June 11, 2008

Recreational Sports and Services honors employees

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Recreational Sports and Services recently recognized Mary J. McDermott, Vijay Sood and Matt Erickson with special awards. McDermott, of Roselle, is the 2008 J. Michael Dunn Leadership Team Employee of the Year while Sood, of St. Louis, is the 2008 Student Employee of the Year. Erickson, of Steger, won the Herman Williams Intramural Sports Employee of the Year award.

McDermott worked during the past academic year as a graduate assistant in the marketing department at Recreational Sports and Services, best known as RSS. The daughter of Linda and Jim McDermott, she earned her bachelor’s degree in photography. She’s currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional media and media management. McDermott plans to use her graduate work experience in tandem with her previous experience as a photographer, graphic designer and pre-press supervisor to obtain a position as a web designer or to launch a creative services business of her own in the future.

“I’m so proud to have Mary be the first-time winner of the J. Michael Dunn Leadership Team Employee of the Year,” said Gary D. Tisdale, marketing coordinator for RSS. “I’ve known Mike for a long time and am honored that my graduate assistant was chosen to receive this award named after him.”

Sood is a two-year employee of RSS, working in information technology support and as an intramural supervisor. The son of Marion Sood and Chaman Sood, he’s wrapped up his sophomore year as an information systems technology major. After earning his undergraduate degree, Vijay Sood plans to seek a graduate assistantship and obtain his master’s degree in sports management. He anticipates a career as a network administrator.

Heather Shaffer, system administrator for RSS, said Sood’s duties are two-fold in that he officiates for various intramural sports and is the intramural Web master, while also working in the information technology department where “he plays a huge role in assisting the staff in their day-today operations concerning technology.”

“Vijay is a remarkable individual who takes school and work very seriously,” Shaffer said. “He is never late for a shift. He has become that ‘ideal’ student employee and I’m very proud to say that I’ve had the opportunity to have him as a member of my staff.”

William P. Ehling, director of RSS, created the special awards last fall to recognize outstanding student employee performance. Each month during the 2007-2008 academic year, RSS recognized two employees of the month and one leadership team award winner. An April 25 banquet recognized all of the honorees and included the announcement of the winners of the annual awards. The banquet was part of the Past and Present Weekend Celebration honoring current staff and alumni as well.

Ehling noted that the awards presentation was particularly special in that the namesakes of two of the major awards presented the first awards bearing their names. J. Michael Dunn was director of RSS, then known as the Office of Intramural and Recreational Sports (OIRS) and also worked as coordinator of recreational sports facilities while at SIUC. Currently director of recreational sports at The Ohio State University, Dunn earned his master’s at SIUC. Ehling also notes that Dunn served as president of the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) and won the organization’s coveted Honor Award.

The leadership team includes full-time staff, graduate assistants and a select group of student RSS undergraduate employees leading the department in making major decisions. Ehling said student development and enhanced assessment are the objective outcomes and since student development is what Dunn is all about, it seemed fitting to name the award for him. Lori Lynn Stettler, director of the SIUC Student Center, introduced Dunn, who in turn gave the Leadership Team Employee of the Year Award to McDermott. Stettler is a past graduate assistant, past national student representative and good friend of Dunn’s.

William McMinn, RSS director before his retirement in December 2006, presented the Student Employee of the Year Award to Sood. A standing ovation honored McMinn and his contributions to SIUC.

Herman Williams, who recently retired as assistant director of intramural sports for RSS, presented the Herman Williams Intramural Sports Employee of the Year award to Matt Erickson. Erickson was fortunate enough to have worked with Williams at the University. Introducing Williams was past graduate assistant John Mahoney. Williams, beloved by students and staff at RSS, last year won the NIRSA People of Color Distinguished Leadership Award and the organization named in his honor the Herman Williams Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Founders Outstanding Service Award.

Erickson, intramurals supervisor, has worked 3 1/2 years for RSS. The son of Brad and Lynn Erickson, he plans to graduate in May 2009 with a bachelor’s in aviation management, with a minor in marketing along with an associate degree in aviation flight. His career goal is working in marketing and sales for aeronautic defense contractors.

“Matt was chosen as Intramural Sports Employee of the Year for his dedication, work ethic and contribution to the intramural sports program during the past year,” said Charles E. Ferguson Jr., coordinator for intramural sports at RSS. “Matt has an exceptional work ethic and has a commitment to making the program one of the best student-oriented programs on campus.”