2007 Outstanding Staff Award: Donna Vaught
In the several nomination letters recommending Donna Vaught, executive staff assistant II for CAFNR Associate Dean Paul Vaughn, one word is consistent: professionalism.
"The epitome of professionalism," David Trinklein, associate professor of plant sciences wrote. "She handles scholarships with professionalism and pride," reported Jessy Reuterdahl, who graduated in 2006.
"She serves her roles in a very professional manner and provides the same courtesy to failing students and irrational parents as to scholarship donors and administrators," agreed Cindy Glascock, CAFNR Divison of Animal Sciences business manager and George Jesse, undergraduate adviser chair of the Division of Animal Sciences.
Vaught has worked at CAFNR for more than 25 years. She came to the College in the seventies and worked for former associate dean Homer Folks. After living in Colorado, she returned to CAFNR in 1990 and since has advanced through several offices: the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Office of Advancement and the Academic Programs Office. Vaught has "trained" approximately 15 associate deans, assistant deans, interim associate deans and directors with finesse.
"Donna's professionalism is most evident in the way that she cares," wrote Stephanie Chipman, director of CAFNR Career Services. "She is always ready to help a colleague, be it someone who is sick and needs a meal or someone who needs help with a project at work. I've seen her stay late to finish her own projects after helping someone else with theirs."
"SHE IS KNOWN BY STUDENTS, PARENTS AND FACULTY AS A PERSON WHO MAKES EVERY EFFORT TO BE OF ASSISTANCE, WHETHER IT BE FOR A STUDENT LOAN, SCHOLARSHIP OR INFORMATION ON HOW TO TRANSFER TO THE COLLEGE. I RECEIVE COMPLIMENTS FROM THEM ALL AND THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL ABOUT DONNA AND HER CHEERFUL, PROFESSIONAL MANNER. I THINK SHE IS PRICELESS."
— CAFNR Associate Dean Paul Vaughn
Students are more than a number to her, one nomination letter reads. They are her children, the inspiration for her beaming smile, the notation continued. "In her 14 years of work on the scholarship committee alone, she assisted with more than 10,000 scholarships. She has helped put nearly $10 million into the hands of the best and brightest in the state."
Vaught also helps coordinate CAFNR's undergraduate research program. She oversees the application process, helps students through the submission process and handles the smallest details. "CAFNR's program has become the model for other programs across the campus," said Jim Spain, MU vice provost for undergraduate studies and director of the student success center. "CAFNR's undergraduate research internship program has a long history of tradition and excellence. Donna has served an important role in the program's ascent to excellence and success."
"It seems most of the times that I interact with Donna, I am trying to solve a problem," said Mark Ryan, director of the MU School of Natural Resources. "She always has a positive attitude about finding a way to get the job done. I never hear, 'that can't be done,' only 'let's see what we can do.'"