Note: The accomplishments listed on this page are current as of Spring 2024.
Max Cohen is the Service Desk Supervisor at Oregon State University’s UIT (University Information & Technology) Service Desk, boasting nearly two decades of service to the institution. Max’s journey at OSU began nearly twenty years ago, where he served as a Desktop Support technician for twelve years before transitioning into his current management role. In his capacity as the operational manager for the Service Desk team, Max oversees a diverse group of over 100 student employees whom he recruits, hires, and directly supervises.
Since attending his first SIGUCCS conference in Salt Lake City in 2014, Max’s involvement with the organization has been transformative. He felt an instant connection with the conference and its attendees, resonating with what he describes as “his people.” He became an active participant in the SIGUCCS mentoring program, engaging as both a mentee and mentor. Through the program he discovered a passion for mentorship and finds profound fulfillment in nurturing the growth and success of his student employees. He attributes that first conference as the initial step on his journey into leadership.
Max dove into volunteering with the SIGUCCS community at the 2019 conference in New Orleans, having since served in various roles such as hospitality coordinator, volunteer coordinator, and registration chair. His dedication to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment at SIGUCCS reflects his commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and he deeply appreciates the professional relationships and personal friendships cultivated through this network.
Melissa Doernte currently is the Associate Director of the Lathrop Learning Hub at Stanford University, where she has worked since 2015. Previous to her work at Stanford, Melissa worked at DePaul University as a Technology Specialist.
Melissa’s higher education IT career started as freshman in college when she was a Classroom Technology Support student worker. She continued her work during her undergraduate studies and transitioned into a full-time role shortly after graduating. In 2011, she was sent to her first SIGUCCS in San Diego. She arrived at the conference knowing very little about SIGUCCS and knowing absolutely no one, but that quickly changed.
After attending SIGUCCS in 2011 and 2012, Melissa served as the Local Arrangements Chair for the Chicago 2013 and Salt Lake City 2014 conferences. In 2016 she authored her first paper “Taking the S.T.A.I.R.S” and followed up with “Evolution of a Tech Desk: Providing better Services thru Upgraded Applications” in 2018. During this time, Melissa also volunteered for various roles in support of the yearly conferences. Eventually, she was tapped to be the Treasurer of the San Diego 2020, which turned out to be a rollercoaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the hard work and pivoting of the conference committee, the eventual online iteration of the conference was a success.
Melissa has gained many professional and personal connections throughout the years at SIGUCCS. Many of the personal connections have become close friends and have been invaluable to her growth in her professional and personal life. She is extremely humbled and honestly shocked to be recognized with this award alongside the other very deserving awardees.
Beth Lynn Nolen
Beth Lynn Nolen is a Senior IT Training Specialist with IT Training at Indiana University. She graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam with her Master of Science in Education focusing on Educational Technology in 2011, and started working for IT Training shortly afterwards. While she has held multiple roles in IT Training over the almost 13 years she has worked there, she currently serves as the video development coordinator and materials production coordinator. Beth Lynn has always had a passion for learning about and working with technology, as well as helping others learn how to work with technology of all types, and she frequently refers to her work with IT Training as her dream job.
Beth Lynn’s introduction to SIGUCCS was in 2017, when she and a co-worker ended up attending the annual conference after IT Training unexpectedly won three Communication Awards that year. As she attended various sessions, presented at the poster session, and connected with other attendees, she grew increasingly excited about taking what she had learned at the conference back to her work at IT Training. Future conferences gave her the opportunity to present and author papers, and she enjoys presenting in the poster sessions as it gives her the opportunity to directly share her experiences in developing training content with others working on similar projects.
After attending her first conference, Beth Lynn decided to volunteer with SIGUCCS, and started out by joining the Marketing Committee in late 2017. She has also been a member of the conference committee for multiple annual conferences: she was the publications chair for the 2019 and 2020/21 conferences, program chair for the 2022 conference, and she was both the publications chair and poster session chair for the 2023 conference. Volunteering with SIGUCCS has been one of the highlights of Beth Lynn’s professional career, and something she enjoys immensely. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an incredible honor for her, and she would not be where she is in her career without SIGUCCS and the friends she has made here.
Karl Owens is a Technology Services Coordinator at the University of Oregon, as part of the User Support Services department. Graduating from California State University of Chico in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in information technology, Karl has worked providing technology service management, user support, network administration, database management and web development. Currently in his 20th year with the University of Oregon, Karl remains committed to providing best-in-class customer service to the university communities he supports.
Karl’s involvement in SIGUCCS came about, for the same reasons he sought a position in higher education. That reason, to be part of an organization that was committed to making people’s lives better. Though being involved in higher education filled some of that desire, it became clear that the goal of IT at the university level was stability, not change. SIGUCCS provided for the professional growth that wasn’t happening within the confines of workplace. Attending his first annual conference in 2006 in Edmonton was eye opening. Here he saw that IT could be influential in fostering positive change. Presentations were inspirational, renewing the desire to pursue change at his institution.
SIGUCCS presented volunteer opportunities that allowed for direct participation in the mission of the organization. As a self-designated introvert, the thought of participating as a presenter at a conference was intimidating. But to support the SIGUCCS mission, he presented at the next conference. At each subsequent conference, there were new opportunities to volunteer. There were highly visible positions, national board, conference organizers, conference hosts, along with presenter, that were not appealing to an introvert. As his involvement continued, the behind-the-scenes opportunities began to reveal themselves. The opportunities to serve SIGUCCS through various committees allowed for opportunities for further involvement throughout the year and in years where conference attendance was not possible.
Comment from Karl, “SIGUCCS has provided the intellectual and professional outlet I desired that I was not getting enough of from my job. The professional connections and friendships I’ve developed through participating as a volunteer have inspired me to take positive risks that have not only advanced my career but also given me clarity about what kind of technology professional I want to become. For someone who has made technology support their career choice, SIGUCCS has provided a space where I feel like I belong.”