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Dan Smolenski
Dan Smolenski (right) is notified of his award by Kleanthis Psarris, chair of
the Department of Computer Science
(Photo by Mark McClendon)

Rising Star Award: Dan Smolenski

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(April 17, 2006)--Dan Smolenski, senior systems administrator in the Department of Computer Science, will be honored with the Rising Star Award, one of five that will be presented April 20 at the UTSA Staff Excellence and Service Awards ceremony.

The five Staff Excellence Awards recognize excellent work performance in emerging leadership, dynamic leadership, teamwork, extraordinary initiative and overall excellence.

Additional award winners this year are:

  • Leadership Award: Lowa Mwilambwe, university center director
  • Team Spirit Award: Inventory Department staff members George Estevez, inventory clerk I; Olinda Ongay, inventory clerk II; Miriam Marin, inventory clerk II; James Sumner, inventory clerk III and Frank Bates, accountant II
  • Extra Mile Award: Robert Rivas, research scientist associate II, Department of Biology
  • Order of the Roadrunner Award: Hermilo "Milo" Silva, assistant director of planning and engineering, Center for Distance Learning and Academic Technology

In the first of five award spotlights that will be featured on UTSA Today before the ceremony, the Rising Star Award recognizes a staff member with less than three years of continuous service with the university who has made significant contributions to his or her area or to the university community and has demonstrated improvement through cooperation, initiative and a take-charge attitude.

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Dan Smolenski

Rising Star Award winner

Dan Smolenski joined UTSA in October 2003 as a senior systems analyst in the Department of Computer Science.

In charge of the department's computer systems and laboratories, he has continually made improvements to the computer system and management of it. He diagnosed and corrected many ongoing problems and streamlined procedures for resetting passwords. He trains assistants to help solve students' computer problems.

Each semester, Smolenski manages a staff of student assistants who monitor the computer science computer labs. Serving as a role model to the students, he helps them learn new skills in problem solving.

He has provided invaluable support for special programs at UTSA, such as PREP and the Computer Science Graduate Program for High School Teachers. Smolenski managed the installation of two new software programs that were required to handle the demands of the two programs. He showed great patience and care in working with the instructors for the programs to set up their courses online. Additionally, he worked with housekeeping to ensure that the laboratory was always a pleasant environment in which the teachers could work.

He has shown tremendous support for teaching and research by installing and providing technical support for software packages used in many UTSA classes.

One colleague who nominated Smolenski for the award said, "When I realize that he is providing technical support of this nature not only to me and to my research program, but to everyone in the department -- I am awed. Dan is truly a star -- he is dedicated, competent, thoughtful and focused. He is a person who, in every aspect of his work, helps students, faculty and staff do their jobs better. He has made our department more productive, and he treats everyone with courtesy and respect. It is an honor to work with him."

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UTSA employees are invited to attend the event hosted by Rosalie Ambrosino, UTSA provost and vice president for academic affairs; Kerry Kennedy, UTSA vice president for business affairs; and Jude Valdez, UTSA vice president for extended services, at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 20, in the University Center Laurel Room (2.01.28) on the 1604 Campus. The ceremony will include remarks by UTSA President Ricardo Romo.

Downtown Campus and Institute of Texan Cultures staff members can attend the event utilizing VIA buses 93 or 94 at no charge by showing their UTSACard.

The ceremony will include retiree recognition, service pin awards for 5 to 35 years, and refreshments. Thirty-four staff members will be honored on their retirements and 214 staff members will receive UT System service awards for the 2005 calendar year.

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