Undergraduate Studies FocUS Award

The Undergraduate Studies FocUS Award is an opportunity for you to honor some of the great work you witness every day among your colleagues. All Undergraduate Studies employees, from graduate assistants to directors, are eligible to both nominate their colleagues, as well as win the award.

Additional Highlights of the FocUS Award:

  • Winners will become the official keeper of the Undergraduate Studies FocUS Award trophy (currently under construction).  Along with the Dean, the winner will present the award at the next divisional meeting.
  • The winner will have their picture taken during the ceremony, receive a token of recognition from the Dean, have a story written about them and included in the next edition of the Focus On US Newsletter, as well as on the webpage, and will have the opportunity to enjoy a celebratory lunch with the Dean.
  • The Award process will occur quarterly.  FocUS Award winners will not be eligible to win the award again for one calendar year.  Priority will be given to those who have never won the award.  Neither anonymous nor self-nominations are allowed.

Undergraduate Studies Focus Award Recipients


Jeanne Ely

Jeanne Ely was the first recipient of the Undergraduate Studies Focus Award in December 2013. Jeanne came to Kent State in March 2000 where she started as a receptionist in Undergraduate Studies. She enjoys her position as an Administrative Clerk and says the staff are great people and make coming to work “something to enjoy”.

Jeanne is very family oriented. She and Bart have been married 33 years. They enjoy their boat, fishing, family gatherings and especially the grandchildren Lucy, age 6 and Brady, age 2. Their favorite vacation spot is Hilton Head, S. Carolina. Jeanne loves the beach, palm trees, and Spanish moss trees. This summer the Ely’s are taking a Disney Caribbean Cruise with the grandchildren.

Jeanne enjoys dinner and a movie, and a good steak or Mexican food. Her favorite TV shows are Modern Family, Housewives and Orange is the New Black. She cannot wait for the next season. Jeanne was excited and surprised she won the FocUS Award. She says “I think the Focus Award is a great idea. Please nominate someone and make them feel special.”


Mike Nicholas

Mike Nicholas began his life at Kent State as a freshman in 2006. He joined Undergraduate Studies as an undergraduate student. Mike loves the college environment, the people and the atmosphere. Outside of work, Mike likes to work on cars, race cars, and especially enjoys riding his motorcycle.

Mike is a traveling man who loves out west, including Arizona, San Diego and Las Vegas. Mike commented “my dream one day is to live in Arizona”. He enjoys watching basketball on TV and especially “Top Gear”. His favorite food is pizza. Mike says “I love US and KSU”.


Dondrea Brown

Dondrea transferred to Kent State in fall 2008. As a student he worked for the KSU library and later had worked for the EXCEL Living-Learning community as a graduate assistant. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education with a focus in Social Studies. Dondrea just completed his first semester in the Cultural Foundations Ph.D. program.

Dondrea serves as the TRIO Student Support Services Reading and Writing Coordinator. He coordinates the tutoring program and plan academic, personal developmental and leadership opportunities through workshops and events. He also advises, mentors, and advocates for our TRIO students as they navigate their college experiences.

When not working, Dondrea enjoys his favorite TV show Scandal (he loves Olivia Pope’s Gladiators). His favorite quote is “Don’t tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.”