2018 KAHO New Professional Award

Congratulations to Jolissa Yonker of Eastern Kentucky University for receiving the 2018 New Professional Award at the 2018 KAHO Annual Conference. The New Professional Award is awarded to the housing professional who has worked between one and three years at their institution for their outstanding contributions and service to their institution.

From the award nomination:

This nomination is to support Jolissa Yonker as the Outstanding New Professional for KAHO 2018. Jolissa is currently a 3rd year RHC at Eastern Kentucky University. She is the RHC of Martin Hall, the “Crown Jewel” of campus. I provide this information because it was no small feat for her to obtain this building and this nomination will hopefully provide details to support her extraordinary performances. This nomination is grounded in three areas of recognition: student support, staff development, and leadership.

Jolissa cares deeply for her students and their successes. She believes that every student has the capability of being great and can achieve their goals. Jolissa will easily sacrifice her self-care to make sure that her students are given attention and satisfied. To support this claim, her supervisor writes this: “During move-in this year, Jolissa encountered a student who was trying to move in, but was not registered for classes. The student shared some struggles she had during her first year, including being homeless, and Jolissa quickly pulled together a team and plan to help this student. She worked with colleagues to make sure the student could temporarily move in, while also helped the student develop a plan. The Monday after move-in weekend, Jolissa met the student at 7:30 AM to get them to various offices across campus that could assist the student. The amazing part about Jolissa is this is only one example out of dozens where she has gone above and beyond to advocate for her students.”

It is well known that Jolissa has a true talent for putting together a team and developing them into the best staff on campus; her accolades include two-time “Hall Staff of the Year Award” winner and two-time “Hall Olympics Champions”. Being with her staff and bonding with them is her niche. Her former RA, now GRHC, provides this: “Jolissa invests in her staff both within the RA role and beyond. She keeps the staff excited for achieving their best and encourages us to think beyond the RA role to further professional development. Jolissa is a role model and someone that I strive to be like. She is an inspirational leader.”

Finally, being a 3rd year RHC, Jolissa has taken the mantle of being a leader for the RHCs. She plays to her strengths of Includer and Woo as she continues to try and bring the RHCs together to form close relationships and effective teamwork. Some of her colleagues say this: “Jolissa is always there with a smile on her face and the energy to get the room going in a good mood. Her humble personality and positivity for others make her one of the rarest colleagues, one that puts others before herself so that they may succeed. I know that when I am working with Jolissa it will not only be productive, but will be loads of fun for everyone.”

Her former supervisor sums up some of her greatest qualities with this: “Another great quality of Jolissa’s is her great ability to build bridges across campus and throughout the Richmond community. She has a knack for “woo-ing” even the hardest of hearts so that her residential community and department can be successful. Her friendly personality and “can do” attitude has allowed her to build friendships with colleagues in numerous departments and be shoulder-tapped for several campus-wide committees.” I proudly nominate Jolissa Yonker for the KAHO 2018 Outstanding New Professional Award. I hope that the statement and supporting examples have fulfilled your criteria for her nomination.

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