Laura Byrd of graduate services awarded meritorious service award

Image of Laura ByrdLaura Byrd, program assistant in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering graduate office, was recently awarded the President's Meritorious Service Award along with 24 other individuals and two teams.

Byrd is a well-known face around the department. She came to Texas A&M University in 2010 and began working in civil engineering in 2011. An “army brat” born in Japan, Byrd relates to the somewhat transplanted feeling one can experience with higher education. She prides herself on knowing and maintaining a relationship with the students from check-in on day one through graduation.

“They are not just a number to me. I like when they drop by for a piece of candy and tell me bits of their lives outside of school,” said Byrd. “This award is most humbling because I was nominated by students. I love my job and I love helping and interacting with each student or any other person that asks me for assistance.”

When the graduate students arrive on campus, their first stop is the graduate office. Waiting for them is a bowl of candy and support as they prepare to settle into the department.

“In the two years that I have been a graduate student in the civil engineering department, it has been the graduate student services office that has given me the most support and most defined my experience working with administration,” said Juliana Cammarata, civil engineering graduate student. “Ms. Laura Byrd has resolved every issue I have come to her with swiftly and effectively, even when they were outside of her purview.”

“We have close to 500 graduate students in the department and Laura knows each and every one of them,” said Dr. Yunlong Zhang, associate professor and assistant department head for graduate programs in civil engineering. “She is resourceful, knows or can quickly find the solution to problems, and is always ready to help.”

The President's Meritorious Service Awards began in 1986. Currently, these awards are presented to recognize 25 outstanding individuals and two outstanding teams for their meritorious service to the university. Nominations are typically called for during the fall; an anonymous committee appointed by the president selects the recipients.

Awards are presented at a special award ceremony. Each individual recipient receives a $1,000 cash award, a commemorative plaque, and a lapel pin. The teams will be recognized with a plaque for departmental display. Each member of the team receives a cash award of $200, a lapel pin and a framed certificate of recognition.

The President's Meritorious Service Awards Program is sponsored by the Office of the President and The Association of Former Students. The program is coordinated by Texas A&M Human Resources.

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