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Student Life Recognizes Inspiring Leaps Winners

The Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life has recognized Ashley Sarjent, associate director of culinary operations for Purdue Dining & Culinary, and Jessica Mellady, office manager for Student Activities and Organizations, as winners of the Inspiring Leaps: Student Life Staff Awards.

Sarjent has worked with Dining & Culinary for 12 years and is praised by those throughout the department for her ability to connect with coworkers and foster a strong team culture. She has covered many roles outside of her position when needed, including item procurement and operations. She devised and implemented a new way to run procurement order schedules, which improved ordering and forecasting accuracy. Fellow staff say Sarjent’s focus on well-being has helped foster a positive working environment. Her care for her colleagues in Dining is also shown through the way she encourages professional development, including through cross-training and ensuring staff are on track to promotion.  2024 Inspiring Leaps recipient Ashely Sarjent alongside Dr. Beth McCuskey, Vice Provost for Student Life

“In Ashley’s time here, she has always been viewed as a positive and supportive leader,” wrote her nominator. “She listens to and mentors her staff, making everyone feel welcome and an integral part of our department. She will take time out to listen to everyone’s concerns and do her best to resolve them, sometimes at the expense of her own personal time because she cares that much.”

Mellady has served Purdue for more than 20 years. In her role, she oversees student workers and an administrative assistant, works with Purdue IT to resolve technology issues and supports students and staff in SAO. One of her greatest impacts was condensing and improving an extended travel packet used by student organizations in conjunction with activity planning forms. Her work simplified the process and saved time for students. She also receives praise from colleagues for getting to know students and assisting whenever a need arises.

2024 Inspiring Leaps recipient Jessica Mellady alongside Dr. Beth McCuskey, Vice Provost for Student Life“Jessica is extremely hard-working and a team player,” wrote her nominator. “If she doesn’t know the answer to something for either staff or students, she makes sure they get connected to the resources or person they need to answer their questions. You can tell she takes pride in her work and wants to genuinely help in any way she can.”

The Inspiring Leaps: Student Life Staff Awards are a Student Life employee award program that recognizes outstanding contributions and excellence in the areas of Steps to Leaps, inclusion, and organizational and operational excellence. All regular Student Life employees, including Business Office, Human Resources and Information Technology, are eligible. Awards are bestowed three times annually. One management/professional staff and one service/support staff member are honored during each award period.

Staff and students are encouraged to nominate outstanding staff members for an award. Learn more about the Inspiring Leaps: Student Life Staff Awards and how to nominate here.

Written by: Matthew Vader, Writer, Student Life Marketing