PULLMAN, Wash. — Three Washington State University staff members will be honored with the 2002 WSU President’s Employee Excellence Award during a reception and awards presentation at 11 a.m., March 29, in the Lewis Alumni Centre.

The winners are Marynella “Nelly” Zamora, graduate secretary in the Department of English; Joanne Harkins, assistant to the dean in the College of Sciences; and Babette Gundersen, Agricultural Research Technologist III in the vegetable pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon Research and Extension Center.

Zamora has worked at WSU since 1975. Her nominators described her as the heart of the department, who serves as an anchor for faculty. She is the type of person students depend on and trust. “I have never encountered a more dedicated and effective individual. … She is exceptionally efficient and productive,” said one nominator. Another added, “She brings something extra to her job. Zamora is efficient and innovative in her work, anticipating what could go wrong and following (through on details) so that additional problems do not crop up.” She also was praised for her commitment to diversity as an adviser to WSU’s Filipino American Student Association chapter.

Harkins contributes to administrative efficiency, creating a warm, friendly working environment. Nominators praised her “extraordinary communication skills” and “professional yet caring attitude.” She “takes on departmental problems personally and sees that they are solved in equitable ways.” Harkins organized a successful retreat for Colleges of Sciences staff, an example of her commitment to improved office operation, nominators said. Harkins is “always willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done. Departments are always calling her for advice.” Even though her “plate is full, she never says no,” nominators said. She has worked at WSU since 1973.

Starting at WSU Mount Vernon as a time-slip employee in 1993, Gundersen has risen steadily through the ranks. Nominators said her talents range from driving a tractor, designing a Web site and culturing plant pathogenic fungi to building an irrigation system and converting research data into graphs. Gundersen’s “considerable energy, abilities and enthusiasm” result in “levels of productivity” that benefit WSU’s vegetable pathology program. She is always courteous and has “won the respect and friendship of students, scientists, area fieldmen, growers and gardeners,” nominators said.

The employee awards program began in 1989. A committee, which reviewed nomination material and checked references, selected the winners.