Kari van Zee, senior instructor II and lead advisor for the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, received the Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes a faculty, staff member or student whose outstanding contributions helped to support and sustain the quality and effectiveness of our College.
Van Zee has taken on a plethora of roles, both official and behind the scenes. In addition to teaching and advising, she is an undergraduate coordinator, faculty senate member, Biochemistry Club advisor and Genetic Code Expansion Center outreach coordinator. On top of everything she is known for fostering a supportive community environment.
“She is a perfect example to emulate: a good friend, advisor and someone to count on for support; whatever it is, however hard it is, whether you are a student, faculty or even department head, Kari is there to help,” wrote the nominators.
Examples of her dedication include hosting social events to help undergraduate seniors brainstorm for their future, organizing the department Dam Proud Day fundraising event, helping faculty adapt for students with disabilities and coordinating pandemic safety procedures.
Colleagues noted she also dedicates her time to building a positive department culture. Van Zee is the first person to give out her information to new staff members and routinely helps plan community-building events.
“In summary, Kari is the heart of the department in so many ways,” the nominators wrote.
Champion of Science Award