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Select OU staff award winners speak about work on campus

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Moran, Moakely, Olzawksi

From left to right: Annette Moran, Bill Moakley and Sarah Olzawski.

OU President Joseph Harroz released a video Wednesday announcing the university’s staff awards in place of its regular in-person award ceremony.

This year, there were 25 award recipients. The Daily talked to some of the winners to gain insight into the kind of work they perform.

Annette Moran, director of the Pioneer Natural Resources Student Services Center in the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, received the Provost’s Outstanding Academic Advising Administrator Award.  Moran was “credited with transforming student services in the college into a first-rate organization focused on offering a broad range of services designed to enhance the student experience.”

Moran said she came from Australia to play tennis at OU, where she earned her undergraduate degree in public relations and her master’s degree in education. She married another faculty member and has been in Norman for the last 20 years. 

Moran said she didn’t think she would still be at OU — she could be living on a beach in Australia — but she loves Norman and OU, and she is grateful for all the opportunities she has been offered. Moran said she oversees all advisers, student life and study abroad efforts in the college.

“I’m thankful that I have had mentors along the way to develop me as a leader,” Moran said. “... I’m so incredibly grateful to work with a great team that understands that we don’t have jobs without our students.” 

Moran said she had much admiration for her boss, coworkers and staff.

“I’m thankful for my boss and the staff that nominated me,” Moran said. “It’s a reflection of the supportive community we have on campus, where we want to support one another and celebrate when things go well.”

Bill Moakley, digital initiatives and new media lead for University Advancement, received the Neal Stone Superior Performance Award from the Administrative Staff Council. Moakley is also an OU graduate and long-time Norman resident.

Moakley said the advancement team is a fundraising arm of the university focused on funding scholarships and building campaigns. During the pandemic, it has been focused on raising money for Sooners Helping Sooners.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for individual work, but I think our advancement team is one of the best teams on campus,” Moakley said. “The people I work with, I want to be as good as them, and they want to be great. I think the award speaks more for our team than it does me.”

Moakley said he has spent half of his life on the OU campus in Norman. He graduated from OU, met his best friends at OU, and has worked at the university for 20 years. 

“To be recognized for your work and something you love to do is really rewarding because it tells you people notice what you do and people appreciate what you do,” Moakley said. “When it’s a place like OU, where you’re making an impact on the future, and you're impacting students, it’s that much more fulfilling.”

Sarah Olzawski, senior academic counselor in the College of Arts and Sciences and first full-time adviser for the history department, received the Provost’s Outstanding Advising Administrator Award.

“A significant part of my job has been the outreach and recruiting events that I do through the history club,” Olzawski said. “Signed up as sponsor two years ago. I coordinate events, run (the) Twitter history page, and present to history classes about what it means to be a history major.”

Olzawski said she wants to give history majors a platform so they don’t feel alone with so much cultural focus on STEM majors.

“The award is about recognizing the work we have done to build an identity for history here at OU,” Olzawski said. “My philosophy is to treat students as colleagues and co-conspirators. I wouldn't be doing this work without them, knowing that they’re passionate about it and they support it and believe in it too. They spur me to be brave and take chances, and I think that is what has been recognized here.”

Clare is a creative media production junior and a news reporter for The Daily.

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