EHS Honors its 2023 Staff Award Winners

January 9, 2024

Since 2007, EHS has been honoring staff members with the EHS Employee of the Year Award, now the EHS Brenda Armstrong Employee of the Year Award, as well as the EHS Excellence Award, now the Dariusz Czarnota Award of Excellence. These awards were created to recognize employees for their exceptional work ethic and dedication to EHS. The 2023 award recipients were recognized at an EHS staff meeting on January 9th. See a list of past EHS award winners.

EHS Brenda Armstrong Employee of the Year

This award is named in honor of Brenda Armstrong, who gave 28 years of service to Yale University and EHS. Her commitment to excellence led her to being named the department’s first Employee of the Year in 2007 and her impact continues to be felt within the department to this day.

Maren Schniederberend

Maren has exhibited a tireless work ethic for helping clients both inside and outside of EHS and Yale University. She has taken the lead on providing classroom and hands-on training for a record-setting number of researchers requiring BSL-2 enhanced work practices along with providing additional trainings for those handling SARS-CoV-2 clinical specimens. At the same time, Maren also assisted 125 PIs with their BSL-3 research applications for human pathogen and recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids research. Maren was able to accomplish these and countless other tasks all while performing her roles as Biosafety Supervisor and Co-Manager of the Safety Advisor Program and keeping a positive attitude. Her cheerfulness and optimism contribute to the moral of the department. Maren always shines a light in the darkness.

Dariusz Czarnota Award of Excellence

This award is named in honor of Dariusz Czarnota, who was a Safety Advisor at Environmental Health and Safety from 2001 until his untimely death in 2012. His dedication and work ethic exemplified the highest standards of performance and service.

Allyssa Antunes

As a Yale University Learning Partner, Allyssa is responsible for ensuring learning materials meet Yale’s Learning and Development Standards. This past year, she has been instrumental in Yale’s conversion to the new Workday Training platform, which included managing the conversion of roughly 300 programs and courses while leading the department’s user acceptance training process. She has also become a respected member of the newly formed Yale Learning Council, where her forethought, innovative approach, dedication, and attention to detail contributed significantly to the project’s success. Allyssa consistently goes above and beyond her everyday responsibilities and has shown an unwavering commitment to teamwork, as she is always willing to assist her colleagues and share her expertise. Additionally, Allyssa is part of several community groups at Yale including leading the EHS portion of the university’s new hire orientation and serves as Steering Committee Co-Chair Emeritus for the Future Leaders of Yale affinity group.

Jamie Cox

Jamie consistently does an amazing job as one of EHS’s Environmental Affairs Technicians managing the radioactive waste program. He is a subject matter expert and is always looking for ways to improve our processes and workflows to make our work as efficient as possible. Over the past year, Jamie headed up a project to clear out the Wright Lab vault, disposed of all the old legacy waste in the Wright Lab hot room, and assisted with the cart conversions for the new autoclaves. His attention to detail when it comes to record keeping is essential to ensuring our radioactive waste program is always ready for an audit. While his focus is in the radioactive waste area, he assists with all of our other waste programs as well. Whether it’s picking up biological waste in the Medical School, helping with chemical waste pickups on Science Hill, or helping cover waste requests at West Campus, Jamie can always be counted on to accomplish every task promptly and effectively.

Stephanie Monroe

Stef is one of the most diligent, reliable, and dedicated employees in the EHS office. She has willingly taken on more responsibilities to help the ever-expanding biosafety program. In 2023, she agreed to lead the Select Agent Department of Justice Security Risk Assessment program for the biological safety group. This entailed developing a program and process to ensure all individuals who needed to be cleared by the FBI were notified, provided with the proper forms, and scheduled for fingerprinting. Stef even attended the fingerprinting sessions to ensure a chain of custody for the forms was in place. This year, she also worked with colleagues and ITS to develop an automated approval letter notification program, which culminated in a tremendous time savings for the biosafety program. In addition, Stef manages the Yale Biological Safety Committee meetings along with the Human Gene Transfer Subcommittee, the Institutional Review Entity for Dual Use Research of Concern projects, the BSL-3 Subcommittee, and the VA IBC.