IU’s Center of Excellence for Women & Technology (CEWIT) recently honored Carrie Hansel, Kim Murday, and Zihang Shao as supportive and impactful mentors or advocates for inclusivity in technology with the 2023 Outstanding Staff Mentor/Advocate Award.
Carrie Hansel, manager of online instructional design for the eLearning Design and Services team, cried when she was nominated. With 20 years at Indiana University, it was heartwarming for her to hear that her efforts at building others up had resonated with so many.
“I view this as a gift that my team has bestowed on me,” Hansel said. “They all got together and said wonderful things about me. My heart was full to hear what my team wrote about me in their nomination letters to the CEWIT committee. It was an acknowledgement of what I’ve poured into them over the last several years – not because I had to, but because I truly care about helping them to flourish in their careers”
Hansel’s accomplishments include being a part of Course Set Up Wizard, an optional tool to make designing, planning, and building Canvas courses easier; managing the instructional design projects for the 60 Collaborative Academic Programs online coursework; and acting as a leader and mentor to several of her colleagues. She states that in her role as a supervisor, employee, and colleague she tries to help those around her meet their career goals by identifying their passions and brainstorming about how to partner them with opportunities, because she wants them to succeed.
“People are my passion and I try to pay it forward by encouraging folks that they can accomplish their dreams -They can make a difference,” Hansel said. “I’m able to stand where I am because of people who have taken the time to pour into me, and I try to do the same.”
“Sometimes you just don’t even know how much it means to other people when you do some of the things that you do,” Hansel said. “You know that you’re doing something good and kind, but to be the recipient of that goodness and kindness and hearing it in their words? That’s more impactful than you ever expected it to be.”
Kim Murday, an IT consultant with the Center for Teaching and Learning at IUPUI, wants to ensure caregivers at IU are aware of the multiple benefits they have as IU employees. This effort led to her nomination.
“It’s important,” Murday said. “IU employees get a lot of email and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and miss the ones from HR that could have information that could really help them.”
In addition to her full-time job, Murday also serves on the steering committee for IU Women in IT (IUWIT), the staff arm of the IU Center of Excellence & Technology. Murday’s work with IUWIT is focused on IU’s caregiving benefits, which she worked to put on the IUWIT website. According to Murday, her interest in this work really took hold after her own medical emergency, which required the use of multiple caregivers.
“I needed help,” Murday said. “And part of my IU benefits meant I got to have a case worker who worked with me to not only support me for my recovery, but also support my family.” One benefit is 15 workdays per calendar year of “Backup Care” for when regular care (for children or adults) falls through. “For alternate daycare or other respite care, you pay $15 per day out of pocket and IU covers for the rest of the cost. For in-home care you pay $6 an hour and IU covers the rest. It’s a fabulous benefit, that I think everyone should know about.” Murday pointed out that even though this benefit is considered taxable income, it’s an important option that many other employers don’t provide.
Murday felt strongly that there was a large population of people who really needed this information, so she—along with fellow IU Women in IT steering committee member, Melanie Ebdon—started a series called Candid Conversations for Caregivers which provides an opportunity for caregivers to talk about their experiences.
“This is a resource for everyone,” Murday said. “But caregiving often falls on the women’s shoulders, which is why working with IUWIT and CEWIT is so important. I want to make sure those who need these services can find them.”
Zihang Shao, a senior instructional technology consultant with the Center for Faculty Development at IU East, is recognized for her outstanding contributions in providing guidance, support, and invaluable advice to IU faculty and staff members facing the diverse challenges and exciting prospects of incorporating technology in teaching and learning. Shao’s exceptional expertise and dedication have earned her nominations from individuals across multiple campuses, including the East campus.
Shao’s goal is always to help instructors reimagine their teaching practices by harnessing the power of innovative instructional technologies. Shao stated, “It’s a way for me to make a meaningful impact on students’ learning experiences by working closely with instructors and guiding them in creating engaging and effective learning environments. Knowing that my work can make a difference in the lives of students is what makes it all so fulfilling and valuable to me.”
Shao considers this award as a significant recognition and an honor that acknowledges her commitment to supporting and empowering women in professional development.
“This award means so much,” Shao expressed. “It recognizes my ability to serve as an advocate, and source of inspiration for women in technology. It also highlights my dedication to fostering a culture of mentorship and professional growth, ultimately contributing to the success and advancement of women in the field.”
While Shao felt that the award recognizes her accomplishments, she acknowledged that her success in achieving her goals was made possible by those who supported her throughout her journey.
“I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to my managers, colleagues, and faculty members who have supported and entrusted me throughout my journey,” Shao gratefully expressed. “Winning this award wouldn’t have been possible without their unwavering support, encouragement, and trust in my abilities. Their collaborative spirit, valuable insights, and guidance played an instrumental role in shaping my approach as a mentor and I am truly fortunate to know such dedicated individuals.”