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For Jody Nyberg, Amy Blue Award tops off two decades of student service

L.A. Cicero Jody Nyberg

Since she began working on campus Aug. 30, 1985, 2005 Amy J. Blue Award recipient Jody Nyberg has worked in three departments within the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and now for two units within the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

BY MICHAEL PEÑA

Ask Jody Nyberg about her most difficult post during her nearly 20 years at Stanford, and she'll start with the three she spent in the Office of Judicial Affairs. As an administrative assistant in the office that adjudicates cases of alleged student misconduct, she saw overachieving students as they shuffled in for their hearings and—if found responsible—marked their records accordingly.

"If they had a blemish, then I wrote it down," said Nyberg, who worked in Judicial Affairs from 1999 to 2002. "It's important that we have that office. But it's not pleasant."

And because disciplinary cases are highly confidential, that's about all she could ever say. When she exchanged glances with students she knew from the office and wanted to wave or chat, the creed of confidentiality suggested she shouldn't. In that job, student support required silence.

But since she began working on campus Aug. 30, 1985, Nyberg has had no shortage of opportunities to show her commitment to service, having worked in three departments within the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and now for two units within the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Her productivity, professionalism and crisply positive attitude have garnered her the admiration of many. And for that reason, she is a 2005 recipient of the Amy J. Blue Award.

"This award, I would say, is very humbling," she said. "I couldn't have done it without the colleagues I began my career with in ResEd, who were my mentors."

Nyberg started as a part-time resident student affairs specialist, running the office and supporting the Residential Education program—for instance, contacting faculty and others to speak, or getting information to resident fellows and assistants. She spent two years in Wilbur Hall and 10 in Branner, a vortex of freshman activity.

"I enjoyed being in the dorms because I worked with resident staff," she said. "You interact with students."

And yet, her service to students has hit even closer to home. Her daughter, Tori, who graduated from Stanford in 2003, was a pitcher on the softball team all four years. And over that time, Nyberg baked untold pounds of lasagna for 15—and sometimes up to 55—guests at a time in her home in Belmont. (The larger number included players on a team that Tori helped coach, plus their close friends and relatives.)

The kitchen duty has since tapered off, but back at the Farm, the opposite occurred. From November 2003 to late 2004, Nyberg served as administrative assistant to Julie Lythcott-Haims, dean of freshmen and transfer students. In addition to dealing with the newness of the office and its rapid pace, Nyberg was supporting a supervisor whom she described as fair and demanding but who also has very high expectations.

"She's an extraordinary person," Nyberg said of Lythcott-Haims. "I've learned a lot from her."

Now, Nyberg supports four program directors within the Freshmen Dean's Office and works in Room 123, adjacent to Meyer Library, which is ground zero for New Student Orientation, the office's most massive annual program. In this role, Nyberg said student service is more proactive, with a heavy emphasis on staff support as they plan for the coming year.

"When I was setting up the office a few years ago, I was nothing less than thrilled when Jody approached me about working together," said Lythcott-Haims. "We are so fortunate to have her on the Freshman Dean's Office team, where students, parents and colleagues alike think of her in the most glowing of terms."