Staff Excellence Award
 
Leilani Stevens grew up in LaCrosse, Wash., a tiny town about 48 miles west of Pullman. Graduating from a high school with 13 classmates, she wanted to experience life in a city.
 
After earning her bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University, Stevens moved to Spokane to work for US West Direct Yellow Pages, but it was not long before she began to yearn for the open spaces of the Palouse.
 
“I decided to move to Pullman when I wanted to have kids,” she said. “I’ve lived on the family farm for 13 years now — I am definitely not a city girl. My dad was a wheat farmer and now I get to show my son how to drive a combine.”
 
It may be the peace of mind Stevens derives from living in the country that allows her to excel at WSU as the program coordinator for Residence Life — and to become a 2007 President’s Employee Excellence Award recipient.
 
As program coordinator, Stevens is the first point of contact many people have with Residence Life programs, from helping them choose the right residence hall for an incoming student to coordinating 15 hall directors, 15 advanced paraprofessionals, 138 resident advisers and 120 front-desk workers. Maybe most impressive — they all know her by name!
 
“I like to help students get the right fit and maintain their freedom, while remaining safe and taking advantage of the various outreach opportunities presented to them,” said Stevens. “I want WSU students to be more well-rounded and care about where they live.”
 
In addition to work, Stevens actively participates in her 11-year-old son’s many extra-curricular activities, including football, basketball and baseball as well as the Palouse River Ropers. They both participate in a variety of activities at the Ropers’ monthly summer rodeos.
 
And while her son does enjoy the rodeo, Cougar sports is his real passion. He, too, wants to remain in the Palouse — to play Cougar football.