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2022 Benny Award Winners

May 16, 2022
Division of Student Affairs

Benny Awards Graphic

The Benny Awards acknowledge excellence and dedication in a broad range of categories, and recipients include students, staff, faculty, alumni, and organizations. The outstanding efforts and accomplishments of the recipients were noticed and submitted by peers or colleagues during the award nomination period. Nominations were then independently reviewed by a panel of Student Affairs professionals, and recipients were selected. Award winners receive a beautiful crystal memento, and their name is

The Benny Awards are conferred by the Division of Student Affairs, but the people who nominated the recipients should tell us why they felt that these members of our community represent the spirit of a Bengal. Some nominators supplied a great deal of detail; others were more sparing of words; but the enthusiasm behind each nomination is clear!

Outstanding Event: Valerie Davids, Student Engagement & Leadership Center 

Val coordinated the Casino Night in February of 2022. The event was wonderful and fun for both the volunteers and the many students that turned out for it. I was a volunteer and got to deal cards to the students, who were all appreciative and kind. Val ran the event efficiently, and great fun was had by all.   

Graduate Student Leader - Megan Ostler

Megan is a masters student who has worked as a lead CPI intern in the CALM (Caring, Action, Leadership, and Mindfulness) program co-sponsored by Counseling and Testing and the Social Work Department. She consistently displays leadership for others, models service to the campus community, and supports students in ways that move ISU forward.

Undergraduate Student Leader - Madison Burrell

Madison, who began working at the Idaho State University Counseling and Testing Center in August 2019, is a fantastic worker and does a great job recognizing the needs of the center. Madi’s dedication to ISU and the students has been apparent. She is very involved on campus, including being a leader for multiple student organizations. Madi has been President of her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, and has held other positions within the sorority, helping to plan and support numerous service projects. One of the recent projects she helped with was the Kindly Hearts Campaign, which held a shoe drive to support the students at Jefferson Elementary. Madi is also involved in SAHCA-the Student Association of HealthCare Administration, holding the position as President this year and playing an important role in establishing professional development, social interaction, and networking opportunities. She has also served as the Chief Administration officer of the Graduate Association of Business Students.

Exemplary Service Award - Knox Freedman

Knox is perhaps the most hard-working and dedicated resident assistant, and definitely the most well-liked on campus. Whenever I'm with him in Rendezvous, he is constantly reaching out and greeting students passing by whom he has developed a connection with. He embodies the purpose of serving the ISU community.

Roar Bengal Roar - Nicholas Davlin

Nick proves he’s a Bengal everyday by supporting as many different sporting events as he can as well as working hard to run for the College of Business senator. He is the Vice President of the new fraternity, the TKEs. He deserves this award because he shows his spirit, helps the community, and wants to help ISU get more students involved throughout campus. Nick is not afraid to walk up to anyone and talk about a new event or an upcoming event at the university that students should come to. He’s the proudest Bengal I know.

Inspirational Bengal Award - Dalton Derie

Dalton Derie works as an RA in Redfield at ISU, touching a lot of people's lives. Dalton’s heart is not “three sizes too small”; it is about 3 sizes bigger with the love this man shares with every soul he sees. While it is Dalton's job to make sure the residents are happy, he goes beyond working hours to ensure they are happy! Dalton takes care of people and encourages them to always keep going and doing their best. While the summary of the award mentions having a significant impact on at least one other fellow Bengal. Dalton has had an impact on many people especially on his residents. He is always there when you need him and he does his absolute best to be a good friend and help whoever needs it. 

Student Organization of the Year - University Honors Program

The UHP Club is one of the largest and most active student organizations at Idaho State University. The UHP Club makes a strong effort to involve as many Honors students as possible throughout the academic year.  They also look for and embrace opportunities to collaborate with other university student clubs and the Student Activities Board.  Civic engagement is also highly valued by the UHP club.  This year, the club organized activities that supported the Idaho Food Bank, the Bannock County 9/11 Memorial, and Red Cross Blood Drives.  Additionally, the club organized a drive for Be the Match to grow the number of blood stem cell donors.  The largest activity supported by the club was Rake-A-Difference, a community event that raises funds for the Pocatello Free Clinic. The consistently reliable and committed leadership of the UHP Club has created a student organization that is a strong supplement to and enhancement of the University Honors Program. Through the club, the students in the University Honors Program have additional support, networks, and peer relationships that aid in student retention and success. 

Student Organization Advisor - Dr. Anushka Burde, College of Pharmacy

Burde has been instrumental in promoting streamlined procedures and proactive communication between members of the ISU Pharmacy program's PPSA organization. Though she became an advisor only recently (as of this school year), she quickly learned how to aid students with various PPSA procedures and did not hesitate to offer suggestions on ways to improve. Without her guidance, we would not have accomplished nearly as much as an organization, and because of her, we made massive improvements that will affect students for years to come. Beyond her service as an advisor, she is a phenomenal instructor who knows how to explain concepts clearly. In all areas of her work she is compassionate and strives to make things better.

Faculty Member - Dr. Colin Johnson, Department of Political Science

Johnson gave an excellent presentation on the state of affairs in Ukraine. It was incredibly informative and included a great Q&A afterwards. A total of 205 people attended the event: 70 in person, 135 over zoom. The event was put on by the Political Science Club and Department.  

Staff Member - Raylene Houck, College of Education

Raylene has been with the College of Education for over five years. In that time her role and responsibilities have changed drastically through the retirement of various other long-time administrative assistants. At present, Raylene provides support for our Teaching and Educational Studies department which is composed of 13 faculty members who teach in four Bachelor's programs and five graduate programs. Additionally, Raylene supports the teacher education program through processing admission documents for more than 225 future teachers and monitors their testing requirements. Raylene's phone is the main contact for the college. She fields numerous calls a day and directs individuals to the help they need. Her attention to customer service even resulted in a sizable gift to the college since her demeanor was so kind and inviting.

Student Affairs Non-classified - Craig Joseph, Student Affairs Marketing

Craig is one of the hardest-working people I know at ISU. I can't tell you the number of times I've woken up to see an email in my inbox from Craig that arrived at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. His dedication to the ISU brand is beyond inspiring. I think that it should also be known that Craig is one of the best if not the best graphic designers at ISU. I have had the pleasure of working with him for just over a year now, and I can honestly say he is a great boss. He doesn't micromanage, but I always know that if I need anything he is more than willing to help. Working with Craig has been a great experience!             

Student Affairs Classified - Doris Nestor, Student Union Facilities

Doris is one of the most amazing people I have had the honor of working with! On many occasions she reminds me to keep my head and stay calm while dealing with stressful situations. She is always concerned about the happiness and wellbeing of others. In all honesty I don't know if I could do this job without her. She is the cornerstone and foundation of the maintenance department. I owe my success to her and her guidance, and for that I believe that the Benny award is the least we can do to recognize such an amazing woman.    

Alumni - Kendra Doty

In the eight years since Ms. Doty graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in political science at Idaho State, she has represented her alma mater well. Following her time as an active member of ISU’s debate team, she coached debate at Whitman College and Arizona State University. Kendra then attended law school, graduating from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2019. Kendra now works as an associate attorney at Brown & Peisch, PLLC—a boutique law firm in Washington, D.C. that specializes in litigation and regulatory work involving federal health and benefit programs. Previously, Kendra worked as a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In addition to thriving in her career, she selflessly seeks to do all in her power to help others prepare for a successful career in law. Ms. Doty goes beyond the suggested activities to carry out as a mentor in the University Honors Program AMP’ed UP! (Alumni Mentor Program). I have witnessed her wholehearted service as a volunteer mentor for ISU undergraduate students. She helped launch the first cycle of mentoring in spring 21. She is now participating in a third cycle of mentoring. Students mentored by her continue to share how she has given them actual steps to take to prepare themselves for admission into law school. Moreover, they empress that she increased their confidence in being able to gain admission into a law school. Kendra has provided feedback to help increase the effectiveness of the mentoring sessions. The time that she gives to students is especially admirable at this stage in her thriving career. Therefore, she is a most deserving candidate for this recognition. 


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