Group photo of Debra Bush, Susette Ziats, Elizabeth Woyczynski and Kori Kosek
Debra Bush, Susette Ziats, Elizabeth Woyczynski and Kori Kosek at the Staff Awards Brunch. Photo by Tony Gray.

Staff members recognized for their contributions to the university

Case Western Reserve University’s staff plays an integral part in the institution’s success. President Barbara R. Snyder recognized four staff members for their impact on the university at the Staff Awards Brunch Wednesday.

Kori Kosek, Elizabeth Woyczynski and Susette Ziats were honored with the President’s Award for Distinguished Service, while Debra Bush received the Robin Kramer Volunteer Award.

“I look forward every year to this event where we gather to recognize some of our most exceptional staff,” President Snyder told the audience at Wednesday’s event. “We greatly appreciate your extraordinary efforts on behalf of Case Western Reserve University, and I am honored to congratulate each of you personally.”

The Staff Recognition Committee of the Staff Advisory Council recommends the candidates to President Snyder.

View previous award winners at

President’s Award for Distinguished Service

Annually, the President’s Award for Distinguished Service is given to up to three non-faculty staff members whose contributions have had a transformational impact on colleagues, students or visitors.

Recipients of the President’s Award for Distinguished Service are awarded $1,000 and have their names engraved on a plaque in Adelbert Hall.

Kori Kosek, department administrator in the Department of Psychological Sciences

Described as the “linchpin” and “heart” of the Department of Psychological Sciences, Kori Kosek is key to the success of faculty and students.

In particular, Kosek, a department administrator, has been critical in managing grant processes. From the very first step in applying to the closing out of an award, Kosek works with faculty and students through every stage.

“Every faculty member agrees that Kori is indispensable when working on grant applications, and, in some ways, I believe that Kori has ‘generated’ more research dollars through her efforts than any single faculty member in my department,” her nominator wrote.

But grant administration isn’t her only responsibility. Kosek manages myriad aspects of the department, including labs, student employees and student mentorship.

Over the course of 21 years at the university, Kosek’s dedication has presented itself time and time again, from her mentorship of other department administrators to representation of her colleagues at the college and university levels. 

Elizabeth Woyczynski, administrative director of admissions and student services in the Office of Foreign Graduate Legal Studies

In her 31 years at the university, Elizabeth Woyczynski has made an impact on countless international students—and not just at the School of Law, where she is administrative director of admissions and student services in the Office of Foreign Graduate Legal Studies.

Through the International Friendship Program, an initiative she spearheaded a few years ago, she has helped hundreds of international graduate students feel welcome. The program matches international students with host families who come together often for activities, such as a home-cooked meal or a trip to a cultural event.

While Woyczynski’s work with the International Friendship Program is purely on a volunteer basis, her welcoming nature extends into her formal role at the university.

Some students in the LLM program refer to her as “LLM mom” because of her dedication to their success, both academically and personally.

“Liz Woyczynski continues to be an inspiration for many on the Case Western Reserve University campus,” a nominator wrote. “Her ongoing dedication to the care and well-being of our international students is an example to us all.”

Susette Ziats, assistant director of space planning at the School of Medicine

A few years ago, Ziats, assistant director of space planning at the School of Medicine, was charged with reshuffling the existing space in the Robbins Building to accommodate a new program. Ziats came up with a solution, but the School of Medicine community was apprehensive about the changes.

To ease their concerns, she met with students, faculty and staff to hear them out and involve them in the process.

Ziats’s nominator said that when the project was complete, faculty, staff and students were “thrilled with the revised spaces.”

“She is perceptive and listens carefully to what issues are of greatest concern to her customers,” the nominator wrote. “She asks their opinion, makes recommendations to minimize the anxiety, and develops solutions that result in a positive outcome for the customer, often in unexpected ways.”

Robin Kramer Volunteer Award

The inaugural Robin Kramer Volunteer Award was presented in 2014 in memory of the late Robin Kramer, a Case Western Reserve employee known for her dedication to the university.

The award recognizes an individual whose volunteer service has made a significant impact across campus.

The recipient of the Robin Kramer Volunteer Award is presented $500 and honored at the Staff Awards Brunch.

Debra Bush, grants and contracts specialist in the Office of Research and Technology Management

Debra Bush is committed to ensuring the university is prepared in the event of an emergency.

As director of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Bush, whose full-time job is a grants and contracts specialist in the Office of Research and Technology Management, leads a group of volunteers who can provide support for first responders.

Bush’s responsibilities with CERT range from recruiting volunteers to organizing yearly response drills. Most recently, she launched an initiative for the team to train with maintenance personnel in each zone around the university to familiarize themselves with emergency equipment in every building.

“Debbie exhibits a high degree of attention to detail, with a vision on how to benefit and serve the CWRU community, which she then translates into a plan to achieve that particular goal,” her nominator wrote.

In her 15 years at the university, her volunteer service has extended well beyond her work with CERT. In honor of a colleague, she recently organized a Relay for Life team that raised $3,175—far exceeding its original goal of $2,500—and became the fourth-highest fundraising team.