Aleesha Wiest, a program operations specialist with UW CSE, was recognized today with a UW College of Engineering Professional Staff Award. Each year, the College honors faculty, students and staff who go above and beyond—be it through teaching, research, or, in Wiest’s case, their vital work behind the scenes that makes faculty, students and fellow staff members look good.
When Wiest joined UW CSE in 2013, she managed administrative projects and budgets for the UW-hosted Intel Science and Technology Center for Pervasive Computing (ISTC-PC) and five UW CSE faculty. One of those faculty members, Ed Lazowska, was in the process of expanding the eScience Institute—at the time, a relatively modest operation with a $600K budget. During Wiest’s tenure, the Institute expanded into a $24M+ operation, with 10 research scientists and an Executive Committee of nine faculty members representing eight UW departments. Eventually, it had no choice but to hire its own grants manager, which enabled Wiest to focus her energies on providing top-notch administrative and grants support to no fewer than nine individual CSE faculty members, plus continuing to support the ISTC-PC with its 10 UW faculty members from various departments and nearly two dozen postdocs, students and staff.
The College’s criteria for nominees includes excellent customer service, resourcefulness, innovation and creativity, and promoting positive morale. Wiest ticks all of those boxes and more. The College asks for two or three letters in support; six faculty and staff wrote in favor of Wiest’s nomination.
As one professor put it: “Aleesha manages to create the illusion that each of these individuals and organizations is her entire focus. No matter what I ask her to do—no matter how little or how big, no matter how straightforward or how complex and ill-defined, no matter how many times I change my mind about what I need on short notice for a site visit or an annual report—she produces it in record time with total accuracy.”
Another wrote, “Aleesha is handling duties typically assigned to multiple people, and she’s doing a wonderful job on each of them. What makes Aleesha so special is that she makes every person feel like there’s nobody else she is supporting, and we continue to wonder how she manages all of these jobs with enthusiasm and a continuous smile on her face.”
Congratulations, Aleesha, on this well-deserved recognition—and thank you for all that you do for us!