Three exemplary Yavapai College employees have been added to the rolls of National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award winners. Allied Health Professor Marie Hardman, Financial Aid Specialist Evelyn Garey and Business Management Program Director Lauri Dreher were singled out for their excellence in teaching, learning and leadership.
The YC winners were put forward by their colleagues and college leadership to NISOD, a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges.
“While many do so much for Yavapai College, Marie, Evelyn and Lauri were selected to be this year’s recipients based on their commitment to high performance and their extraordinary service to students, the college, and our communities,” said Dr. Diane Ryan, YC Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Marie, Evelyn and Lauri will be feted at an awards celebration during the annual NISOD conference in May in Austin, Texas.
Following is more information about the contributions that earned the YC trio the 2022 NISOD Excellence Award.
Marie, a registered nurse who holds master’s degrees in nursing education and adult education, has served as the lead instructor for YC’s Medical Assistance Program for 10 of her nearly 16-year teaching career. She was nominated for the NISOD award by her faculty colleagues who cited her continual efforts to update the college’s Medical Assistant certificate and degree programs and her students’ 100-percent, first-time pass rate on the Registered Medical Assistant national certification exam for 10 straight years. They lauded her inspired teaching: “Because of the expert guidance Marie provides, and the love of learning she instills in her students, many continue their healthcare education to become nurses, therapists and medical providers.”
Marie said she is appreciative of her colleagues’ recognition and the NISOD award. She called teaching her “dream job” and said she is proud to be fulfilling her dream at YC. She is an active member of the college’s Peer Faculty Mentor Committee, mentoring new faculty every year. Marie lives in Prescott Valley with her husband and two dogs.
Evelyn has been helping students access financial aid for 11 years, seven of them at YC. Her co-workers nominated her for the NISOD award, affectionately calling her the “heart” of the office and someone who is extremely dedicated to her work. “Without her, our office wouldn’t run… Whenever we run into an issue, Evelyn is the person we call and somehow, she always figures it out,” her nominators said.
Evelyn earned a bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University and holds multiple National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators credentials. She said the NISOD Excellence award both shocked her and moved her to tears. “I am amazed that I get to be honored with an award for doing something that provides so much joy for me,” she said, adding, “I love what I do. I get to work with students to alleviate some of their stress regarding how they are going to pay for their education and still provide for their own basic needs. There is always someone to help and something to do in financial aid.”
Evelyn lives in Prescott with her husband and dog. She is an avid kayaker, quilter and faux stained-glass artist.
Lauri was nominated for the NISOD award by YC Vice President of Academic Affairs Diane Ryan, by her supervising dean and a fellow faculty member who collectively touted her motivational, communication, and facilitation skills and her commitment to instructor and student success — all of which have helped the business management program grow enrollment. “Lauri consistently goes above and beyond to help students and colleagues in every way possible every day. Her classes focus on real world experiences, so students are getting theory and practice. With her humble leadership style, and endearing sense of humor and personality she creates a great team to work with,” her NISOD nomination stated.
Lauri launched her YC career in 2012 as an adjunct instructor and took the helm of the Management Program as a full-time associate professor in 2019. She lives in Prescott Valley and is a fan of outdoor activities like golf, hiking, snowboarding and gardening.