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Distinguished Staff Awards: 2020

Catherine Belkowski, Outreach Coordinator
Metro Detroit Region

Catherine is the Outreach Coordinator for the Metro Detroit Region, and has the responsibilities of being the Program Advisor for the Business Administration – Professional Track Program. Catherine is very active in promoting on-campus and off-campus programs, regularly attends and participates in functions organized by the following community colleges: Wayne County Community College, Macomb Community College, St. Clair County Community College, Oakland County Community College, and Schoolcraft College. Many of those functions are not related to recruiting, but she attends and participates representing Ferris State University. Catherine has always been extremely accessible to all off-campus staff including all the adjunct faculty members in the Metro Detroit Region. She reaches out to all the Metro Detroit Off-Campus adjuncts and provides assistance, coordinates meetings, and coordinates in-service trainings before the start of each semester. Staff and faculty members speak glowingly of Catherine which is a reflection of her dedication and work ethic. She supports the Michigan Nature Association to protect rare, threatened and endangered species and is active in her local church.

Anne Hogenson, Director of Marketing
University Advancement and Marketing

Anne works tirelessly to promote the University as effectively and efficiently as possible. She is a thoughtful, positive manager who is not afraid to lead by doing during the busiest times of the year. As the editor of the Ferris Magazine, Anne leads her team of staff and volunteer contributors to proudly and informatively share what is happening at Ferris to all our internal and external constituencies. Anne has personally coordinated/managed the creation of much of our new brand marketing, including coordinating students, faculty and staff to appear in our new video and in other types of ads. She is a wonderful ambassador explaining to students, faculty and staff what we are doing and why and how important their role is in telling the Ferris story. Anne supervises a team with a great deal of demands, but she always exhibits enthusiasm when working with colleagues on their projects and helping them to achieve their goals despite challenging timelines and budgets. Anne regularly makes herself available to speak to marketing and public relations classes at the request of our faculty, and she serves on numerous University committees. In the community, Anne lives at and is the manager of the Mecosta County Old Jail, where she manages the property and assists the local historical community with maintenance and related fundraising. She also volunteers a significant amount of her time and resources to local animal rescue efforts.

Laura Porritt, Secretary Level 3
Grand Rapids Region

Laura’s primary responsibilities are to provide administrative support to the Director of the Grand Rapids Region and supervise part-time and student employees. Laura provides support in running the day-to-day operations of the Director’s Office, which includes assisting staff, faculty, and students. Laura states that she enjoys coming to work every day because her job is very versatile and dynamic, always presenting challenges and opportunities to learn something new. Laura thoroughly enjoys helping students succeed by assisting with questions, supporting group events or attending an event where students are recognized (Ferris Grand Rapids Graduation Ceremony). In addition, she provides faculty with the tools and resources they need as well as excellence in customer service, so those faculty can give their best to students. Her ultimate goal is to ensure our students are successful. Beyond Ferris, Laura volunteers in a variety of ways including with her church, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Kent County Animal Shelter and the Lowell Farm and Wildlife Center.

Karen Simmon, Project Manager
Physical Plant

As a project manager, Karen works with a variety of groups on campus to oversee construction and renovation projects. These projects range from purchasing a new chair to renovating or building a new building. In addition, Karen also manages signage for the University. Karen enjoys meeting people from different departments and learning about their role in how the University works. She is a life-long learner and seeks out opportunities to advance her knowledge and skill set. If Karen doesn’t have an answer or knowledge about their specific needs, she will spend the time to better understand what they do, how they do it and why it's important. In addition to her formal role, Karen serves the University as a volunteer for events like Pancakes with the President and First Impressions Tables and various committees like the History Task Force and the Ferris Women's Network. Karen also has served on the City of Big Rapids Parks and Recreation Board and is joining the City of Big Rapids Planning Commission.

Jennifer Stevens
Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Enrollment Services

Amongst many things, Jennifer coordinates the Spring and Fall Commencement ceremonies each year. There is a multitude of planning and organizing that goes into the large events. There are many moving pieces that make up a ceremony and Jennifer remains calm while handling things ranging from a medical crisis to a sound system failure. Jennifer is always friendly and positive in her approach to every situation. She treats everyone with dignity and respect. Jennifer is willing to take on new assignments and new responsibilities. After the commencement ceremonies are over, she jumps in to help the Registrar’s Office post the degrees online so that students can get their diplomas much quicker than ever before. Jennifer is an excellent role model to the Enrollment Services staff, and they hold her in the highest regard. They look to her to have a pulse on the happenings within the Department. Outside of work Jennifer participates in volunteer work every weekend and sometimes throughout the week with her religious organization. Each month she averages about 15 hours and at least one time a year she commits to volunteering 30 hours each month. This involves visiting homebound people as well as Bible studies.