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Kenneth Ferguson, Trish Sandman Receive College of Education’s 2024 Awards for Excellence

Left to right: Trish Sandman, Dean Paola Sztajn, and Kenneth Ferguson
Left to right: Trish Sandman, Dean Paola Sztajn, and Kenneth Ferguson

Kenneth Ferguson and Trish Sandman are the recipients of the College of Education’s 2024 Awards for Excellence, which recognize employees who demonstrate excellence in their college or department, the NC State campus community or in the lives of others.

Peers nominated staff in the College of Education for the Awards for Excellence, and a college committee of faculty and staff selected Fergsuon as the college’s EHRA Awards for Excellence recipient and Sandman as the college’s SHRA Awards for Excellence recipient. They were  honored during the College of Education’s Faculty and Staff Awards Celebration this past spring and during the University Awards for Excellence ceremony on June 4. 

Kenneth Ferguson: College of Education’s EHRA Awards for Excellence Recipient

Ferguson has been the director of information technology with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation since December 2021. A colleague nominated him for the category of Efficiency and Innovation.

“Winning the College of Education’s EHRA Awards for Excellence is incredibly humbling and rewarding. For me, it’s not just about personal recognition — it’s about celebrating the hard work, dedication and contributions to our university. This award underscores the importance of aiming high, fostering innovation and living the values that make NC State special. It’s a reflection of not just my efforts, but also the amazing support and teamwork of my colleagues and the whole university community,” Ferguson said. “This honor is a testament to what we can achieve together and inspires me to keep pushing boundaries and to be a role model, encouraging others to pursue their passions with the same dedication and integrity. Ultimately, this recognition highlights the importance of our collective work and the lasting impact we can make within the NC State family.”

As the director of IT at the Friday Institute, Ferguson has upgraded the Friday Institute’s equipment and integrated the latest cutting-edge technology, the nominator said. The result has been improved security, simplicity and usability of IT devices and equipment.

“The modern touch imparted to the Friday Institute through the implementation of new devices stands as a testament to Mr. Ferguson’s strategic leadership in the realm of IT advancements,” wrote the nominator, who also highlighted Ferguson’s hard work, expertise, dedication, proficiency and organization while also “continuously learning and developing best practices to manage routine activities both efficiently and effectively.” 

Trish Sandman: College of Education’s SHRA Awards for Excellence Recipient

Sandman has been an executive assistant with the College of Education since January 2022, when she joined the college through University Temporary Services before becoming a permanent SHRA employee in July 2022. A colleague nominated Sandman in the category of Outstanding State Government Service. 

“It is a true honor to be this year’s College of Education SHRA award honoree for the university’s Award for Excellence,” Sandman said. “With that said, I feel an obligation to recognize all of my colleagues in the college, all of whom go above and beyond every single day to make this college the special place that it is, especially during this challenging past year. My coworkers are truly the backbone of this college and community. They are the definition of excellence.” 

As an executive assistant in the dean’s office, Sandman is often the first person guests and visitors encounter. The nominator noted that Sandman is a “warm, welcoming light [who] always has a smile on … Anytime a person came into the office, she would go above and beyond the call of her position to assist them by personally making sure a task was done immediately.”