Spotlight Series: 2019 NISOD Recipients

April 23, 2019

Public Relations

In honor of April being community college month, Palo Alto College is highlighting the exceptional work done by our faculty and staff who help make Palo Alto College one of the top community colleges in the nation.

Each year, Palo Alto College employees have the opportunity to nominate their colleagues to be recognized by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards. These awards were established in 1991 to honor individuals doing extraordinary work on their campuses.

Palo Alto College employees submit the names of those who exemplify excellence in various categories. Then, the NISOD award winners from the previous year evaluate the nominees. This year, faculty and staff members were recognized for excellence in five areas.


Excellence for Service to the College

Matilda Staudt, English instructor

"I am honored and humbled to be recognized for my service to the college. This award means a lot because I was both nominated and selected by my colleagues."

Matilda Staudt


Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Stamatis W. Muratidis, associate professor of chemistry

"Engaging students in chemistry and science exploration is a passion of mine. However, the academic rigor of chemistry can be a bottleneck in students appreciating and enjoying science. I have found that introducing my students to the connections that exist between classroom materials and their lives allows them to 'connect the dots' between abstract scientific concepts and more tangible every day materials. Engagement though connections, interactivity, and meaningful content can have a lasting and empowering contribution to student success. I have had a lot of help along the way... If my efforts at engaging students are indeed effective, [then] as Newton's quote goes, 'It is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.' I am honored to have been recognized for my efforts to make chemistry fun and engaging."

Stamatis Muratidis


Excellence in Teaching by an Adjunct Instructor

Dr. Joshua Garcia

"I am extremely honored to receive the NISOD award for excellence in teaching. This award is my validation of commitment and dedication to a 'Students First' philosophy. It is the reason why I teach. I teach because I think students are our legacy, our future leaders, and have a powerful yearning of what the future has to offer. I think that education is our advocate, so I embrace it. I educate our students because I want them to move forward to a life filled with promising tomorrows. My self-conviction to such goals gives me an insight of what it takes to help and lead them to fulfill their dreams.

Winning this award would not be possible without the inspiration I have received from my PAC business department colleagues. We are all part of the Palo Alto family, and for this I am grateful."

 Joshua Garcia


Excellence by Staff or Administrator

Patricia B. Martinez, administrative services specialist

"I am honored to win this award. It means a lot to me because I try to be the best I can be. I try to be the best I can for the students."

 Patricia Martinez


Excellence by a Librarian or Advisor

Maria A. Diaz-Viesca, advising team lead, STEM Advising Center

"I am blessed to be able to come to work and work with such an awesome group of people across the campus. I love working for a great institution that always puts students first. I am grateful to work at Palo Alto College and very honored to receive this award."

 Maria Viesca

The recipients then have the opportunity to attend the annual NISOD conference, where they learn about resources, ideas, and solutions that drive excellence, and are recognized for their achievement during the Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration.

The recognition of these employees is just small token of appreciation for all their hard work at the College and serves as motivation for them to continue their excellence and reach new heights.

If someone you know continually displays exceptional commitment within any of the categories listed, please submit your recommendations when nominations for NISOD 2020 open in fall 2019.