From the series President's Awards for Excellence 2016

Excellence in Human Relations (Classified)

Sheri Penwell

As the student services specialist in the Office of Disability Services, Sheri Penwell is a fervent worker who arrives earlier than most and leaves later than others to serve students with disabilities.

While she has many responsibilities on her plate, she is often seen with a smile and willingness to listen to students and co-workers. She is approachable and polite in all her interactions with others, which builds teamwork.

Colleagues say she is sincere, respectful, works to achieve harmony and promotes fairness and diversity.

Sheri Penwell

Sheri Penwell

“She works her hardest to ensure our population of students with disabilities receive adequate accommodations and support to succeed in the testing environment no matter what obstacles may arise,” said Jason Gepperth, disability and STEM resource specialist.

Penwell schedules and proctors over 4,000 exams per year, including approximately 400 tests during finals week alone, for undergraduate and graduate students. Exams are often administered in a short amount of time.

Proctors, readers and writers must be secured for each exam according to each client’s needs. Space must be reserved for each exam, acquired from faculty, and the tests must be carefully collected and communicated to faculty.

Penwell goes the extra mile to empathize with and help lift up students’ spirits.

“Sheri expresses a great resiliency in the face of stressors and difficult situations; as you can imagine, student mishaps occur related to high-pressure tests and exams, their emotions can run at an all-time high,” said Gepperth. “As the first person they typically see as they turn in their exams, Sheri does a great job of congratulating those who leave their exams feeling confident and elated, but she also provides the perfect shoulder to cry on for those not feeling strongly about their performance.”

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