Darlene Kolesar earns College of Education's Outstanding Staff Award

April 20, 2020

The College of Education is publishing brief profiles of faculty, staff and students who would have been honored at the annual spring appreciation and awards luncheon. 

Faculty, staff and students who have made significant contributions to their fields were selected through nomination letters prompted by their outstanding service and dedication to their job. 


Darlene Kolesar

IMAGE: Penn State

Today’s featured award winner is Darlene Kolesar, one of two people who earned the Outstanding Staff Award. The other is Megan Foster.

This award recognizes the accomplishments of a staff member in the College of Education for outstanding service and commitment to faculty, staff and students of the Penn State community.

Kolesar is an administrative support assistant in the Center for Science and the Schools (CSATS). She manages 25 accounts for CSATS with grant funding across multiple colleges. Among many other duties and being on various committees, Kolesar works with the finance office to establish a CSATS rate and prepare contracts with school districts.

“Many different people, including faculty, students, teachers and district administrators, come to the center to collaborate with CSATS faculty and Darlene takes pride in making our center a welcoming environment,” said CSATS director Kathleen Hill. “Darlene’s significant efforts contribute to the success of CSATS and the College of Education and make it a great place to work.

“Exceeding expectations in her support of CSATS faculty as well as others in the College, Darlene regularly demonstrates that she values the work that we do. She has a strong understanding of the ever-changing programs and projects that are run at the Center,” Hill said.

CSATS faculty members Matthew Johnson and Amanda Smith said Kolesar likes to exceed expectations.

“Darlene goes above and beyond that which are outlined in her work duties,” Johnson and Smith said. “She volunteered to coordinate and supervise the work-study students we hire at the center, and she spearheaded the organization of the curriculum center shared by science education and CSATS during the science wing renovation. She goes out of her way to help anyone in need.”

And according to Scott McDonald, associate professor of science education, that science wing renovation would not have gone as smoothly and successfully if Kolesar had not been the lead staff person responsible.

“I have thanked Darlene in person for her work and commended her to her supervisor and, frankly, to anyone else that will listen,” McDonald said. “Darlene Kolesar represents what we hope our faculty and staff will be when we hire them – thoughtful, conscientious, hard-working and always with an eye on doing what needs to be done to make Penn State a better place for both students and faculty.”

Award winners are:

  • Outstanding Staff Award: Darlene Kolesar and Megan Foster
  • Outstanding Teaching Award: Uju Anya
  • Outstanding Senior Researcher Award: Gerald LeTendre
  • Outstanding Junior Researcher Award: Jennifer Frank
  • Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award: Ashley Patterson
  • Career Achievement Award: Simon Hooper
  • Climate Enhancement Award: JT Taylor
  • Graduate Student Recognition Award: Kaela Fuentes-Packnick
  • Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award: Taylor Young

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 22, 2020