Staff Professional Development Award

2019 Staff Development Award winner Nancy Briones with her supervisor, April O’Neil and Andy Stephany proudly stand on either side.  

Staff Professional Development Award in honor of Ronald W. Frisch

The University of Pittsburgh Staff Council supports the ambition of Pitt staff members who seek to supplement their professional and personal engagement at the University through professional development opportunities. The Staff Professional Development Award in honor of Ronald W. Frisch provides monetary resources to selected University of Pittsburgh staff members to pursue professional enrichment opportunities. Watch the video from the 2016 Engage Pitt fundraising campaign here.

2021 Winners

Lorraine M. Pollini, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine

I was very grateful and humbled to be selected as a recipient of the Staff Development Award in Honor of Ronald W. Frisch. I have worked for the University for 17.5 years.  I have wanted to pursue a certification with the Board of Editors in the Life Science (BELS) for the past several years. BELS mission is “to maintain and promote a proficiency in editing in the life sciences.” This award means a great deal to me. I am very excited to pursue the Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS) certification. Thank you for your consideration of me, the honor of this award, and the extraordinary opportunity for advanced professional development.

Brooke J. Riley, University of Pittsburgh Police Department

Thank you to Staff Council for giving me the opportunity to continue my education and sharpen my leadership skills by awarding me the Staff Development Award in Honor of Ronald W. Frisch.  Lifelong learning is a value that is important to me for personal growth and for fulfilling my duty as a public servant.  I am looking forward to learning from FBI-LEEDA’s Ethics and Supervisor Liability Online Distance Program.  These classes will help give me tools to better serve the Pitt and Oakland Community while reaffirming my commitment to the department’s core values of integrity, respect, service, and fairness.


2019 Winner

Nancy Briones

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

I came to the University with 25 years of industry experience and found it challenging to navigate through the vastly different structure of academia. As much as I tried to move forward, I quickly found myself in a position that offered little chance for advancement. I enrolled in classes to further my education in the hopes that showing progressive professional growth by working toward an advanced degree might provide an opportunity for me to obtain a more challenging position without having to leave the University. I worked with a member of Staff Council and was often updated on the strides taken by them to improve University policies. While reading their webpage, I stumbled on the staff professional development award and applied. I was surprised and extremely grateful to have been chosen amongst all the applicants for this award, which was a generous gift that I could use in the pursuit of my graduate degree in Accountancy. This group is dynamic, and the Pitt community is fortunate to have them working for us.

Staff Professional Development Award Application

Applications closed for 2021.


The Ronald W. Frisch Staff Professional Development Award is available to eligible Pitt staff members to defray the costs of approved professional development opportunities determined to provide direct benefit to the staff member’s career and professional growth at Pitt. Uses of the award include, but are not limited to:

  • University of Pittsburgh tuition
  • Professional conference attendance
  • Professional workshop, class, or credit
  • Training benefiting professional career 

Awards cannot be used for organizational memberships, subscription fees, parking or other incidental fees.


Applicants are required to be benefits-eligible, non-union, part-time or full-time professional employees at any of the University of Pittsburgh’s five campuses. Applicants must have been employed by the University of Pittsburgh for a minimum of one consecutive year and are required to receive supervisor permission for participation as part of their application. Staff members on a performance improvement plan or who have received the award within the past three years are ineligible.

Recipients of the award are chosen by a panel comprised of rotating Staff Council members, regional campus representatives, and an Office of Human Resources representative in accordance with applicable procedures outlined by the University of Pittsburgh. The Staff Council supports and endorses equal opportunities for all Pitt staff members.

Current Staff Council officers are not eligible to apply.


Applicants can apply for up to a $500 award. Multiple awards not exceeding $500 total may be disbursed based on the number of qualified candidates each cycle. For example, two $250 awards may be disbursed in a given awards cycle.  Award money will be distributed to the awardee based on University financial policies and must be utilized for the awarded purposes within one calendar year.

Awardees are required to submit a testimonial following their use of the award as a requirement of acceptance.

Recipients of the award will be notified following a review process and presented at the Staff Council’s annual Spring Assembly, which the awardee(s) are encouraged to attend.