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Penny Ames Receives 2023 Excellence Award for Contacts

Penny Ames smiles in a headshot.

The Graduate College is pleased to announce that Penny Ames from the School of Information Sciences is the winner of the 2022 Graduate College Excellence Award for Graduate Contacts. The award is given annually as part of the Graduate College’s Annual Workshop for Directors of Graduate Study and Graduate Contacts. It recognizes staff members whose service has exceeded expectations in enhancing graduate students' experiences and has positively impacted their graduate program or department's operations.

A member of the graduate community at Illinois for more than 16 years, Ames is a fixture in her community and a friendly face in the entire life cycle of iSchool students. Ames' nominators characterized her as adaptable, collaborative, and caring. Described as a “strong pillar of excellence," she approaches each day with a keen attention to detail, a caring nature, and grace under pressure. One current student said that "she was very helpful in connecting my professional interests within the proposed program, and the possibilities beyond graduation. Her vision has been proven multiple times over."

Her role as a friendly face throughout students' careers is underscored by her own dedication to helping students grow and belong. "I enjoy listening to their stories and the goals they want to achieve and letting them know how being a student at the iSchool can help them achieve those goals," she said. "It is exciting to see the students grow throughout their studies, and I am honored to be a part of that."

Graduate Contacts are essential to the success of our graduate students. They welcome students into our campus community, provide valuable support through both the good and challenging times, and celebrate students' accomplishments. The care and compassion that Graduate Contacts demonstrate every day are an invaluable contribution to the university and its community of students, faculty, and staff. The Graduate College extends its thanks to all of our Graduate Contacts for their work in our campus community.