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Congratulations 2021 CLASS Award Winners

Five College of Liberal Arts staff members were recognized for providing outstanding service to the college at the 2021 CLASS Awards on Dec. 10.

By Rachel Knight ‘18

The College of Liberal Arts annually recognizes individual staff members who provide outstanding service to the college and demonstrate leadership, ingenuity, job excellence, and support for diversity with the College of Liberal Arts Superior Service (CLASS) Awards. 

Recipients of the 2021 CLASS Awards include Sarah Franke, Brynn Fitzpatrick Pinto, Rochelle Read, and Brooklynn Smith. Each recipient was honored at the 2021 Staff Appreciation Luncheon on Dec. 10 with a plaque and a $750 cash award. 

Join us in cheering on their hard work by learning more about the 2021 CLASS Awards recipients. 

Sarah Franke
Sarah FrankeSarah Franke has served the College of Liberal Arts for four years with over two years of her tenure serving in her current position as senior admin coordinator I in the dean’s office. 

Her nominator for the CLASS Awards described her as “a living embodiment of servant leadership,” because she’s always eager to help and is dedicated to improving various processes for the college leaders, faculty, and students she serves. 

“[Sarah] leads by being the first person to volunteer, the one willing to do the most work or the heaviest lifting all without complaining and without trying to put herself into the spotlight,” her nominator explained. “Sarah Franke is a major asset to the College of Liberal Arts and I would like to shine the spotlight on her this time by honoring her with the College of Liberal Arts Superior Service Award!”

Franke said she is humbled to receive the CLASS Award. 

“Early in life, I discovered my passion for serving other people,” Franke said. “I’ve served my family, in the insurance industry, my church, and my community, but five years ago, I found a home at Texas A&M where I could use these gifts and abilities to help students, faculty, and fellow staff have a better experience on campus. I have been mentored by some pretty amazing people along the way, many of whom will be in attendance at the staff appreciation luncheon and some who are also previous CLASS Award recipients. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the village of people who work alongside me every day. I am blessed to be part of this amazing college and thrilled to be chosen as one of this year’s recipients.”

Brynn Fitzpatrick Pinto
Brynn PintoBrynn Fitzpatrick Pinto has served in the Academic Building business center for the past four years, but she’s tirelessly served the College of Liberal Arts for 10 years with the last two and a half years in her current role as business administrator II. 

Her CLASS Awards nominator said they’ve been eager to submit her name for consideration all year. Her significant contributions to the sociology department throughout 2021 have helped improve the lives and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff alike. 

“Mx. Pinto is hard working, skilled, helpful, honest, responsive, and a joy to work with,” her nominator said in their nomination. “She deserves to also be recognized by her peers as worthy of the CLASS award.”

Pinto’s peers echoed her nominator’s praise. 

“Brynn Pinto is a great supervisor, coworker, mentor and friend,” one of the many who endorsed Brynn’s nomination wrote. “She goes above 100% in anything that you might ask her to help with. She has a great personality and helps you without criticizing you. We are truly blessed to have her as our leader.”

Pinto said it is an honor to receive the 2021 CLASS Award.

I am very appreciative to be both nominated and selected for the 2021 College of Liberal Arts Superior Service award,” Pinto shared. “Having watched my colleagues over the last decade receive the same distinction, it is an honor that I hold in high regard knowing what it takes and means to receive this award. I am incredibly thankful for my team, the departments I serve in the Academic Building, and a college that provides opportunities to excel and recognizes staff in this way among others. It is rewarding to know that my efforts are noticed and I strive to continuously provide superior service in all that I do.”

Rochelle Read
Rochelle ReadRochelle Read has served the College of Liberal Arts as an academic advisor II in the economics department since December 2016 with a dedication to students’ well-being.

Her nominator for the 2021 CLASS Awards cited Read’s tremendous help to students and contributions to easing faculty workloads as a sampling of what makes her deserving of receiving the honor. 

“Rochelle is wildly popular among the students,” Read’s nominator said in their packet. “When we survey our graduating seniors, her name frequently comes up as having been an integral part of their success. She shepherds them through a complicated and often daunting time of transition, and spots potential bottlenecks that hold back student success.”

One of Read’s coworkers echoed her nominator’s praise and even credited Read with helping the department flourish. 

“In recent years, our undergraduate program has seen a rise in our total student population and

student retention in our major,” Read’s peer explained in a letter of support for her nomination. “I have no doubt that Rochelle’s passion for helping students — current or prospective — has been one of the major variables for why our numbers have continued to grow.”

Read said winning the award has been a humbling experience. 

“I am extremely humbled and honored to not only be nominated for this award but also be chosen as a recipient,” Read said. “The Department of Economics’ director of undergraduate programs, assistant department head, and manager consistently encourage and support my growth while challenging me to voice my opinion, to not be afraid of making mistakes, and to never stop asking questions. I also work with an amazing team that always has each other’s backs. This award is a great way to kick off my 20th year in higher education and my 11th year at Texas A&M. Whoop!”

Brooklynn Smith
Brooklynn SmithBrooklynn Smith has served the College of Liberal Arts in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences as a business admin I for six years, making her one of the most knowledgeable and reliable staff members in her department. 

Smith’s nominator said she sets a high standard of work for both faculty and staff who work around her. 

“Brooklynn’s drive to do good work and her independence and creativity have resulted in changes that will continue to aid faculty for years to come,” her nomination packet read. “[She] is an exemplary staff member who regularly goes above and beyond the regular duties of her position and enhances the overall capacity of the faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.”

In addition to providing exceptional service to her faculty, students, and staff in her department, Brooklynn’s nomination packet also said she’s incredibly kind and thoughtful. 

“There was a day that I forgot to bring any food with me for lunch and had scheduled myself straight through an afternoon of meetings,” one nominator recalled. “As luck would have it, Brooklynn had organized a potluck lunch for staff that same day and although she was already doing what felt like mountains of work on my behalf made sure that I did not move into my afternoon without something to eat. Her kindness and suspension of judgment have never been forgotten.”

Smith said she counts being among the CLASS Award winners as a blessing. 

“I am so honored to receive the 2021 CLASS Award. I have looked up to those who have received it each year and was so excited when I found out I had won this award,” Smith shared. “This is an achievement I have been working towards since I started at Texas A&M University and I feel blessed to be recognized by the College of Liberal Arts.”