Celebrating Our Colleagues with the Infinite Mile Awards

The MIT Press was saddened to learn of the recent sudden passing of Mark Saunders, director of the University of Virginia Press. A long-standing member of the Association of University Presses (AUP), he will be missed by many of us both professionally and personally. In honor of Mark’s memory, the AUP is coming together this week for a special blog tour that celebrates the spirit, intelligence, generosity, curiosity, and passion that turns the staff into community at publishing houses around the world. 

On June 5, we at the MIT Press recognized twelve of our own exceptional staff members with Infinite Mile Awards. Part of an Institute-wide recognition program, these awards are given annually to individuals or teams for their outstanding contributions to our work community. The winners were nominated by their colleagues and the awards were presented at a celebratory luncheon at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge. In honor of Mark’s collegiality and impact within the AUP community, we are pleased to share the 2019 MIT Press Infinite Mile Award winners. The following text was adapted from the award presentation.

Kate Rubin & Katy Sato-Papagiannis, Senior Marketing Designers, Marketing & Publicity Department

Our first Infinite Mile Award this year went to a duo: a team whose efforts are a huge part of the success of the Marketing Department here at the Press. These two have worked closely together over the past few years juggling constant requests with enthusiasm and flexibility, ranging from pulling together new and all-important swag, generating digital content, assembling new seasonal, subject, and distribution catalogues, or updated preexisting content, they’re always ready with a quick turnaround and eye-catching and professional designs, which never fail to retain the Press’s distinctive branding.

Anthony Zannino, Editorial Assistant, Acquisitions Department

Anthony was consistently described by his nominators as going “above and beyond”: someone committed to and interested in our list, who puts extra time and effort into his work unsolicited, and who has done valuable work with the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and our Events subcommittee while maintaining his day-to-day tasks for our Acquisitions Department. His knack for “matchmaking” books, authors, and audiences has led him to hand-sell our list to independent bookstores wherever his travels take him, and to prompt creative and innovative events at our own MIT Press Bookstore.
 

Tori Bodozian, Production Assistant, Editorial, Design, and Production Department

Tori is described as consistently taking on extra responsibilities, and has on more than one occasion seamlessly absorbed some of the duties of outgoing staff, streamlining those duties while maintaining her previous workload, catching up on backlog, and offering thoughts on how to improve workflow. Also described as the “ultimate team player,” she’s always looking for ways to be helpful and to maximize efficiency within her own department and at the Press on the whole.

John Williamson, Customer Service Representative, Journals Division

John is consistently described as “a pleasure to work with” both internally, by Press staff, and externally, by our customers. Always calm and friendly, and with a good sense of humor, he tirelessly helps to resolve issues with subscriptions, online access, payments, Literatum, and CogNet, and has taken on added responsibilities with our new MITP Direct platform, all the while demonstrating great follow-through and comprehensive knowledge. He is one of unsung heroes at the Press.

Clarissa Murphy, Bookseller, MIT Press Bookstore

After only a year with the Press, Clarissa has demonstrated great professionalism, a breadth of knowledge, a winning attitude, and enthusiasm for new ideas. She’s also curated and promoted one of our most exciting new developments at the Bookstore: a children’s STEAM section that’s become a draw for the community as well as local educators. Clarissa is a joy to work with, and a tremendous asset to our staff at both the Press’s offices and the Bookstore.

Nick Green, Assistant to the Director, Director’s Office

Over the last year, Nick has proven himself to be smart, able, affable, and quick to help. He consistently takes problems out of other staff members’ hands and solves them, makes a good situation even better, all while acknowledging the inherent challenges and common humanity of all of us. He is always courteous and professional, and in the words of one of his nominators, “we are better employees because of Nick’s tireless support and efforts on our behalf.”

Kelly McDougall, Senior Project Lead, Journals, Digital Products and Software Services

Kelly has consistently demonstrated great leadership, an abiding technical knowledge, and good humor while seeing her department through several structural changes and has become an indispensable resource for many of us here at the Press. Always calm and organized, she is also “an XML wizard,” as well as a valued member of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.

Andrew Sweet, Database Developer, Data Services Department

Andrew is consistently praised by nominators for responsiveness, and for a detailed and comprehensive understanding of some of the most important tools for almost all of us here at the Press: AllBooks, and AllJournals. His accomplishments this year have been many and varied, but all work towards the goal of making things more efficient, more organized, and easier for us all to use, and always with a positive, “big picture” attitude. He also holds the distinction, according to one nominator, of running “one of the most organized meetings I ever experienced in my work life”!

Laura Keeler, Assistant Acquisitions Editor, Acquisitions Department

Laura is an invaluable member of our Acquisitions Team, but has been especially effective and reliable in assisting two very busy lists this year. She is thoughtful, organized, kind, and smart, and brings these qualities not only to her usual role, but also this year in an enhanced capacity, filling in for a close coworker on leave. She took a number of projects to Publishing Committee, Launch, and even our Editorial Board Meeting, all with striking fluency and ease.

Judy Feldmann, Associate Managing Editor, Editorial, Design, and Production Department & Erin Hasley, Senior Designer, Editorial, Design, and Production Department

Our final Infinite Mile Award went to Judy and Erin, in recognition of what has become over many years one of the cornerstones of extracurricular activity here at the Press. As current co-captains of the MIT Press softball team, the Catfish, they’ve worked hard to handle shifting lineups and schedules to make sure that people at all levels of experience get a chance to shine. Incorporating former staff and local friends, the Catfish are also a great, outward-facing voice for the Press, and with consistently great T- shirts besides! They are also both kind, enthusiastic, and hard-working members of our staff.