Star Award

The Star Award:

1. Is available to all employees – faculty and classified employees, management, and supervisors.
2. Anyone can nominate an employee for the award.
3. The award will travel from one winner to the next.
4. Awardees will receive recognition and documentation of being Star Award recipients.

Please fill out form below to nominate a CMC employee for exemplary acts of service.

Star Award Recipients

August 2021

photo of Krystal Avila star award winnerKrystal Avila, Counselor 

Nominated by Jane Abell, Vice President of Student Services and presented at the All Staff Day: “Krystal has been a true leader in Student Services. As our Articulation Officer, Guided Pathways Lead, Counseling Rep at Department Chair meetings, Union Rep, Academic Senate Secretary, and Athletics student contact, in addition to her work as a General Counselor, she has managed to take on all of these roles with care, thoroughness, knowledge, and collaboration. Krystal has worked with almost everyone on campus directly assisting in bringing Guided Pathways to life on our campus. What Krystal has taken on in the past few years to assist students and help move the needle for our institution is so appreciated. She is definitely a one of kind STAR!”

August 2021

photos of Star award winner Shirley ArtShirley Art, Payroll Services Specialist

Recognized by Sharlah Harvey, Human Resources Specialist II. Sharlah said, “I would like to nominate Shirley Art for the Star Award. Shirley has been an excellent resource and a wealth of information. I have considered myself lucky to have had Shirley as a co-worker and friend. To think of one instance where she went above and beyond is difficult as this is normal practice for her. Shirley has been a star at CMC for many years and she will be sorely missed.”

April 2021

picture of Chelsi ChastainChelsi Chastain, Receptionist 

Recognized by Jack Pansegrau and Sandy Smith.

Jack Pansegrau wrote: Chelsi was simply amazing! I had a crunch of non-CMC students attempting to enroll in my two real estate courses as well as former CMC students. Chelsi worked tirelessly to ensure all six of these students were able to enroll in my classes. The hurdles for a new or non-student who simply seeks to take a single continuing education course appear insurmountable and Chelsi helped each of them to overcome these hurdles. She responded to them and to me quickly and with empathy. She also displayed a high level of expertise that greatly assisted me as well as the prospective students. I could not have reached an enrollment of 20 students in Real Estate Finance and 15 in Principles of Real Estate without her help. Thank you, Chelsi.

Sandy Smith wrote: The Foundation suffered a major setback with our Admin Assistant out on leave immediately following the annual Festival of Wreaths. Chelsi stepped in to make sure wreath buyers were well cared for! She coordinated pick up of many wreaths from the Foundation Office. Her smiling face greeted one and all as she finalized transactions. She fielded phone calls, picked up mail and stayed in close contact with me about what was happening physically on campus while the staff was out. While she has only been on staff a short while, Chelsi has embraced her duties with positive energy, a fresh look and a terrific background in marketing, people and connections! She’s a CMC STAR!

March 2021
photo of Lisa Larson star award winner Lisa Larson, Learning Management System Specialist

Recognized by: Linda Thomas: Lisa went above and beyond this semester by not only setting up every instructor’s Canvas shell but also helping instructors trouble shoot their courses when they went live. She found numerous issues that needed fixing and worked diligently with the instructors to remedy the problems. She also helped countless students who had experienced difficulties with their new courses have a more smooth start to the semester. Lisa’s hard work averted many problems and solved many more!

January 2021
Jolie Alpin, Public Relations & Event Specialist 

Recognized by: Liz Meyer and Jane Abell

Star Award recipient Jolie Alpin  2021Liz Meyer said: The commitment to “Students First” could not be more exemplified than with the virtual graduation created for the 2020 graduates of CMC. Jolie Alpin stepped up for CMC, above and beyond her job description, to make this graduation happen. Within a 3-week time frame, she scripted, individually videoed, coordinated and published this memorable event for our students. Regardless of the challenges and complications for such a project, she kept the “Students First” in her focus. The CMC Graduates of 2020 will have a meaningful and memorable virtual graduation to own forever, and Jolie Alpin has earned her star for going “above and beyond” for our college. I recommend this honor for her.

Jane Abel said: In October, we made the determination to have a virtual commencement ceremony in December. Although this was a collaborative project with many wonderful individuals volunteering their time and efforts, one individual stands out in the effort and energy put into making the virtual commencement ceremony a success. Jolie Alpin graciously volunteered to be the person who put together the video that was used for the virtual commencement. She recorded each individual, spent a lot of additional time editing the video, ultimately resulting in a wonderful ceremony honoring the graduating class of 2020, who had quite the unforeseen year. Thank you, Jolie, for all your hard work, flexibility, and positivity though this whole process!


picture of star award

November 2020
Janie Ramstorf, Executive Assistant to Student Services
Nominated by Maria Cruz.
Due to Covid-19 it changed the way A & R does business. A&R has been short-staffed. Student Services works with students both in office and remotely. We receive hundreds of calls and emails on a daily basis. Janie has not only performed duties normal to her position, but has stepped in and picked up daily emails to Admissions and Records, helped students navigate through various issues, and processed hundreds of Excused Withdrawals due to Covid-19. She continues to provide our graduating students with excellent service while trying to help them feel at ease regarding degrees, certificates, and commencement. Janie is the expert in Student Service history. She has worked diligently with our nursing students regarding transcript evaluations and has helped with our backlog of transcript evaluations. As busy as she is, she still has time to make baskets for all of our fundraisers. Words cannot express how much I value her knowledge, dedication, and professionalism. She is our mission statement in action! Thank you Janie for being part of our CMC team!

Nominated by Sandy Smith
Janie Ramstorf handles all aspects of CMC’s scholarship program. There are a few scholarships – Osher, Molly Adams, Lena Pond and the Community Foundation Pooled Scholarship that require reporting to the donor organization what was given out, to who, what is still on hand and what the process is. This sounds simple but with drops and students not taking as many credits as they expect, it gets messy. Janie always maintains meticulous records, does the reports in a timely manner and is always precise. Her willingness to communicate with the funders and keep the Foundation Office in the loop is extremely helpful to us and allows us to continue giving money where it is needed – to our students!!

September 2020
Kathy McBride, Fiscal Services Technician 1/Purchasing
Nominated by Meredith Plummer. Kathy reached out to me this week to increase her hours in order to take care of the students. That is how much she cares about the students. Today I overheard her on a call with a student. Kathy calls back every missed call, regardless if they left a message, to make sure they were taken care of. This was one of those students. The student was so grateful and completely blown away. She told Kathy that CMC is way above in customer service than any other school she has been to. This student came from Moreno Valley. Kathy goes above and beyond every day for the students.

picture of Jeremy Jones Star Award recipient

August 2020
Jeremy Jones, Programmer
Nominated by Krystal Avila, Cassie Naftziger and Vicky Velasquez: Jeremy has a great attitude, is always eager to help, always polite, patient, gets things done in a timely manner and personally follows up . He has an incredible amount of work and is continuously inundated from a multitude of departments. He understands that our students are extremely important to us. His work in transitioning the Student Orientation to Canvas, and getting it to communicate with Colleague, was instrumental. The counselors are extremely grateful to have his assistance and expertise, but most of all to have him as a colleague. He was also nominated by Meredith Plummer for his excellent work in setting up the Touchnet Online Payment System, bringing to students the ability to pay online for the first time in CMC history.

photo of star award winner Kevin cole with superviosor Meredith Plummer

July 2020
Kevin Cole, Director of Facilities & Operations

Nominated by Meredith Plummer. Kevin has gone above and beyond helping the County with the Covid drive through testing event. He is here at 6am making sure they have what they need and helps them get set up. The County Coordinator for this event told me how much they appreciate Kevin and all his support and what he has done for them. He had a smile (under the mask) going all day. A situation with traffic flow to the childcare center caused a panic. The employees at the childcare center were upset. Kevin was able to calm everyone’s nerves. His ability to remain professional, rational, calm and kind during the crisis and the entire event is Star-Worthy!”

picture of star award

July 2020
Cris Kauffmann, Executive Assist. to the Superintendent/President.
Nominated by Dr. Daren Otten. Cris goes above and beyond all the time, however in preparation for CMC’s first virtual Board of Trustee Meeting, she truly flew over the moon. To help get the Trustee’s ready to participate in the Zoom meeting, she attended several webinars on the best practices for Zoom Board Meetings, and then she conducted one on one Zoom meetings with each Trustee, for training. The time Cris put in and patience that she displayed as she became not only technical support for our Trustees but also a social outlet for some who have not been away from there home since the March Board meeting is truly noteworthy! Thank you Cris!

photo of Jenn ODonnell

May 2020
Jennifer O’Donnell, Dean of Student Services
Nominated by the Counselors: Krystal Avila, Cassie Naftziger and Vicky Velasquez. They said, “In July of 2019 Jenn was hired on as the Interim Dean of Student Services, while still maintaining the Base Coordinator duties. Within months she was tasked with most of the responsibilities for the Executive Dean of Student Services and Equity Chief Student Services Officer, who was on leave. Although we were all confident in her abilities as an administrator, our confidence only grew during this time. We all know that we can count on her positive and supportive nature and have great respect for her and her leadership.”

photo of star award and Emily Helms desk

May 2020
Emily Helm, Administrative, Assistant I, Facilities and Operations
Nominated by Dr. Paul Delaney, Science Faculty, for going above and beyond in her efforts to support improvements in safety for the science building. Her active support from beginning to end of this project has resulted in a well-organized and safer workspace.

photo of Maria and Roseanna

March 2020
Roseanna Speer, ALT-Media Specialist
Roseanna’s position as President of CSEA can be difficult and rewarding. Recently she collaborated with HR to offer an Employee Development Training Day for classified employees. The accommodations and meals were great. The various sessions, group teamwork, and educational training was awesome. Her focus on employee development and collaboration helped classified employees receive training and development that will help us further the mission of CMC and the vision of the Chancellor’s Office.

Photo of star award Jeff DeMorrow

January 2020
Jeff DeMorrow, Groundskeeper
Jeff has done an incredible job on the grounds at CMC. The beauty of our grounds here catches my eye every day I come to work. Jeff is polite, helpful, and committed to making and keeping this campus beautiful. He is head of groundskeeping, administrative support, and lone snake wrangler. Jeff maintains 156 acres on the campus. His responsibilities include not only cultivating a spectacular example of xeriscape landscaping, but also maintains the tortoise preserve, stormwater drainage systems, weed abatement, and lawn and tree care. His desert garden at CMC has been lauded by individuals and organizations throughout the Morongo Basin and beyond. He achieved the first 100% positive rating by employees in the 2019 survey.


December 2019
Sharlah Harvey, Human Resources Specialist II
Sharlah was nominated by Debbie Dieleman and Diana Morris. Both shared that Sharlah works hard and is very conscientious in all of her HR duties, but her work in implementing a streamlined, electronic Personnel Requisition process deserves special recognition.
She was determined to make this very cumbersome PR process now run smooth as silk. She is a true star for doing what no one else was ever able to do! Well done!”

picture of Jim Powel and Jeff Haig

November 2019
Jim Powell, CIS Instructor
Nominated by Jeff Haig for setting up the Coding Club, which has exposed students who didn’t know they were interested to the opportunities in coding, and the Service Club, which has gone on trips to Mexico and Haiti to provide services and technology to people in need. He does so much for the College, and to bring new experiences to our students.

Photo of Michelle Correa and Sharlah Harvey

November, 2019
Michelle Correa, Program Assistant, ACCESS
Sharlah Harvey nominated Michelle. She not only does a great job with our students and ensuring that their needs are met but Michelle went above and beyond to help HR accommodate an employee’s needs to help them perform their job duties. She helped arrange for ASL translators and helped get hearing-assistive equipment on campus for staff and students.

photo and text about Ingrid Johnson star award recipient

October 2019
Ingrid Johnson, Part-time Faculty, Library
Sandy Smith nominated Ingrid for her work with the NEA Big Read Morongo Basin. She was campus lead on this month-long endeavor encompassing one book read discussion at the Greenleaf Library and 20 other events. At the Big Read Kick Off event, she manned a booth promoting CMC. The booth was thoughtful, engaging, shared all that CMC has to offer and it had a steady stream of people the entire time! She presented herself with the utmost professionalism.

photo of Maria Cruz receiving the Star Award

September 2019
Maria Cruz, Admissions & Records Specialist II
Nominated by David Shook for creating a Pell Grant calculator for students to use in order to calculate their own Pell disbursements based on expected family contribution and enrollment. The new program displays all three of the semester’s percentages. Maria removed barriers for students and because of her professionalism she brought two departments together to benefit students.

Photo of employee with award

September 2019
Natalia Valdez, Custodian
Natalia was nominated by Meredith Plummer, Cathy Inscore and Ellen Baird for the excellent quality of her work, her enthusiasm for her job, her beaming smile and warm personality which inspire others to emulate her good cheer.

August 2019
Brian Benton, Maintenance Worker
Tom Wilkinson, Skilled Maintenance Worker
The College had a sharp increase in Natural Gas usage and cost. Tom and Brian tracked down the reason for the increase. They determined through a malfunction of our heating system that the gas-fueled boilers were continuing to run through the spring and summer months. Catching this will save the College thousands of dollars. Additionally, they installed the new sliding TV’s in 8 classrooms across campus. This saved roughly $8,000 in installation costs that the IT department could then use to buy additional TVs.

photo of Gina Bost receiving star award

July 2019
Gina Bost, Office Support Specialist
Nominated by Dr. Heather Gilmore: Gina goes above and beyond. She does it with a smile and never gets bothered when she is feeling overwhelmed. She truly cares about each one of us faculty. I was having a bad day with my disability and she helped me bring my materials for class to my office. Gina has a heart of gold. I’ve never met anyone who truly cares deeply for her co-workers as she considers her family. She shows compassion to so many. I have witnessed her give, give, give, while enjoying doing for others. She is the epitome of the STAR award.

photo of Lynda Burns star award

June 2019
Lynda Burns, Sr. Admission & Records Specialist and School Certifying Official for Veterans
Gracie Shadowen recommended Lynda, for collecting funds from multiple faculty and staff for the Bowl-A-Thon which raised money for student scholarships, completing rush and regular transcripts for students while a co-worker was out on leave, making sure Veteran students are on the right path to complete their degree or certificate, trying to make sure every single student she encounters has the correct information and is able to move forward, and supporting other staff by asking about certain issues and taking care of them.

photo of Cris Kauffmann and Jeff Cummings

June 2019
Cris Kauffmann, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent/President
Jeff Cummings recognized Cris for her diligence in staying through to completion of a project on a day she was dealing with personal challenges. Cris often makes personal sacrifices to make sure the college meets its deadlines.

photo of Cassie Nafziger and Jane Abell

June 2019
Cassie Nafziger, Counselor
Cassie was recognized by Jane Abell for her role with the Transfer Center and exposing student to various colleges, universities, and cultural outings through college visits and trips. Also for her work in spearheading and coordinating Basic Skills Boot Camp this year.

photos of Cathy Itnyre and Eva Kinsman

May 2019
Cathy Itnyre, Social Sciences Faculty
Nominated by Eva Kinsman:
Cathy has spent hours after her busy work day making and baking dozens of homemade cookies for our female and male basketball teams to enjoy as they travel to each of their away games. Cathy has been a positive and involved faculty member for many years, always going the “extra mile” in support of students and CMC.

photo of Joshua Torres and Jane Abel

May 2019
Joshua Torres, Program Assistant – Student Success Center, was recognized by Jane Abell for his positive attitude and going the extra mile in supporting students and staff at the SSC and ACCE East. He is always there to answer questions, listen, and help students with a friendly smile and calming presence when they need assistance.

photo of Summer Grenzow Star Award

April 2019
Summer Grenzow, Student Support Specialist
Summer consistently goes out of her way to help students with whatever they may need to be successful at CMC. For example, Summer frequently uses our lab to help students complete the FAFSA. Her high-touch approach to serving students and her willingness to learn new things is very appreciated.

photo of Jacob Kevari Award star award

March 2019
Jacob Kevari, Dean of Research, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
The Star Award is presented to Jacob for his excellent work in preparing the campus for the accreditation visit while also serving as the Interim CIO.

February 2019
Cathy Inscore, Library Specialist
Recommended for the award by Sandy Smith and Sara Hutson in the Foundation for assisting a student who was dealing with the suicide of a family member.

January 2019
Professor Leann Christiansen, Mathematics
For leadership in the math department, committees, including Basic Skills. Also for her determination to always see projects through to completion, and for reaching beyond silos to ensure good communication.

January 2019
Christina Eastin, Educational Support Specialist
For seeing Copper Mountain College through a time of transition by covering 1, 2, or 3 jobs at a time.

January 2019
Jared Zwicker, Fiscal Services Accountant
For being the glue that holds Copper Mountain College together, and for going above and beyond in all areas of the college.

The following individual deserves special recognition for exemplary acts of service on behalf of the students and mission of Copper Mountain College.

    Choose One