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Crista Spratt Receives Gerald Wendt Award for Excellence in Support of Research and Graduate Programs

19 October 2020
Crista Spratt

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Crista Spratt has been named the recipient of the Gerald Wendt Award for Excellence in Support of Research and Graduate Programs.

The Gerald Wendt Award recognizes staff within the Department of Chemistry who have made it their focus to contribute and improve the department by acting as a role model for others, exceeding expectations in their day-to-day work, and showing exemplary dedication to research and graduate education. The award is presented once every three years to one staff member who supports research or graduate education.

Spratt was one of several staff members nominated for the award. Department of Chemistry Head Phil Bevilacqua and departmental administrative manager Sarah Lonsinger noted, “We are proud of the excellent staff in our department. They are outstanding employees and also wonderful people. We would like to recognize all of the nominees and thank them for the many ways, both known and unknown, that they have contributed to the department. Their contributions are especially appreciated during this trying time of working remotely.”

“I am honored to be selected for the Gerald Wendt Award and reading the comments made my heart happy,” Spratt said, explaining her reaction to receiving the award. “I am not a person that cries very often but happy tears were flowing, so much so that my husband got concerned and asked me what was wrong! I am so appreciative of everyone in the department and will strive to continue to help in any way that I can.”

“Crista has also played a critical role in graduate admissions.  She is a special advocate for diversity and international students, and this year’s class reflects this in its gender and racial diversity, as well as its outstanding international component,”Bevilacqua and Lonsinger added. “Crista is part of the Penn State chemistry family from the time before students arrive to after they leave.  We are delighted that she is a member of our department and that her work has been honored with this award.”

Spratt serves as the graduate program coordinator for the Department of Chemistry. As the program coordinator, she handles graduate admissions and organizes open house and orientation events for new students. She also monitors graduate students' academic progress to ensure that they meet the requirements and deadlines to successfully achieve candidacy through their doctoral qualifying exam, create their doctoral committee, pass their oral comprehensive exam, and successfully defend their doctoral or master’s thesis. Additionally, Spratt works with faculty, staff, and students to discuss issues that are going on in their academic life and works to ensure that graduate students have the information and access that they need to successfully achieve their goals each semester.

Spratt was named the recipient of the Gerald Wendt Award in recognition of her dedication to the graduate program and her willingness to go above and beyond to ensure student success. In particular, Spratt’s nominators praised her hard work in creating virtual programs to welcome new graduate students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As one first-year student who nominated Spratt explained, “As a first-year graduate student, starting graduate school during a global pandemic was certainly not ideal. However, Crista truly helped set a positive tone during orientation, which I believe many of us carried through the start of the semester. She went out of her way to make sure all of our questions were answered, our needs were addressed, and to make it as ‘normal’ as possible. She always had a great attitude and a contagious smile!”

“Crista has truly been an instrumental part in helping make the chemistry department an inviting, and awesome place to be a graduate student!” added another nominator. “Her honesty and hard working attitude makes her a powerful resource for graduate students. I really believe that Crista is one of the best resources for everyone in our department, which is really saying something given just how great our staff members are!”

Please join the Department of Chemistry in congratulating Crista Spratt on this well-deserved award.