Excellence in Leadership (Classified)


Suzanne Semones

Suzanne Semones, office services coordinator for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, received the President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership for her outstanding efforts to institute new software to help with travel expenses, as well as her kind and caring attitude toward those she works with.

As a member of the Travel Committee, Semones collaborated on strategies to improve the travel process for all involved. She volunteered the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences to be an early adopter of the software.

David Dominic, professor and former chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said the experience with the software has been immensely helpful.

“She has enhanced not only this department but also every administrative unit that deals with travel,” Dominic said.

She currently sits on the Classified Staff Advisory Council and the Staff Council, representing her fellow workers, and serves on the Women in Science Giving Circle Scholarship Committee. In the past, she has served on the Gender Equity Committee of the Athletics Council and on the Travel Committee that recommended the purchase of the Chrome River software.

Semones often serves as a mentor in her office. She fosters development by teaching systems and software to office staff and faculty. Silvia Newell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, worked closely with Semones during Newell’s journey from newly minted junior faculty to associate professor.

“Semones has taught me everything I needed to know about Wright State and about running a lab that I never realized I would need to know,” Newell said. “She has mentored me along with our graduate students and staff, supporting and encouraging us.”

Chad Hammerschmidt, interim chair of earth and environmental sciences, said he thoroughly enjoys working with Semones and often discusses personal life along with their work. He also said many of his students greatly admire and love her.

“She is a surrogate mother for many of our students. She is approachable, never judgmental, open-minded and caring,” Hammerschmidt said. “I asked my students what she means to them. Overwhelmingly, they love her and she is the person they go to when they have a problem.”

Dominic also commended Semones’ work with people in the office, specifically, her devotion to diversity.

“She deals with people by genuinely caring for them. She cares that the faculty succeed in their teaching and goes out of her way to make sure that they have the necessary resources,” he said. “She respects everyone. Because that respect is reciprocated, she has the ability to influence people in positive ways.”

“Semones wants everyone she connects with, those she supervises and those she supports, to succeed. What makes her truly outstanding, however, is the degree to which she invests herself in making that happen,” Dominic said. “She models excellent leadership every day.”

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