2024 Employee Awards celebrate faculty, staff achievements at OSU-Cascades

2024 Employee Award recipients
OSU-Cascades honored the recipients of the 2024 Employee Awards.
June 26, 2024

Oregon State University – Cascades has given its 2024 Employee Awards to eight faculty and staff members for outstanding contributions to the Bend campus and surrounding community.

The recipients of the campus’ 2024 employee awards were:

Cassie Copeland received the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. Copeland is assistant director of TRIO, a program that supports retention of first-generation students and students in financial need or with physical or learning disabilities. She was honored for serving a cohort of 140 enrolled students, providing career development, financial aid guidance and other services that have resulted in an 89% retention rate.

Quentin Comus received the Outreach Award for his efforts to engage local organizations and businesses in the Cascades Edge career development program. The program has hosted 26 events for undergraduate students over the past year, including networking events and panel talks, where students can learn from and interact with individuals working in their chosen career fields.

Devin Duncan, belonging and care coordinator, received the Unsung Hero Award. The leader of the campus Student Care Team, she was recognized for creating an environment where students are encouraged to seek support for their needs and to successfully navigate the challenges of pursuing degrees and learning to live more independently.

Rachel Kenney received the Service Excellence Award. A senior administrative assistant, Kenney was recognized for her service to faculty, staff and students; her positive and proactive approach to problem-solving; and for inspiring others through her dedication to the campus community.

Shannon Lipscomb, associate dean for research, also received the Outreach Award. A professor in human development and family sciences, Lipscomb was honored for her work collaborating across OSU’s Bend and Corvallis campuses to support faculty and student research at OSU-Cascades, and especially community-engaged research. She was also recognized for the extensive partnerships she has built in her own research, which focuses on community resilience and strategies to support early childhood teachers in nurturing resilience in children in Central Oregon and Malheur County.

Nathan Moses received the Bend Beavs Culture Award. The award recognizes an individual who fosters a positive sense of community. Moses, associate director of student life, was recognized for his positive work ethic and ability to connect and build partnerships with faculty, staff and students.

Lucy Purgason, an associate professor in the Master of Counseling program, received the Scholarship and Creativity Award. Her achievements include developing, in partnership with Assistant Professor Molly Moran, also in the counseling program, and the Bend-LaPine, Crook, Jefferson, and Redmond school districts, a program to address the region’s school counselor shortage and K-12 student mental health needs. The program, PATH-SC, was funded in 2023 through a $3.9 million federal grant.

Kristina Smith, a senior instructor in the biology program, received the Teaching Excellence Award. She was recognized for engaging students in ways that allow those with different learning styles to fully grasp the content, and for being approachable and accessible to students in and outside the classroom. She was also recognized for growing student participation in the annual Research and Scholarship Symposium, and for helping found a campus chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

Kim Vierra received the Sustainability Award. Vierra, student engagement manager and an instructor in the business degree program, was recognized for helping to form and operate the Clothing Connection, a resource for students, staff and faculty at OSU-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College offering gently-used business and casual wear at no cost.

To learn more about OSU-Cascades Employee Awards, including past recipients, visit osucascades.edu/employee-awards.

About OSU-Cascades:  Oregon State University’s campus in Bend brings higher education to Central Oregon, the fastest growing region in the state. Surrounded by mountains, forest and high desert, OSU-Cascades is a highly innovative campus of a top-tier land grant research university, offering small classes that accelerate faculty-student mentoring and experiential learning. Degree programs meet industry and economic needs in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and wellness, and arts and sciences, and prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges. OSU-Cascades is expanding to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net-zero goals.