Sirena CantrellCOLUMBUS, Miss. – The Staff Appreciation Meeting and Luncheon for all Mississippi University for Women, Follett and Sodexo staff was held today on campus.

Sirena Parker, director of Community Living, was voted as MUW’s Staff Member of the Year. Nominees also included Cassie Derden, Lola Wilson, Debbie Swartz and Kessa Cockrell.

Parker has been employed at MUW since 2008. She is responsible for on-campus housing and supervises nine professional staff members.

“Her professionalism and ability to have collaborative/cooperative working relationships with others on campus makes her an asset to MUW. Her ability to communicate and maintain those cooperative relationships with others is a skill that makes her a deserving nominee,” said Alicia Mainka, MUW licensed professional counselor, in her nomination form.

Mainka added, “Sirena is often doing tasks that are outside of her job description and seems to have an ever-growing list of to-do tasks. She always has the best interest of the students and the campus community in mind. As a supervisor, she also treats her employees as family with caring and compassion.”

Parker is in her second year as president of the Mississippi Association of Housing officers. She is enrolled in the doctoral program at Mississippi State University and recently received a grant from the Southern Association for College Student Affairs for her research titled “Leaving Home: Exploring the Academic Socialization Transition Experiences of Homeschooled Students.”

In March, she will present at the national conference of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education on “Parental Insights into Homeschooled Admissions” in Orlando, Fla.

Parker said, “I am very honored to have received the MUW Staff Member of the Year award. I am truly blessed to work at such a fine institution. I give 100 percent to my staff and students daily and truly work hard to make a difference in every life that I cross. I would like to personally thank the MUW community for this award.”

MUW service pins also were presented during the luncheon.

Recipients of five-year pins were Ivey Ivy, Marquita Kirk, Barbara Knight, Tonya Stanford and Nakikke Wallace.

Ten-year pins went to Kate Brown, Angela Jones and Chandra Steele.

Receiving 15-year pins were Anthony Bluitt, Bonnie Chaltry, Terry Cole, Robin Holliman, Larry Jones and Cheryl Wright.

Twenty-year service pins were presented to Chris Jenkins, Leslie Massey and Jimi Mosely.

Lisa McDaniel received a 25-year pin, and Rita Higginbotham received a 30-year pin.

Sodexo also recognized employees for their service.

Russell Blair, Sondra McGregory and Randy Strickland were noted for five years. Lula Harris was recognized for 15 years.

Harold Flemming and Willie McCoy were thanked for their 33 years of service.

Joyce Busbin will be retiring with 20 years combined service with The W and Sodexo. Dennis Gordon is retiring with 13 years combined service.

As part of the annual ceremony, MUW Staff Council presented three tables of toys, donated by staff members, to representatives of The Salvation Army.