5 staff members honored with RICE MILE Award

Rice staff members Jenny Brydon, Agnes Vajtai, Andy Meretoja, Jackie Blyden and Jeff Falk have been honored with the RICE MILE Award.

Brydon, senior manager of international advising and programs in the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), was honored for her “significant impact on the international student population through creating coursework, leadership development programs and high-level intercampus exposure,” said a letter nominating her for the award.

“Our students come to Rice expecting excellence,” the letter said. “Under Jenny’s leadership, they get this — and also have an important role in defining what Rice excellence really is.”

Vajtai, manager of visa and compliance administration in OISS, was praised for her “passion for Rice and the international students and scholars” she serves.

“She tackles every complex project with pride, initiative, transparency and with great judgment,” her nomination letter said.  “Agnes does not shy away from a challenge and will tackle critical tasks in a clear, fair and transparent manner.”

Meretoja, international program administrator in OISS, was touted for her “creativity, passion for Rice and dedication to excellence.”

“Andy is dedicated to making Rice a better place,” her nomination letter said. “She uses her gifts to positively impact her colleagues, as well as Rice’s international students and scholars. For Andy, there is no upper limit.”

Blyden, a support specialist for campus services in the Office of Information Technology, always “goes the extra mile” for those she supports.

“No matter what the problem is, she always manages to correct it with poise and responsibility,” her nomination letter said. “She takes pride in her work and shows it in more than one way. She is conscientious and trustworthy.”

Falk, associate director of national media relations in the Office of Public Affairs, was touted for how he “takes initiative, thinks broadly and acts in decisive, action-oriented ways.”

“He is entrepreneurial in the way he sees opportunities for public visibility that others do not,” his nomination letter said. “He has a strong sense for the public interest, and is always joyful and eager to collaborate.”

All levels of staff are eligible for consideration for the RICE MILE Award and can be nominated by peers, colleagues, co-workers or supervisors as long as they have at least one year of service and are in good standing. Nominations must be submitted through the RICE MILE Award online nomination form and require approval from senior leadership in the nominee’s school or division.

For more information, visit http://people.rice.edu/careersrice/awards-and-recognition/the-rice-mile-award/.


About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice New.