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2021 Winners

Congratulations, awardees!

The University is thankful for each award winner and nominee. Together, let’s applaud their efforts to make WSU a better place.

Award winners

Grand Prize

Cougar Health Services (all clinical staff)

While the majority of WSU staff worked remotely last year, CHS clinical staff members continued to work in-person to care for student patients. This academic year, they have worked unpaid overtime to help students stay healthy and ensure that the campus can safely remain open during the pandemic.


Trent Amonett
Operations and safety coordinator
College of Arts & Sciences

Trent assembled the college’s Accident Prevention Program, key to running research, teaching, and outreach endeavors safely. He also developed content for the college’s new safety website. He is an ongoing member of the Facilities Liaison committee and Level 2 Employee and Construction Safety Committee, and serves as the college’s COVID-19 coordinator.

Shaun Sorensen
Stage manager
School of Music

Shaun has enabled musicians to safely perform in concert on the WSU campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. He works collaboratively to seek creative solutions to students’ needs. Shaun stays up to date on COVID mitigation protocols and communicates with performers if changes arise. He keeps a positive outlook and friendly demeanor while juggling many tasks.


Kay Olson
Teaching assistant professor
College of Nursing, WSU Health Sciences Spokane

By increasing access to COVID-19 vaccinations, Kay has advanced the health and safety of the entire community. She managed mass vaccination clinics at the Spokane Arena and has since worked tirelessly to coordinate community vaccination clinics. Her community health students are leaders in the vaccination movement because of her mentorship.

Cambri Shanahan
University Recreation, WSU Vancouver

As the campus recreation coordinator, Cambri organizes programs that improve mental health and leads outdoor recreation trips designed to improve physical health. She often prioritizes the needs of students above her own.


Robert Stilson
Electronics technician 3
Facilities Services

Robert maintains fire safety and security systems throughout the Pullman campus. He teamed with local fire and public safety officials to test systems in new buildings. He also implemented a safe operating procedure for elevator pits. His proactive discovery of a frozen sprinkler line may have spared a building from flooding and extensive damage.

Behnam Mozafari

A participant in the police cadet program, Behnam has volunteered to provide security at WSU concerts and sporting events as part of a uniformed presence. He is committed to ensuring the safety of the students, staff, and community members who attend.

Exceptional merit

Donald Keon
Industrial Hygienist 3
Environmental Services

Don manages chemical waste at WSU, providing guidance to researchers, graduate students, and contractors, and responding in the event of a chemical release. He has worked overtime and weekends to maintain services while also addressing COVID-19 requirements. He led efforts to make, bottle, and distribute hand sanitizer and disinfectants across the WSU system.

Glenn Miller
School of Biological Sciences

As Safety Committee chair, Glenn has played a key role in addressing workplace safety and security issues. During the COVID-19 lockdown, he regularly checked labs to ensure that vital scientific equipment remained operational. He acquired protective equipment to keep researchers safe and helped address the challenges of social distancing in common areas.

Conner Rath
Director of health, ASWSU

Conner serves as a bridge between students and Cougar Health Services. Passionate about health issues, he hopes to attend medical school. He works hard—and pays particular attention to detail—to connect students with health care resources and mentors.

Nuthaphol Ongpituk
Director of safety, ASWSU

Nuthaphol (Kody) has showed exemplary leadership in his role with ASWSU. He regularly seeks ways to address student safety concerns, such as exploring ways to improve safety on Stadium Way. He has initiated regular meetings with university administrators to forge solutions. The impact of his work may last for years to come.

Kelly Newlon
International programs

By addressing health and safety concerns, Dr. Newlon has enabled education abroad programs to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. She implemented a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all participating WSU students and improved risk-management procedures to protect participants in faculty-led programs abroad.




The WSU Safety Awards Committee appreciates all of the nominations submitted this year. The list of highly qualified and highly deserving candidates made for a difficult selection process.

Cougar Health Services (all clinical staff)
Donald Allison
Trent Amonett
Troy Bennefield
Shelly Bradley
Lisa Burch-Windrem
Kim Burt
Amy Chadwick
Jenna Chandler
Kimberly Cooper
Jenni Dalton
Tricia E. Duffy
Suzanne Gelston
Sean Gilbert
Dr. Nanda Grow
J.J. Harty
Zachariah Heiden
Denise Keeton
Don Keon
Robby Kershaw
Marc Levin
Cody Martin
Gracie Martin
Sandra McCollum
Dr. Patience McGinnis
Becky Meyer
Glenn Miller

Sarah Miller
Ezekiel Mitchell-Hopmeier
Hailey Morre
Haley Morris
Behnam Mozafari
Dr. Kelly Newlon
Kay Olson
Nuthaphol Ongpituk
Caitlin Ottaway
Conner Rath
Jennifer Robinson
Mason Ruark
Jason Sampson
Aneska Sanders
Cambri Shanahan
Elizabeth Siler
Stacey Smith Colon
Shaun Sorensen
Kyle Stennfeld
Robert Stilson
Derek Strong
Scott Tomren
Chad Trent
Joel Usner
George Vengrovski
Denise Waiting
Dr. Sara Waters