Clayton State University gathered on Apr. 30 in Spivey Hall to honor faculty and staff with the annual Service Awards ceremony. This year also celebrated the 20th annual announcement of the Alice J. Smith award winners. An annual event since 1995, the Smith Awards are presented to the faculty member and staff member ranked most outstanding as determined by committees of their peers. The two, $1000 awards were established by local philanthropist Joseph Smith in honor of his wife, Alice. The Service Awards Ceremony is a time for Clayton State to celebrate and honor faculty and staff through recognizing years of service, tenure, promotions, and retirement.
Krystal Houston, lead financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid, was recognized as the 2015 Alice Smith Staff Award winner.
This year’s staff nominees also included; Angela Evans (Public Safety), Valerie Lancaster (Office of the President), Svetlana Soroka (Facilities Management) and Cadi Yeager (Registrar’s Office).
Houston has worked in the Office of Financial Aid since 2007. As she continues serving Clayton State’s students as a counselor, she has also participated over the years in several outreach initiatives to serve college age students. In the past, she served as a committee chair for College Goal Sunday, an annual state-wide event assisting high school students with completing the FAFSA as well as a participant in the Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ (GSAFAA) Community Action Committee.
This year, she serves as the president of Clayton State’s Women’s Forum President, where she has been a member since 2008. She has taken great pleasure as well as gratitude in working with faculty and staff to successfully raise scholarship dollars through the Women Forum’s Annual Chili Cook-Off event. She also serves on Clayton State’s Judicial Hearing Panel; and periodically represents the Financial Aid Department by educating parents and students within the community on Financial Aid.
“It is sincerely a pleasure to work with a great community of people who are dedicated in assisting our students in achieving their educational goals,” she says. “I thank everyone for their nominations as well as their support. I am extremely honored to have won this great award as well as being a part of Clayton State University.
Like Smith Faculty Award Winner Dr. Caroline Sheppard a graduate of the College of William & Mary, where she received her B.A. degree in Sociology, Houston was the coordinator for the college’s Volunteer Center where sororities and fraternities were matched with non-profit agencies that were in need of volunteers. This is where she found her niche, not only in the profession of higher education administration and non-profit management, but in serving the student population through volunteering.
She has worked in the field as a financial aid professional for both private and public institutions for 13 years, as well as working several years in the corporate sector for BellSouth’s External Relations Department, and continues her passion working with young adults through various community organizations affiliated with the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Inc. as well as donating her time volunteering with the Atlanta Public Schools.
As a proud veteran of the Army National Guards, having served in Virginia and Colorado, she currently resides in Riverdale, where she enjoys various outdoor activities with her family.