By Kate Kurtin
Before 2009 drew to an end, the School of Engineering gave special recognitions to two esteemed staff members, Chris LaRosa and Mary McCarthy, during an all-school faculty meeting held December 3rd.
The Outstanding Staff Service Award is presented annually to an individual who holds either a classified or non-teaching professional position. It honors individuals who have made superior contributions to the School of Engineering and entails a cash gift and certificate of appreciation. Ms. McCarthy and Mr. LaRosa were among the staff members nominated by colleagues for their superior performance and attitude, and they received strong supporting letters from others in their units. They were selected by a committee of peers comprising members from each department, center or institute and major unit within the School of Engineering.
Chris LaRosa, Publicity Marketing Manager, joined UConn in January 2001. Hired as a graphic designer/ illustrator, Mr. LaRosa has expanded both his duties and the publicity and marketing capabilities of the School. Hired to develop flyers and produce specific marketing materials, Mr. LaRosa has seen his job transform and now explains his main duty as, “branding the image of the School of Engineering” and streamlining the marketing efforts from the different departments. This past year, Mr. LaRosa developed Facebook and Twitter accounts for the School of Engineering as a response to the changing communication needs of the digital environment. He also designed newsletters and annual reports for the School’s various departments and programs, developed promotional posters and brochures, and designed a new School of Engineering website to be deployed in early 2010. When not working or chasing after his three young sons, Mr. LaRosa can be found in his basement, building and directing model railroads. He can even be seen in the December edition of Classic Toy Trains Magazine, where his most recent train layout is profiled.
Described by her peers as an unbelievably kind person, Mary McCarthy, Administrative Coordinator for Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE), has been working at UConn since May 2006. Coming to UConn from the private sector, Ms. McCarthy has been credited with increasing the efficiency of ECE. Her current scope of duties is expansive and includes: managing the department’s budget; coordinating faculty Promotion, Tenure and Reappointment files; supervising staff; and working closely with the ECE Department Head, Dr. Rajeev Bansal and Associate Department Head, Dr. John Chandy. Dr. Bansal describes Mary as “the buffer between the Department Head and the faculty, the office staff, the students and the external constituencies.” He explains this as, “the difficult responsibility of making day-to-day decisions that allow the departmental operations to proceed smoothly without compromising the rules and regulations in place. . .Mary’s work ethic, professionalism, discretion and integrity are exemplary.” Relying heavily on personal relations, Ms. McCarthy describes interacting with faculty, students and staff as her favorite part of the job. “They are a wonderful group,” she commented.