THIS PROGRAM IS NOW CLOSED.

Service Excellence. Teamwork. Innovation. These are words that, on paper, may mean little, but when you meet someone who embodies these terms, a UM colleague who consistently goes above and beyond to make a difference at the University, these words come to life.

If someone you know has done something extraordinary, take the time to recognize their efforts by nominating them as a “Hurricane Champion.” Your words of appreciation will be posted on this website for others to read, and all nominees will be placed in a raffle to win prizes during UM Family Weekend with the Marlins, April 27 – 29.

Nominate a Hurricane Champion

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to all who participated.

Meet Our Hurricane Champion Nominees

Hurricane Champion: Angela Acosta, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Angela has handled the clinic’s busy and stressful application process for yet another year. She truly deserves this recognition for her exemplary service excellence.
Submitted by Vanessa Alpizar

Hurricane Champion: Meko Anderson, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Meko goes above and beyond not only to accommodate patients, but also to serve as a liaison to the departments for which she coordinates. In doing so, Meko ensures excellent service to the patients while easing the process for the individual departments. She is timely, friendly, and always works from a space of integrity, finding the best solution that works for the patient and our institution. She is truly a team player and a joy to work with.
Submitted by Alexander Llossas

Hurricane Champion: Albert Arguello, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Albert always assists the clinics with his expertise and translating abilities. He not only helps his fellow staff and faculty, but also the students.
Submitted by Vanessa Alpizar

Hurricane Champion: Bryant Barajas, Medical
Category: Teamwork
He is very helpful with everybody, including patients
Submitted by Hernan Pena

Hurricane Champion: Cristy Barrera, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Cristy was appointed leader of the Special Needs group by the Commencement Committee and volunteers for all commencement ceremonies. She is a volunteer note taker for the Disability Office at UM when students in her courses need assistance and volunteers for many tasks at the office. She is always willing and happy to help anyone in the office who may need it, even though her duties as assistant to the Vice President are many. She is also attending classes to obtain her Bachelor’s degree and will graduate in May, 2012. Cristy is an asset to the University and is proud to be a “Cane.”
Submitted by Lillian de la Hoz

Hurricane Champion: Tesla Barrientos, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
She delivers very high quality service. She is always cheerful, happy to help, and goes beyond her duties to help faculty. Her interactions with students are very good and I always hear compliments from students who interact with her. I have never heard her complain about her work, the department or the University. In summary, she is a true Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by Arun Sharma

Hurricane Champion: Tesla Barrientos, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Tesla has a positive attitude and a genuine desire to help. She helps students and faculty every day. The Work Studies’ employees love her and, years after graduating, still visit her and the Department to say hello and provide updates on their progress. Tesla has a very demanding job, but she always manages to do it well, with no complaints, and consistently volunteers to help. She goes beyond the call of duty and that is why she is a true Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by Michael Tsiros

Hurricane Champion: Tesla Barrientos, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
She is here, there and everywhere. Tesla is always the first to respond and the last to leave. She completes her duties with diligence and care. We are thankful to have her as a colleague.
Submitted by Trini Callava

Hurricane Champion: Dr. Seth Beck, UMH
Category: Service Excellence
Dr. Beck provides excellent service in the daily care of our patients living with emotional and mental health issues. The patients love him. Dr. Beck’s work makes significant changes in the lives of our patients.
Submitted by Lidice Escalona

Hurricane Champion: Rafael Bernal, UMH
Category: Teamwork
Rafael is the type of co-worker with whom I truly enjoy working. He does not pass the blame or make excuses. He gets the job done is a very dependable and trustworthy colleague.
Submitted by Mario Cabrera

Hurricane Champion: Dinah Berry, RSMAS
Category: Service Excellence
Even though we work on different campuses and in different areas, I have been privileged to work with Ms. Berry who is very conscientious in terms of doing what is right, according to University policies and procedures. When unsure of a policy, she always calls to make sure she is in compliance and consistently goes beyond the call of duty to make sure her tasks are done in a timely manner. I highly recommend her.
Submitted by Marva Slaughter

Hurricane Champion: Joanne Brown, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Joanne is the type of person who could brighten a dark room with her personality. She treats students, parents, and fellow employees with genuine kindness and does an excellent job in solving any problem involving financial aid.
Submitted by David Medina

Hurricane Champion: Milton Carcamo, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Milton is my Senior Animal Care Technician at LPLC. We manage the DVR LPLC facility with four Animal Care Technicians working as part of our team. Milton has been instrumental in assisting my transition from the Batchelor facility over to LPLC. He has gone out of his way to make me feel welcome and integrate me as part of this team. He has set the example for team spirit and is sure to involve every member of the team in whatever task we’re doing. He has a “sixth sense” of how each team member is doing and what their needs are. Above all, collaboration with him is invaluable to my supervision of the LPLC DVR facility. He constantly works on improving team morale and his professionalism is infectious.
Submitted by Catherine Bernstein

Hurricane Champion: Mary Cruz, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Mary always lends a helping hand to all of the clinics on campus. She goes beyond her duties to offer her assistance in any way possible. She has also helped Angela Acosta during the busy & stressful clinic application process.
Submitted by Vanessa Alpizar

Hurricane Champion: Maria Lis De Gasperi, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Maria Lis is the secretary for UM’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, an agency serving over 6,400 individuals with autism and their families in South Florida. The first call a family of a child with autism typically makes is to the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and it is so critical that the voice they hear is one filled with understanding, compassion, patience and support. Maria Lis embodies all these qualities and more. She comforts families, assures them they are not alone, and gives them the support they so desperately need at such a critical time in their lives. For these reasons, I nominate Maria Lis De Gasperi as a Hurricane Champion!
Submitted by Alessandri Michael

Hurricane Champion: Maria Lis De Gasperi, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Maria Lis De Gasperi is the secretary for UM-NSU’S Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. When addressing this nomination, I went to my fellow staff, seeking assistance in forming into words how special and valuable Maria Lis is. I was overwhelmed with the response from her fellow co-workers. Maria Lis can be described as caring, supportive, compassionate, considerate, helping and hardworking.

As CARD’s secretary, Maria Lis is the first point of contact for families seeking help and information. Maria Lis always treats our clients with the utmost respect, providing assistance in the most calm and patient manner. Often times, families come by the office just to meet the kind voice on the other end of the phone.

Maria Lis goes above and beyond her job description on a daily basis. Co-workers often comment on her drive and passion to continuously learn and evolve as an employee for CARD. She has innovative ideas, which she takes initiative to implement for the betterment of CARD and the families we serve. She is hardworking, always ready to volunteer for fundraisers, trainings and conferences.

Maria Lis is an essential member of the CARD staff. Without her, we would be unable to provide the support needed for the thousands of families we serve in the community. Because of this, the CARD staff nominates Maria Lis De Gasperi, a woman who displays exemplary service excellence, for recognition as a Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by Sara Ferguson
Hurricane Champion: Angel Diaz, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Angel goes beyond the scope of our Department to help fellow employees. He has worked various shifts and knows his duties well.
Submitted by Ricardo Leon

Hurricane Champion: Gerri Duperme, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Ms. Dupreme is very knowledgeable about our University’s campus. On a daily basis, she deals with VIPs and various new parents and visitors. Typically, Ms. Gerri would be the first point of contact for new visitors and parents when going to the Ashe Building or the Admissions Office. Ms. Gerri is exceptionally resourceful and greets everyone with a friendly smile. If you are puzzled as to where to go, just ask Ms. Gerri—chances are, she knows the answer or knows someone in the Department who may be able to help Ms. Gerri has great spirit as she wears her school colors on a daily basis. She is extremely proud to be a Miami Hurricane. For these reasons, I am honored to nominate Ms. Gerri Dupreme as a Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by Brenda Louard

Hurricane Champion: Carlos Fayad, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Carlos has been processing our customer’s orders for cell phone purchases and changes. Recently, our cell phone policy underwent a significant change. Carlos dedicated his time to helping our customers understand the new cell phone policy and why it was made. It was extremely tough in the beginning, but Carlos worked individually with each customer until he/she fully understood the new policy. It is hard to change policies, but thanks to Carlos, the transition was a success. Carlos always treats his customers with respect and care. At the end of the day, his work is completed accurately and by the book, resulting in satisfied customers. A person’s cell phone is very personal, which is why Carlos works individually with each customer until their requests are completed. Carlos understands the University’s mission and is a great a asset to the Medical Purchasing Department…..A true Hurricane Champion!
Submitted by Dorothy Wise

Hurricane Champion: Doris F. Fernandez, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Doris Fernandez is a great team player. She will always make time for everyone’s needs and is willing to help with anything.
Submitted by Priscilla Pla

Hurricane Champion: Daniel Fleisher, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
I have worked with Danny for four years and 3 months. He epitomizes excellent customer service and is a role model for the organization and me to follow. Always with a smile and a friendly tone, Danny handles delicate situations in a professional manner and gets the job done. Rarely does one end a conversation with Danny feeling unsatisfied. We should all strive to be more like him.
Submitted by Dora Maya

Hurricane Champion: Mercedes Garcia, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Ms. Mercy Garcia has been with the Department of Dermatology for many years. She is always eager to help patients, as well as provide coverage for her fellow coworkers. Ms. Garcia is cheerful and provides our patients with great customer service and a smile. I am proud to nominate her as a Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by Dania Gamboa

Hurricane Champion: Teresa Glynn, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Teresa embodies the spirit of a Hurricane. Through her vision, dedication, efforts, and hard work, the Department of Physical Therapy has been able to grow its clinical practice. Through Teresa’s commitment to her career and profession, UM Physical Therapy has become a positive force in improving patient’s lives and in becoming a premier professional destination for physical therapy care in South Florida.
Submitted by Luis Feigenbaum

Hurricane Champion: Jessica Gonzalez, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Jessica consistently goes above and beyond to meet and exceed patients’ needs. She takes initiative in helping patients get their treatments on a timely basis and can always be seen with a smile. Jessica is highly dependable and has an outstanding disposition. She is absolutely willing to jump as high as she needs to in order to make the process smoother for patients. We are proud to have her on our team.
Submitted by Araceli Moneda

Hurricane Champion: Martha F. Gonzalez, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Martha is the quintessential service person for the U. Martha has worked for the U for 27 years in Medical Finance. Everyone on the Miller School of Medicine Campus comes to the Office of Medical Finance for various purposes; to deliver deposits and journals, to get their paychecks, to pick up their reimbursements, among others. Every single person who walks into the office is treated with a wonderful smile and a warm welcome thanks to Martha. I see Martha as the official welcome committee for each new employee, as every new employee has to see her to pick up his/her first check.
Submitted by Maria Concepcion

Hurricane Champion: Martha F. Gonzalez, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Martha is always ready to serve the clients who have business with the department….always with a smile.
Submitted by Don Anderson

Hurricane Champion: Martha F. Gonzalez, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Martha embodies service excellence. She goes out of her way to help everyone. She even goes out to the CRB roundabout to deliver a paycheck to an employee who is unable to take too much time out of work. She treats everyone the same, with a kind heart and a brilliant smile. All new employees have to meet her to get their first paycheck and she makes sure all are taken care of.
Submitted by Ana Torres

Hurricane Champion: Martha F. Gonzalez, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Martha ALWAYS makes sure the entire Department runs smoothly and everyone has what they need. She does this while maintaining a smile for all. When employees have a problem with their paychecks and they come into the office, she is able to calm them down by showing she cares. She does this through active listening and helping them in any way she can. Martha is loved and respected by everyone. If anyone deserves an extra pat on the back for a job consistently well done, it is Martha. I hope you will show her how much she is appreciated by naming her a Hurricane Champion because she is already a champion in our eyes.
Submitted by Susan Davis

Hurricane Champion: Charlene Grall, RSMAS
Category: Service Excellence
Charlene Grall’s name popped into my head immediately upon reading the request to nominate Hurricane Champions because of her long history of service to our School and community. I will mention just two examples among many that illustrate Charlene’s generosity and skills with people.

First, Charlene organized our campus blood drives for many years during the 1990s and 2000s, serving as the campus contact for the blood banks and coordinating every aspect of this important community event. No detail of this task was too small for Charlene to handle personally. Several times per year during these events, she would put up posters, field questions about eligibility to donate, email the campus about appointments and wait times, and summarize donation results.

Second, for the past 15 years Charlene has been prominent in Dade County’s Cat Network. Through her tireless efforts in education about cat overpopulation, as well as volunteering 1000s of hours in working with homeless cats and every aspect of their adoption, Charlene embodies fully what it means to be constructively involved in her community. She is a role model worth emulating and a precious resource of the University community.
Submitted by Lynne Fieber

Hurricane Champion: Cristina Hernandez, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Helpful. Professional. Dedicated. And the list goes on. Cristina Hernandez is the ideal candidate for the Hurricane Champions recognition site. Since I started in the Benefits Office, Cristina has always been available to help me at the drop of a dime with various tasks from setting up my email to creating a form in html. And If anything needs to be proofread, Cristina is the most reliable person for the job. Whether speaking in person with a colleague, or over the phone or email with a member of our faculty or staff, Cristina consistently provides top-knotch, reliable and professional service - always with a smile. She works to ensure any problem that comes her way is resolved in the timeliest and best manner possible. I could not ask for a better workday neighbor. She is our champion!
Submitted by Melissa Cabezas

Hurricane Champion: Deborah Johnson, UMH
Category: Teamwork
Debra is always going out of her way to help her co-workers. She makes sure to bring us good meals and always provides a good word when our spirits are down. You could not ask for a better person. God is blessing her.
Submitted by Jacqueline Kemp

Hurricane Champion: Alexander Llosas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Alex is with the Department of Nephrology. He delivers exceptional service over the telephone and via email by presenting a welcoming, friendly environment, treating individuals with respect, answering questions to help resolve problems, and following up to ensure satisfaction.
Submitted by Meko Anderson

Hurricane Champion: Gloria Lopez, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Gloria is a very cheerful person. Her smile lights up a room and welcomes our patients. She goes above and beyond to help our patients in whatever they may need. She is also a wonderful mentor to the students and a great co-worker. Gloria is the definition of a Hurricane Champion!
Submitted by Yolie Castellanos

Hurricane Champion: Marilyn Marrero, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Marilyn constantly goes above and beyond when it comes to her work on projects and assignments, and she always keeps our customers/constituents in mind. One item in particular that highlights this skill is her work with our Care Package program. Shortly after she began in her position last spring, she studied the program and completed benchmarking to find ways to improve ordering, information sharing, and service to those purchasing the care packages. Marilyn compiled her research and aggressively communicated with the vendor to have changes made quickly, to ensure there was not one missed opportunity to improve the program. Since then, she periodically looks for ways to improve the program and manages to stay on top of it with many other demands on her time. Marilyn has an incredibly strong work ethic and is consistently seeking ways to make the process more efficient for the guest, as well as for internal staff. She is a gem in so many ways - this is just one of the many examples I could share!
Submitted by Kate Lake

Hurricane Champion: Victor Martinez, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Always provides quality service to patients and is a great coworker.
Submitted by Hernan Pena

Hurricane Champion: Stephanie McMillan, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Stephanie is always willing to help and goes above and beyond her job description to make sure the clinic runs smoothly. Stephanie once came in to work during a time in which she was on vacation to attend a meeting just to ensure accurate information was given and obtained for the clinic. There is no one more enjoyable to work with.
Submitted by Leneyka Major

Hurricane Champion: Alison Miller, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Alison’s dedication to her work is an INSPIRATION! She is always willing to come in early, stay late, and is incredibly organized. She makes our office a pleasurable work environment.
Submitted by Myrna Vaca

Hurricane Champion: German Munoz, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Without official stats, I would hazard a guess that German answers 90% of the calls that come into the Professional Development and Training Office. Whether it’s someone who needs help with ULearn, is looking for training, is trying to book a training room, needs to schedule a meeting, or has called a wrong number, German handles each with his usual aplomb. He always gives the caller his undivided attention, asking the right questions to provide appropriate assistance, allaying any concerns, and following up as necessary. Nothing ever seems to ruffle him. German personifies service excellence and is truly a Hurricane Champion!
Submitted by Romy Saunders

Hurricane Champion: Evicel Ortega, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Ms. Ortega’s level of customer service is outstanding. She has been recognized by physicians, staff and patients as going above and beyond the call of duty. She represents a ray of sunshine for the Medley, Patient Access team.
Submitted by Maria Gonzalez

Hurricane Champion: Ailen Parera-Ruggeiro, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Ailen goes above and beyond in terms of service excellence for the College of Engineering.
Submitted by Ana Ayala

Hurricane Champion: Judith Perez, UMH
Category: Service Excellence
Judy is an outstanding member of the Cardiovascular Service line team! She goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that each and every one of her patients feels as though they are the only patient she is caring for at that moment in time. When she steps away from her desk at any moment during the day she forwards her desk phone to her cell phone so she doesn’t miss a call. She accompanies her physician while in clinic, in the cath lab and while he rounds on his patients in the hospital. Judy makes sure that she is with her patient every step of the way and is a significant part of the patient experience. She exemplifies the dedication and commitment to the patient experience we should all carry with us on a daily basis. She is truly a “Hurricane Champion” and an oustanding employee!!!
Submitted by Shannon Rogers-Cruz

Hurricane Champion: Lori Pryor, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Lori’s dedication to the U, and the School of Business, where she serves as Associate Director for the Graduate Business and Executive MBA programs, has no limits. Not one to settle for maintaining the status quo, Lori continues to come up with ways to improve the value of our MBA programs and enhance the student experience. Her collaboration with faculty and administrators within the School of Business, as well as the Schools of Architecture, Law and Medicine, has resulted in the development and implementation of dual degrees: MD/MBA, B.Arch/MBA, JD/MBA and the 1 year MBA with a concentration in Real Estate.

New initiatives in the MBA programs, which represent her collaboration with others include the UM/MBA Connect, the Exchange programs and International trips, and most recently, a very well-received “MBA Team Tune Up.” These examples speak to her teamwork efforts and more; they illustrate her passionate drive to bring distinction to our MBA programs. From a student perspective, Lori works tirelessly to provide an MBA experience that will serve them well in the future.

I feel fortunate to have worked with Lori for the past 13 years and consider her accomplishments as benchmarks for program administration on all fronts – Service Excellence, Teamwork and Innovation. Having to choose one area in which she demonstrates the extraordinary, it is hands down – Teamwork. Her efforts have championed the cause of the U, the School of Business and her students.
Submitted by Kathy Gaunt

Hurricane Champion: Stephen Pugh, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
I was hired in the middle of October as the new Director of Marketing in the Athletic Department and from day one Stephen has helped me with anything and everything. He picked me up the airport upon my arrival to Miami and made sure I was set with a place to stay. He also helped me become familiar with the area.

Stephen has been vital in ensuring a smooth transition with my coming on board mid-year. He has introduced me to everyone in the Athletic Department, as well as key campus individuals. He has also taught me the various ins and outs of the Athletic Staff. To ease the workload of others, Stephen volunteered to respond to voicemail messages left for an employee who recently resigned.

As I sit here today writing this nomination, Stephen is taking some time out of his day to read to a child - something he does every week.

Stephen constantly goes above and beyond when it comes to his job within Athletics, as well as any time he is with a customer on the phone, over email, or in person. He is definitely a Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by David Weisser

Hurricane Champion: Isaac Quinones, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Every quarter, I provide updates to the Federal Government related to the activities performed for the funding UM received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). One of the key pieces of these updates is the number of jobs created and/or retained by the University because of this stimulus funding. Every quarter, I receive the most recent information from Isaac Quinones in Coral Gables Human Resources. Isaac always provides accurate information on a timely basis. His activities this quarter go above and beyond what I would expect.

Isaac informed me that he would provide the information slightly late this quarter because he was going to be out of town with limited connectivity during the week, but he would provide something for me before the Monday I needed it. One of Isaac’s co-workers informed me that Isaac was out of the office performing his required duties as a US Army Reservist. Even though he was busy performing his required duties as a soldier, Isaac was still able to send me the information I needed on Monday morning at 12:47 a.m.

I am grateful we have such dedicated employees working at “The U” and such dedicated service men and women protecting our country.
Submitted by Brad Petersen

Hurricane Champion: Ana Maria Quintana, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Ana defines team player. She motivates her staff to go above and beyond in Faculty Affairs. She tackles huge responsibilities with a smile. She keeps the office morale in high spirits in times of stress and huge workloads. She sees each one of us as a great asset to the office and pushes us to always do our best. We are lucky to have her.
Submitted by Vanessa Moreno

Hurricane Champion: Ana Maria Quintana, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
I have never come across someone with so much enthusiasm when it comes to being a team player and making sure her job, and that of all her teammates, gets done! She’s a great leader and an exemplary employee! If anyone deserves this recognition, at least from my experience of working with her, it would be Ms. Ana Maria Quintana.
Submitted by Lesly Yadira Chirinos

Hurricane Champion: Ana Maria Quintana, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Ana Maria Quintana is the Office Manager of Faculty Affairs at the Medical Campus. Ana defines the characteristics of integrity, humility, and grace. She is a fine example of what it means to be a team player, and always treats her staff, faculty members, and campus visitors with the upmost respect. I am honored to call her my boss!
Submitted by Kalema Meggs

Hurricane Champion: Ana Maria Quintana, Medical
Category: Teamwork
She’s great! Ana gets involved in every project with her employees and does not mind working long hours alongside her team. She definitely knows how to motivate her team.
Submitted by Gilma Sznurkowski

Hurricane Champion: Zulema Rivero, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Zulema has been employed by the University for more than 30 year and is has always been an exemplary employee. She is dedicated, detail oriented, honest, trustworthy and a dependable individual who is the perfect example of a team player and leader for her co-workers and friends. I can think of no better example of a HURRICANE CHAMPION than Zulema Rivero.
Submitted by Angie Monnar

Hurricane Champion: Magaly Robitaille, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maggie is someone who defines the term “service excellence.” Whether it’s a patient, a colleague, or an unknown caller who has reached our office, she is always there, ready to jump in and help, no matter what the occasion. Since I joined the University in 2007, I quickly learned that Maggie is a quintessential “go-to person” for almost any question someone may have…someone off whom you could bounce ideas and someone who is there to lend a helping hand no matter how simple or complex the issue. It’s a common joke that being in a central office, we have many bosses – but the reality is that Maggie truly feels that everyone who reaches our office is in need of being helped no matter how they reached us. And she makes sure to follow through and find that resolution no matter what. She goes beyond the extra mile every single day to help those in need… it simply is who she is. Maggie fundamentally embodies the term “service excellence” as she lives to serve those around us every single day. I truly cannot think of anyone who embraces helping and serving others to the fullest more than Maggie.
Submitted by Daru Ransford

Hurricane Champion: Issa Rodriguez, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
She goes above and beyond the call of duty. She is one of four to have completed the University’s Leadership Academy Emerging Leaders Program as part of the first graduating class. I am truley honored to nominate Issa!
Submitted by Eduardo Menjivar

Hurricane Champion: Lily Rodriguez, Medical
Category: Teamwork
From the start of my employment in Billing Compliance, Lily has gone above and beyond to help me and others in any way possible. She is a great teacher and I nominate her for that reason.
Submitted by Jordan Braswell

Hurricane Champion: Galaxy Roman, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Her work goes above and beyond for patients and coworkers.
Submitted by Madeline Morales

Hurricane Champion: Galaxy Roman, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
She is a very enthusiastic UM employee and is looking forward to attending the University in the future.
Submitted by Cherie Freed

Hurricane Champion: Galaxy Roman, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
The best.
Submitted by Fernando Pedraza

Hurricane Champion: Galaxy Roman, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Galaxy always goes above and beyond. She is a team player and this recognition is something she will treasure.
Submitted by Michael Gonzalez

Hurricane Champion: Galaxy Roman, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Galaxy is very considerate and a team player.
Submitted by Judy Johnson

Hurricane Champion: Teresa Salafrio, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
She is thoroughly dedicated to the students and her staff, always pushing above and beyond her job description.
Submitted by Adrianne Rondon

Hurricane Champion: Amel Saied, RSMAS
Category: Teamwork
Amel is dedicated to her research, her division, Marine Geology and Geophysics, her campus, RSMAS, and UM. Amel is the epitome of teamwork. She is always willing to take the extra step to help anyone in need. She organizes the MGG team every year for the Corporate Run and always motivates them. She also participates yearly to “Bring Our Sons/Daughters To Work” day and “Exploring Marine Science” day. She always shows great enthusiasm, not only in sharing her science, but also in being part of numerous activities of the University community. She embodies team spirit and she is a true Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by Sandrine Apelbaum
Hurricane Champion: Teresa Salafrio, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Teresa Salafrio is the Principal of the University of Miami Global Academy online high school. Although she is my superior, she never fails to make me and each of her Lead Teachers feel as though our opinions and ideas are equally important. She fosters excellent communication between UMGA employees and encourages each of us to be leaders, offering opportunities to utilize our unique skill sets for the betterment of the school. She respects us as professionals and individuals, making us feel valued as team members.
Submitted by Jennifer Taylor

Hurricane Champion: Teresa Salafrio, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Mrs. Salafrio, the Principal of UMGA and my superior best exemplifies what a Hurricane Champion is. Aside from all her duties, meetings and conferences, she always has time for her staff. She is a team player, knowledgeable, respected and a true leader.
Submitted by Barbara Cuba

Hurricane Champion: Teresa Salafrio, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Teresa is an excellent leader! No matter what, she listens to all of her team members’ concerns and needs. She treats everyone with the respect they deserve as professionals and makes them feel that their opinions and ideas matter. Students and faculty all feel more than comfortable approaching her with any questions they may have. She fosters great team dynamic and workplace environment!
Submitted by Franklin Tabora

Hurricane Champion: Dr. Yoh Sawatari, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Dr. Sawatari is an excellent doctor. He is great with his patients and supporting personnel. Dr. Sawatari has great character and morals. He is very deserving of this recognition.
Submitted by Daniel Atallah

Hurricane Champion: Dr. Stephan Schuerer, Medical
Category: Innovation
Dr. Schuerer has the unique ability to amalgamate a true scientific cross team in the disciplines of biology, chemistry, bioinformatics, chem(o)informatics and computer science, from ontology to software engineering. In the short period of time in which Dr. Schuerer has been at the University of Miami he has accomplished the following:
• grants
• UM internal collaborations with Dr. Lemmon, Dr. Mash and Dr. Ayad, name a few
• external collaborations with top institutions such as Scripps, Harvard and Broad
• publications in several journals including “Nature”
• open source software (BAOSearch http://baosearch.ccs.miami.edu/baosearch/)
• development of BioAssay Ontology (BAO) (http://bioportal.bioontology.org/ontologies/1533); his new version of BAO is the leading contender for adoption in the EU-OpenScreen project for standardisation of assay descriptions
Submitted by Caty Chung

Hurricane Champion: Melissa Swain, Coral Gables
Category: Innnovation
Melissa has been working hard on the integration of a medical-legal partnership for the Health & Elder Law Clinic. This partnership is truly an innovative health-law pathway that will make a huge impact in healthcare and patient services.
Submitted by Vanessa Alpizar

Hurricane Champion: Tariq Syed, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
Tariq is a model employee. He always responds to my emails in a very timely manner and always helps to solve the problem. He provides excellent customer service and is very efficient, courteous and professional. I believe Tariq is an asset to the University and a true “Hurricane Champion.”
Submitted by Dawn Fong

Hurricane Champion: Peyman Taghioff, Coral Gables
Category: Innovation
Whenever I need a new technology to assist in my daily responsibilities, Peyman always has new ideas and helpful technology tips!
Submitted by Myrna Vaca

Hurricane Champion: Rafael Valdes, UMH
Category: Service Excellence
Mr. Valdes is not only a team player he is compassionate, understanding, listens and teaches not only patients but coworkers as well.
Submitted by Mario Cabrera

Hurricane Champion: Fredricka Williams, Coral Gables
Category: Service Excellence
At my New Employee Orientation, Fredricka (Freddie) told us a story about customer service and commitment to excellence that I will forever carry with me. She was running late for a meeting and was hurriedly walking down the sidewalk on the Miller School of Medicine Campus. As Freddie was walking, she noticed a woman up ahead, with her back to her, crying. In her head, Freddie said, “Please don’t stop me. I am going to be so late.” Just then, the sad woman turned to her and motioned for help. The woman spoke no English, and Freddie speaks no Spanish. The woman showed Freddie a map and pointed to the Sylvester/UMHC. Freddie realized that something was very wrong and she needed to help this woman. She motioned to the woman to follow her. Freddie lead the woman to the lobby at the Sylvester/UMHC and greeted the receptionist. Freddie told the receptionist to please help the woman. The receptionist spoke with the woman briefly and told Freddie that she would handle it from there. Freddie thanked her and sped off to her meeting.

Throughout her meeting, Freddie could not stop thinking about the sad woman. As soon as the meeting was over, she went back to the UMHC and spoke with the receptionist who helped her earlier. It turns out that the woman had flown in from Argentina that morning and was desperately trying to find her dying husband. Thanks to Freddie’s help, the woman was able to see her husband and hold him during his last minutes of life. He passed away only moments after his wife walked in.

As we rush through our daily lives, it is important to remember that helping others – patients, visitors, student and colleagues – is what we are here to do. Freddie truly showed a commitment to excellence and respect for others that day. She is a true Hurricane Champion.
Submitted by Melissa Cabezas

Hurricane Champion: Robert Yunk, Coral Gables
Category: Teamwork
Robert has the natural gift of bringing people together. His fantastic teamwork skills make for a high caliber workplace. He always thinks along the lines of “who else should be part of this conversation?” This is key in the communications field - and in elevating the University’s mission. Simply put - he’s a great colleague to work with.
Submitted by Elizabeth Amore

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria Zayas is a Budget Analyst for the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. I find it difficult to nominate her in just one category – to me she is a Hurricane Champion in Service Excellence, Teamwork, and Innovation. Maria is the “go-to” person for countless graduate students, faculty, and staff on the medical campus. She has such a depth of institutional knowledge that it seems all of my colleagues lean on her on a daily basis. Her enthusiasm for teamwork and improving student services is infectious, the kind that makes you proud to be part of the U. As she often proudly declares, her blood is Orange and Green!
Submitted by Sean Kennelly

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Extremely supportive in every way imaginable. Someone you can always count on. A true pleasure to work with.
Submitted by Elizabeth Benitez

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria makes everyone she comes into contact with feel special. Students, faculty, and other staff seek her out for help with the myriad of issues that come up on a daily basis. Everyone walks away with a smile.
Submitted by Lacativa Dierdre

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Her dedication and hard work. Her contribution to her department.
Submitted by Nancy Cuevas

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
I wish this nomination form would allow us to check off more than one category! I’ve worked with Maria T. Zayas for the last 10 years as our direct liaison to the Graduate Program at the Med Campus, and not once has she ever failed to provide us with the help we needed. If she didn’t know the answer off hand, she made sure to find out. Maria is an outstanding Hurricane, MOST DEFINITELY A CHAMPION. I feel fortunate to be able to work with her!
Submitted by Cristina Florez

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Maria is a very helpful, generous, and kind person. She has always helped me with anything I have asked of her with no hesitation. She is a great candidate for the Hurricane Champions Program. Submitted by Tyrone Henry

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
I have worked with Maria Zayas for approximately 30 years. She has always been a team player, a positive individual and a very loyal employee of the Univerity of Miami. For these reasons and many more I belive she deserves this recognition.
Submitted by Zoraida Iglesias

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria is a Hurricane Champion because she goes beyond the call of duty. Her personality is so pleasant.
Submitted by Katrina Hollis

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria Zayas, a 28+ year employee, UM Office of Graduate Studies, is a team player with the patience of a Saint. She resolves problems and processes data for more than 200 graduate students, multiple faculty and several graduate coordinators with a smile, kindness and caring. Maria embodies all requirements to be a Hurricane Champion. I am proud and grateful to work with Maria Zayas.
Submitted by Kathy Salce

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria Zayas should be recognized as a Hurricane Champion because of her excellence performance in handing her fellow employees, graduate students and all others in a professional manner.
Submitted by Katrina Holls

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria goes above and beyond to help you with whatever situation you may have. She is the “go to” person in our Department. Maria Zayas….is Service Excellence!
Submitted by Lissett Caraza

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria is a teamplayer and alwways seeks to work with others in order to service the students. I have known Maria for 20 years and she is a great asset to the university.
Submitted by Jim Gorostola

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Teamwork
Maria is a true Hurricane Champion! She is a dedicated individual on the “UM” team, who always avails herself to assist in whatever capacity she can, and makes you feel important in the process! With her years of experience, she is a fabulous resource and has been there for me on many occasions. She is patient and caring, and devotes herself with a smile, and always shares a pat-on-the-back for a job well done! I feel quite fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her!
Submitted by Dori McLean

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
It’s a privilege to work with Maria Zayas. When I began working in student services 12 years ago, Maria was the first person to reach out to my office and offer assistance in any way needed. I very quickly learned how fortunate I was to work with someone so knowledgeable, dependable and generous. No matter how complex the problem or how unique the circumstances, Maria works to find an answer and resolve the problem. The service Maria provides to faculty, students and staff is truly exceptional! She’s dedicated, professional and so deserving of this recognition. Maria Zayas is a true Hurricane Champion!
Submitted by Heather Rose

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria is a great team player. She goes above and beyond the call of duty, and is supportive; always willing and able to assist. Maria is truly deserving of this recognition. She is a true HURRICANE CHAMPION!
Submitted by Maria Penton

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
Maria always has a ready smile and “can-do” attitude. The level of customer service Maria offers is well above average. She brings a positive energy to the entire floor.
Submitted by Elizabeth Sauls

Hurricane Champion: Maria Zayas, Medical
Category: Service Excellence
There is no question in my mind that Maria Zayas is a true Hurricane Champion. It is unfortunate that we are only allowed to select one category because she would be a suitable nominee for all three. Maria is a helpful and thoughtful human being who will go above and beyond her call of duty to assist in resolving issues that surface daily. Faculty, students and staff rely upon Maria for assistance, which is always given with a smile. We are fully aware that Maria’s allegiance is only to the U as she continues to boldly state that orange and green runs through her veins.
Submitted by Carlen Duncombe