Outstanding Staff Awards

May 9, 2014

Eight Baylor staff members are recipients of the University 2014 Outstanding Staff Awards, nominated by Baylor faculty and staff for their exceptional service to the University. Nominees are selected in three categories and must have been employed at Baylor for at least one year.

The awards recognize staff members who have accomplished exceptional achievement in their respective job assignments, support the fulfillment of the University’s mission and contribute through service at Baylor, the community and the church. Outstanding Staff Award winners receive recognition at the Spring Staff Forum, a plaque commemorating the honor, a monetary gift and are invited to participate in the Homecoming Parade.

Each award winner was introduced with a description of his or her exceptional service to Baylor and its students. BaylorNews asked the recipients to share their thoughts about Baylor.




Conner Krey

Assistant Director, Classroom Technology Services, Electronic Library

10 years at Baylor

Conner Krey is a productive leader who provides knowledgeable consultation services while serving as a judicious steward of Baylor’s technology and personnel resources. His vision, proactivity and dedication during the past year were instrumental in the successful project management and installation of 80 new technology classrooms/facilities. Krey manages the group responsible for support, maintenance and call response for nearly 400 classrooms/facilities.

BN: Finish the sentence:

Baylor is ___________. Please explain.

Home. When I visited Baylor for the first time as a high school senior, I knew that Baylor was right for me, and I didn’t apply for any other schools. I met my wife, Kathy, here while in school. Now, we’re raising our kids to love and appreciate Baylor as much as we do.

BN: What do you find most rewarding in your work at Baylor?

I work with great people that care about me personally and professionally, so I am rewarded every day working with them. The fact that we are working to make my school better every day makes is all the better.


Melanie Nogalski

Program and Admission Manager, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core

5 years at Baylor

A phrase often used to describe Melanie Nogalski is passionate. She has a passion for students, Baylor and interdisciplinary education, and she conveys this passion in a way that engages others in the department. Nogalski dedicatedly serves a variety of constituents, including students, faculty, parents and staff. She works with BIC students as if they were her own children, showing compassion for those who struggle and reveling in those who succeed.

BN: What is your fondest memory of your time as a Baylor employee?

I really enjoyed seeing my daughter graduate from Baylor in spring 2012. I enjoyed experiencing graduation as a parent and not as an employee.

BN: What scriptures or words of wisdom would you share with campus colleagues?

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9. I have been guided by this verse in my administrative work for many years.





Michelle Holland

Editor, Institute for Oral History

4 years at Baylor

Described as a true scholar, Michelle Holland is passionate about preserving stories that might otherwise be lost. She researched, created and produced 100 radio documentary segments from the Baylor Oral History collection for Living Stories, which airs on KWBU-FM, making history accessible and understandable, real and personal, to listeners. Holland also is active in the community as a member of Northwest Waco Rotary.

Ms. Holland was unavailable for the Q&A.


Lisa MacMasters

Nurse Practitioner, Health Service

6 years at Baylor

Lisa MacMaster’s service as a nurse practitioner reaches far beyond Baylor’s campus. While on vacation, MacMaster’s provided CPR to a woman who collapsed in the Good Morning America studios. She also volunteers at Waco’s My Brother’s Keeper homeless shelter and the Red Cross. MacMaster’s charitable work away from Baylor exemplifies her considerate and gracious attitude, drawing her to colleagues and students.

BN: Finish the sentence:

Baylor is ___________. Please explain.

Baylor is opportunity. As a Baylor graduate, I was given the opportunity to fulfill my calling in life. Baylor also gave me the opportunity to make relationships in college that I have treasured for many years. Now as a Baylor employee, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with people that love students like I do, and I have been able to serve my patients in a caring Christian environment.

BN: What is your fondest memory of your time as a Baylor employee?

I have so many special memories of patients that have touched my heart that I find it hard to just pick one. One that stands out to me is a patient that had depression that I was able to work with for four years. One day I came to my office, and there was a sticker on my computer with a huge smiley face from her with a sweet message that her life had changed from sadness to joy.


Doug Nesmith

Environmental Laboratory Coordinator, Environmental Science

3 years at Baylor

Doug Nesmith is a man of many hats and wears them all well. He is involved in the Baylor and Waco communities far beyond his job title, serving on the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative Advisory Board and as an advisor to the Baylor Community Garden and Campus Kitchen. Nesmith’s dependability and consistently pleasant demeanor are a blessing to all.

BN: What is your fondest memory of your time as a Baylor employee?

When graduate teaching assistants have been honored with teaching awards. We have great graduate students in the environmental sciences department, and it is rewarding to see them honored for their efforts.

BN: What scriptures or words of wisdom would you share with campus colleagues?

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. This may come from my family’s agriculture background, but I feel like we can accomplish so much more if we all work together.






Rene Coker

Office Manager, Department of History

14 years at Baylor 

Rene Coker’s colleagues describe her as extremely thorough, efficient and able to move from one task to another with ease. In addition to regular departmental activities, Coker provides administrative support to academic endeavors such as Model Organization of American States and the Baylor in Argentina Program. Her colleagues call her a delight to have in charge of the office.

BN: Finish the sentence:

Baylor is ___________. Please explain. 

Family. I believe with all my heart God called me back to Waco to be a part of Baylor. The people I have met along the way have changed my life. The friendship of colleagues, the approachability of the administration, professors, coaches and athletes, the outpouring of love and support to those in need this past year in West along with so many other outreach events show the world who the true Baylor is. For me, Baylor is and always will be family.

BN: If you could go back in time to attend any academic or athletic Baylor event, which would you choose?

Oct. 30, 2004. Baylor beat Texas A&M in overtime with a touchdown and two-point conversion. I was driving from College Station back to Waco, listening to the radio and could literally feel the excitement of the game. I was so excited I cried the rest of the way home.


Karen Ehgotz

Faculty Office Manager, Law School

4 years at Baylor

A problem-solver who routinely goes above and beyond, Karen Ehgotz followed a 20-year veteran in her position. The law school faculty hardly has noticed a difference as Ehgotz proved to be a wonderful team player quick to offer help. She is an unbelievably giving person whose boundless energy and unwavering positive attitude contributes as much to her success as her skill set. 

BN: What is your fondest memory of your time as a Baylor employee?

The time I found a first-quarter (new starter) student in the ladies room sobbing because she was overwhelmed with law school. I talked to her and hugged her – like moms do – because her mom wasn’t here to do it. She was so grateful to have a mom take care of her and assure her that everything’s going to be OK. That was a wonderful moment for me. To make that “little girl” know that everything’s going to be OK.

BN: What scriptures or words of wisdom would you share with campus colleagues?

My favorite scripture is Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” My favorite wisdom, which I share with my children repeatedly, is “You have the freedom of choice. But keep in mind that you are not free from the consequences of your choice.”


Kandy Knowles

Crime Prevention Coordinator, Police Department

3 years at Baylor

Kandy Knowles has made a major impact on crime prevention at Baylor, developing programs that heighten awareness and spread the safety net for the campus and community. Along with providing guidance to incoming freshmen during orientation and Welcome Week, Knowles works closely with the Sexual Assault Advisory Board. She also assists many Baylor-owned housing units to become certified as crime-free complexes.

BN: What is your fondest memory of your time as a Baylor employee?

Anytime a student or faculty/staff member says they have learned anything from one of my presentations or classes, I feel like I have accomplished a great thing. There is no way to measure if someone doesn’t get robbed or isn’t a victim of a crime. I love when a student approaches me and says, “Do you remember me? You spoke at our residence hall my freshman year, and you were right about...” That tells me they were informed enough to recognize the situation and hopefully a traumatic event was averted.

BN: If you could go back in time to attend any academic or athletic Baylor event, which would you choose?

I would like to have been at the “first dance” back in 1996. I think it has some funny parallels with Christians today. Being a Christian isn’t all about stained glass and scripture reading. It’s the greatest thing ever to be a Christian, and we should celebrate it. It’s even better if the world can watch us celebrate as they did that day with the helicopters flying around and the television cameras rolling. I think that’s how we open the door to share our faith – by living our lives in a manner that others want to be around us. They may not know what it is that draws them to us, but we do: Jesus.




Matthias West

Third party/graduate financial services assistant for cashier’s office

Matthias West received the 2013 BaylorPLUS Award during the spring staff forum. West, who handles coordination of outside scholarships, Veterans Affairs benefits and tuition assistance programs, and the processing of graduate assistantships, was honored as an example of service to the Baylor family.

Among the many commendations of West was one student’s mother who wanted to give him a “big Baylor bear hug” after the student received a scholarship from the Veterans Affairs Benefits Administration. However, the student regularly encountered processing delays that resulted in a difficult financial situation. West called Veterans Affairs to ensure accurate and expedient processing and coordinated within Baylor to ensure the money was promptly distributed. He then called the mother to explain steps taken and let her know the student had received funds. “He answers the phone every time you call, and I’ve called him at least 20 times in one day. He’s awesome, and he makes you feel as if your student is the most important person at Baylor.”

The BaylorPLUS Award recognizes individuals who provide “above and beyond” service at Baylor. These moments of exceptional service are submitted on the Human Resources website by faculty, staff, parents and students throughout the year.

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