Lozano, Medina and Ramos win inaugural Rice Staff Excellence Awards

Staff Council award recipients photo

Three Rice staff members — Kandice Lozano, Christine Gocek Medina and Armandina Ramos — were named the inaugural recipients of the Rice Staff Excellence Award at an April 18 staff appreciation event hosted by the Office of the President at Tudor Fieldhouse.

Kandice Lozano
From left: Kandice Lozano and Rice President Reginald DesRoches. Photo by Jeff Fitlow. 

The accolade was created and presented by the Rice Staff Council with support from Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Kelly Fox and Rice’s Division of Operations, Finance and Support. It celebrates the achievements of staff members who exemplify the university’s core values of responsibility, integrity, community and excellence and make a positive impact on the Rice community.

“I’m incredibly proud of the hard work from the Rice Staff Council Staff Advocacy Committee in making these awards a reality,” said Staff Council Chair Petko Ivanov.

Lozano, an animal technician II, has been a part of Rice’s Animal Resource Facility for the past four years. Elysse Ann Orchard, an adjunct professor in the practice in the George R. Brown School of Engineering, said Lozano “responded admirably to the challenges of the pandemic.”

“She provided care every day and each weekend and holiday without fail, allowing research to continue uninterrupted,” Orchard said.

Medina and RDR
From left: Christine Gocek Medina and Rice President Reginald DesRoches. Photo by Jeff Fitlow. 

Orchard added that Mickey Stevenson, assistant vice president for research integrity, commended Lozano in an email to Rice administration, stating “her contributions to Rice have been essential to allow us to support major research programs and discoveries. We are very fortunate to have her as a dedicated member of the Rice team.”

As the lead administrative specialist in the School of Humanities, Medina was described by Assistant Dean of Humanities Anita Norwig as “having worn many hats in the school for the past 19 years.”

“Christine has a work and a personal style that is engaging and collaborative, and she immediately puts everyone at ease,” Norwig said. “She continues to be a strong advocate and change agent for the iO system … she personally trains and mentors each new staff member and often faculty on the iO system and has been very successful in those endeavors. Her tenacious nature and love of conquering new challenges is inspirational and productive in all aspects of her work and interactions with others.”

AR and RDR
From left: Armandina Ramos and Rice President Reginald DesRoches. Photo by Jeff Fitlow. 

Ramos, lead custodian in the Rice residential colleges, has worked in Housing and Dining for more than two decades. Her supervisor and custodial director Melissa Salinas said Ramos was “instrumental to Housing and Dining’s success during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“She directed the north zone custodians with strong leadership, impeccable organizational skills and compassion,” Salinas said. “As our team of essential workers reported to work at a time of uncertainty, she never hesitated in coming to work. She showed her responsibility for making Rice better and its success during this unprecedented event.”

“We’re so grateful for the wonderful response from the Rice community during the first year for the awards, and we hope staff will be as enthusiastic in nominating their peers next year,” said Staff Advocacy Subcommittee Chair Rochelle Bass Salazar.

More information on the Rice Staff Excellence Awards is online at https://staffcouncil.rice.edu/awards.