And the Award Goes to… Student Health Services!

Dr. Kristine Sparks and The Workers at Kean's Student Health Services win the Patriot Award on April 25, 2022

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Jaclyn Lukas, Staff Writer

Kean Student Health Services has been stretched very thin lately, as they have had to deal with only two full time staff members, two part time staff members and the hardships through the pandemic. To show her appreciation for the work the clinic did in her absence, Dr. Kristine Sparks, a family nurse practitioner, submitted the clinic for the Patriot Award. 

The Patriot Award is an award for the Employer and Staff that support service members of the National Guard or Reserve. On April 25, 2022, Arthur G.A. Maggs Jr., the Army Reserves Ambassador of New jersey, came to Kean to present the patriot award to the following recipients: 

  • Alice Colalio: Acting Director of Student Health Services

  • Carolyn Smith: Full Time Staff Nurse Practioner of Student Health Services 

  • Marci Blaszka: Part Time Staff Nurse Practioner of Student Health Services 

Dr. Sparks who is also an officer in the US Army Reserves as a Major explained, “For the entire month of February, I was on order from the US Army, to report to Fort Sill Oklahoma. Kean Health Services was stretched very thin. I wanted to show my appreciation for the work they did in my absence. Additionally, I wanted to bring attention to the fact that military orders do not just impact members of the military, but also the co-workers around them. This hardship on the clinic was my motivation to submit them for the Patriot Award.”

Working in healthcare is not a small feat and for most, it’s a job that goes unappreciated because people forget the sacrifices healthcare workers make on a daily basis. Especially through the pandemic, clinics and healthcare offices were overworked, while usually being very understaffed. Therefore, it is imperative to show appreciation for those in healthcare and let them know that their hard work means something. 

“The clinic deserves it. My hope is that by nominating Kean Student Health Services, I was able to show my place of work how much they are all valued. I am so grateful to work with such outstanding people and clinicians. The pandemic has been hard on everyone.  By receiving this award I hope my coworkers know that their hard work is not unnoticed and that I am grateful for each and every one of them.” Dr. Sparks 

Kean Student Health Services provides so many helpful services to those on and off campus, especially when they can not get home to see their usual healthcare provider. Going above and beyond, these workers deserve not only recognition but this award because they truly stepped up in a time when the clinic needed it the most. 

Congratulations to Kean Student Health Services! 

about the author

Jaclyn Lukas, Staff Writer

Jaclyn Lukas is an English major with a concentration in writing. She joined The Cougar’s Byte staff in Spring 2021. After her time at Kean, Jaclyn hopes to start her professional career in publishing for books or newspapers/magazines.