Recipients of Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Support Announced

Two staff members have been chosen to receive the Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Support. The award is a collaboration between the Graduate School and the Office of Undergraduate Advising.

The award recipients are:

  • Carmela Diosana, student services coordinator in the Department of Botany, for Excellence in Graduate Academic Services and Advising
  • Julie Rae, assistant director for graduate student career services in Engineering Career Services, for Excellence in Graduate Career Advising and Professional Development

“This new award recognizes the pivotal role that staff play in graduate student achievement,” said Graduate School Dean William J. Karpus. “The Graduate School values the dedication and contribution of these individuals, and we know that graduate students see them as crucial to their academic and professional success. Please join me in congratulating award winners Carmela Diosana and Julie Rae.”

Excellence in Graduate Academic Services and Advising

Photo of Carmela DiosanaCarmela Diosana, student services coordinator in the Department of Botany

Carmela has supported the graduate and undergraduate botany programs as student services coordinator for six years, with a total of 20 years of employment at UW–Madison. Her role focuses on recruitment and retention, particularly for students from underrepresented groups, and she has reorganized new student orientation activities to increase engagement. Graduate students and colleagues recognize her as a community- and relationship-builder and effective communicator, who fosters a positive climate within the department.

Nominator David Baum, professor of botany, states, “Carmela embodies professional excellence and the deepest possible commitment to the wellbeing of students. She manages the hard work of keeping our graduate program running smoothly, works tirelessly in the service of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and always provides students with kindness and wisdom as they navigate the challenges of graduate school. Our department is lucky to have someone as dedicated and skilled as Carmela.”

Excellence in Graduate Career Advising and Professional Development 

Photo of Julie RaeJulie Rae, assistant director for graduate student career services in Engineering Career Services

Julie supports the career needs of over 1,500 graduate students in the College of Engineering as the sole graduate-focused staff member in the college’s career services office. She has held this role for six years, with a total of nearly 18 years of employment in the career services field. Her responsibilities include group programming on career development and job search strategy topics, as well as one-on-one career advising. Engineering graduate students are largely from international backgrounds, making this role particularly challenging in navigating visa policy for internships and cooperative education.

Nominator Stephanie Salazar Kan, assistant director of Engineering Career Services, says, “Julie is awesome! She goes above and beyond for students, giving each one her undivided attention. Her calming demeanor sets students at ease during very stressful times such as job offer discussions. As a colleague, Julie is always willing to lend a hand and pitch in to ensure the success of all office programs.”

Award recipients will be recognized in activities later this fall. Each awardee will receive up to $2,000 in professional development funding from the Graduate School.

Read more about the award program.