Nita Kansara and Mark Wood Receive the 2020 Distinguished Staff Awards

Staff-Award Winners

Every year, Pomona College recognizes a staff member with the Peter W. Stanley Distinguished Staff Award for their service and effort beyond their daily job requirements. This year, 19 individuals were nominated, with over 75 separate nominations submitted by staff, faculty and students. The award committee selected two longtime staff members for this year’s award for their positive impact on our campus community.

Nita Kansara was first hired at Pomona College in 2000 as an administrative assistant for the Office of Campus Life, where she worked until 2003. She returned to Pomona in 2006, working in a similar capacity for the Office of Campus Life until 2016. Since then, Kansara has served as the administrative assistant for the Quantitative Skills Center (QSC), where she maintains the day-to-day operations of the center and is a welcoming face to students. This academic year, Kansara has also served as the administrative assistant for the Climate Survey Working Group (CSWG), a committee of students, faculty and staff that developed and implemented a campus climate survey.

One of Kansara’s nominators for this award wrote that “Nita's capacity to move a project forward is immense, which is special enough, but she does so with such grace and thoughtfulness and humility that I can't imagine the CSWG being a success without Nita's energy and ideas. Pomona is not just lucky to have Nita, but needs Nita. She is a true change agent in the best spirit of the phrase.”

Another nominator shared that Kansara’s support of students extends beyond the Quantitative Skills Center: “She is also a regular at the Oldenborg Language Tables, where she is a welcome and friendly face to many a student who is there to pick up and polish another language.”

Mark Wood came to Pomona College in 1998 as a director in the Office of Communications, where his skills have shone as editor of Pomona College Magazine and senior designer for the College. Currently, Wood is senior creative director and he oversees the aesthetic style and look of the College’s publications, works on communications for admissions, advancement of many other offices, and continues to be the voice of Pomona College Magazine. Last year, he helped launch Sagecast, the new podcast of Pomona College, that currently has nearly 7,000 listens. As a co-host, Wood interviews Pomona College faculty, students, staff and alumni to bring their stories to a wider audience.

A colleague of Wood submitted this: “Working with Mark Wood truly is a professional privilege.” Yet another wrote that “Mark offers incredible creative wisdom and talent in all he touches, displaying Pomona’s heart and spirit through design, words and majestic visuals. His award-winning work on Pomona College Magazine brilliantly captures story after story of the impactful members, programs, values and academics that make up the Pomona community; each issue is always unique and stunning.”

One of Wood’s nominators for this award wrote that “Mark’s hands are on so many materials you see around campus and that prospectives, students, alumni and friends of the College see and read. … The importance of his role at the College cannot be overstated. His work touches all of the Sagehen community, both on campus and off campus.”

The Peter W. Stanley Distinguished Staff Award, established in 1997, honors a staff member who distinguishes themselves in some way through service or effort beyond what is required in their daily jobs. Staff are nominated by other staff, faculty and students, and selected by the Staff Council.