MADISON — A lab manager and a national welfare reform expert from within the University of Wisconsin System have been named the winners of the 2004 Regents Academic Staff Award for Excellence.

The recipients of this year’s award are Deon Nontelle, the biology lab manager at UW-La Crosse; and Pamela Fendt, senior policy analyst at UW-Milwaukee’s Center for Economic Development. Each receives a $5,000 award for professional development or to enhance a university program or function.

The awards will be presented Friday (April 2) at the UW System Board of Regents meeting in Madison. Academic staff members from each UW institution were nominated for the award, and a selection committee chaired by Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler chose the recipients. Regents Danae D. Davis, Gerard A. Randall and Jesus Salas also served on the committee.

“The board is pleased to present this annual award to recognize the dedication of non-instructional academic staff throughout the UW System,” Connolly-Keesler said. “These remarkable academic staff members make significant contributions to the strength of their individual programs and to the success of the UW System and its institutions. We are honored to present this award in recognition of their exemplary efforts, their institutional loyalty, their professionalism, and their devotion to serving students and Wisconsin citizens.”

Nontelle has worked as a teacher and academic staff lab manager at UW-La Crosse since 1973. She is also director and manager at the campus greenhouse, where she devotes time toward caring for plant collections during weekend and holiday hours.

Each semester, Nontelle is responsible for 40 labs, more than 1,000 students and 17 lab managers. She also volunteers with the Hixon Forest Nature Center, Friends of Norskedalen, the Botanical Club of Wisconsin, and the Mississippi Valley Conservancy.

Nontelle, who earned the UW-La Crosse Non-Instructional Academic Staff Excellence Award in 2003, said she looks forward to continued challenges in her career.

“I believe that I play an important part in being a positive role model in and out of the classroom for women students in science,” Nontelle said in a personal statement.

Nontelle earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from UW-La Crosse.

Fendt, a senior researcher at the UWM Center for Economic Development, is considered a national expert on the effects of Wisconsin’s welfare reform policy, W-2. She is a member of the boards of directors for the New Hope Project, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization that assists underprivileged individuals in moving out of poverty through work, and the Harambee Ombudsman Project, a nonprofit community development agency. In her position with UWM, Fendt has worked to improve economic development on the near north side of Milwaukee.

“Pam provides an example of how academic staff can serve as a positive force in the broader community,” one colleague wrote in her nomination for the award. “In her work, she helps further both the academic and outreach mission of the university with dedication, professionalism, and integrity.”

Fendt earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in urban studies from UW-Milwaukee.

Media Contact

Linda Weimer UW System (608) 262-0766