for her communication skills, involvement, and general knowledge of the RA role within the Libra community. RAs had to pivot through many changes due to COVID-19, and instead of stepping down, Brook stepped up and became the lead of Staff Development as well as a great mentor to her fellow staff members. She is very knowledgeable of UCF Housing procedures and Community Living Guide protocols, and always answers the numerous questions she gets with great customer service.
Her nominator stated, “Brooke has been an essential character within the Libra community, now more than ever throughout this current COVID-19 pandemic. Her openness and ease to begin a conversation with her are highlights of her personality and examples of her, not only being a great team player, but a fantastic friend. In recapitulation, Brooke is truly the best!“
Student Staff Member: Daniela Barahona
Daniela is a Residents Assistant for the Hercules Community. She was recognized for how helpful and optimistic she was throughout December when some HAs have consolidated duty responsibilities. During winter break, Hercules is combined with two other large housing communities on campus, and RAs working over break are expected to complete rounds for all communities three times each during a duty shift (each round taking approximately thirty minutes). These rounds are what the majority of the duty shifts consist of due to the limited residents during the holiday season.
Her nominator stated, “When I had the chance to work with Daniela, she was very flexible when scheduling the rounds described above. When performing the actual rounds, she was very engaging and maintained a very professional, observing, and friendly atmosphere while performing the rounds, which made the rounds very effective and something to look forward to. Working with Daniela made it clear that she is a great student leader who creates a fun but professional effective atmosphere.”