Today@Sam Article

2018 Staff Excellence Award Recipients Announced

May 11, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

StaffExcellence2018  (2)

President Hoyt (center) recently recognized the 2018 Staff Excellence Award recipients. They are (from left) Cenaiyda Carranza, Trina Walker, William Godwin and Sonya Miller.

Four Sam Houston State University employees who have demonstrated excellence in service, proven commitment, commendable performance and a high level of motivation have been selected as recipients of the 2018 Staff Excellence Award.

They are Cenaiyda Carranza, of Career Services; William Godwin, of the Texas Research Institute for Environmental Studies (TRIES); Sonya Miller, of the Family and Consumer Sciences department; and Trina Walker, of the Newton Gresham Library.

Staff members are selected based on nominations by their peers, supervisors and members of the SHSU faculty. In addition to a plaque of recognition, each recipient will be honored during the general university meeting at the beginning of the fall semester and awarded a $2,000 bonus.


StaffExcellence2018 (1)Cenaiyda Carranza

Serving as assistant director in Career Services, Cenaiyda Carranza works at The Woodlands Center and is focused on building partnerships and programming for the department. She enjoys developing opportunities for students and staff to help them grow personally and professionally in order to become better advocates of their careers.

Her creative contributions to the department include the development of the Career Counseling Liaison program and What’s Your Story career panels program.

Since joining SHSU in 2009, she has been a freshman leadership mentor, served on the advisory board for Sam Houston ELITE, served on the counseling program advisory committee and The Woodlands Center advisory board. Additionally, she is a member of the National Career & Development Association and National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

Comments supporting her nomination included:

“Numerous students shared with me their stories about how Cenaiyda significantly impacted their ability to gain meaningful employment before and after graduation.”

“In my experience in working with her, she has always been open to new ideas contributed by students, and more importantly, has sought opportunities for students to gain experience.”

“She is warm, friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. She exhibits professionalism in all her encounters with students, staff and faculty.


StaffExcellence3William Godwin

As collections manager for SHSU’s Natural History Collection, William Godwin has played a key role in exponentially growing the collection in both size and diversity. He has also supported the work of dozens of students, enabling them to develop their own research projects and publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals.

Since moving the collection two years ago, Godwin has enabled the creation of a new library and expanded the use of the collection for research by faculty, students and scientists from outside the university. Additionally, he developed a seminar series and publication series to compliment the collection and help build new relationships and visibility. 

Comments supporting his nomination included:

“William had achieved more in the last 2.5 years than any other individual I know on campus. He uses intellect, knowledge and skills, along with research capabilities and those of others to build the collection into a highly reputable source of natural history materials and information dating back hundreds of years to present.”

“He prioritizes the students that work with him, including them on every aspect of the collection from planning and logistics, to curation and research.”

“William has been an incredible asset to the university and should be recognized for it. While he works in an area unrecognizable by many because of its seclusion from the main campus, he is rivaled by few in his commitment to the university and faculty, staff and students.”


StaffExcellence4Sonya Miller

As assistant to the chair in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, Sonya Miller is always willing to go the extra mile to answer faculty and student questions and assist with planning events, travel and student functions.

Providing resourceful ideas, Sonya’s colleagues describe her as innovative in developing new processes for improvements in her department.

While she may often have a heavy workload, operating on quick deadlines, she is always willing to help others in times of need.

Comments supporting her nomination included:

“Sonya is the type of person who makes you want to do your job better, just by her own example.”

 “Sonya has the ability to multi-task and motivate others. She does not mind helping others and she does it with a smile. She has the skills needed to be successful but most importantly the motivation to do well as a professional.”

“Her ability to pay attention to detail is something I rely on heavily. It is one of her strengths that is critical to moving all processes forward in our department”


StaffExcellence2Trina Walker

As a loyal employee for over 18 years, Trina Walker is a responsible, efficient and devoted library associate who has made innumerable contributions to the success of the Newton Gresham Library.

Walker is highly respected by librarians and other staff for her proficiency and willingness to assist others. Always looking for ways to keep the department workflow running smoothly, she often takes the initiative to learn the duties of others in order to fill-in when her colleagues are out. The spirit of her cooperation and teamwork has made her a valuable asset to the department.

Described as an excellent problem solver, Walker has worked diligently to reduce departmental errors and has developed procedures to increase efficiencies and improve communication and record keeping.

Comments supporting her nomination included:

“Trina is adaptable and is able to handle and balance changes in work assignments with ease. She has excellent organizational skills, exceptional computer skills and outstanding financial skills.”

“She takes great pride in her work and always strives to be accurate and thorough and serves as a good role model for all the staff.”

“Trina provides student assistants with a positive work experience by being thorough in training them, being concerned about them as individuals and treating them fairly when difficult situations arise.”

To see the complete list of previous winners visit

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