Ruthie Freeman

Ruthie Freeman awarded the 2021 Stenzel Staff Dedication Award

The annual Mart Stenzel Staff Dedication Award in the Aerospace department was awarded to Ruthie Freeman for her exceptional dedication to student services.

Ruthie Freeman

A critical member of the Aero staff since 2020 as the graduate student coordinator, Ruthie’s increasing responsibility now includes overseeing all student services for the department. She is delighted to partner with Linda and our upcoming student advisor to develop greater student support and services for all Aero students.

“I think I’m good at my job and have deep passion for it because I came to it in the most circuitous way. A double U-M Wolverine, Ruthie has a B.A. in social science from the Residential College and a Master’s in Library Science, experience that helps appreciate what students are going through. Working as an elementary school librarian in Chicago, she honed her skills listening to young student’s needs as they sought refuge in the library. She transitioned to a role at Wayne State University working with high school students before joining the career center at the U-M Law School.

Ruthie brought her lived experiences to student services. She jokes, “I feel like I’ve done everything wrong and that I’ve made probably every conceivable mistake over the years. I can share my experiences and help students navigate all of it. My wheelhouse is helping students who are panicking. The people I have most impact on are students who need guidance.”

Ruthie was nominated by multiple faculty and staff for this award.

One nominator shared, “Student admission, student onboarding into the department, and ensuring that student educational experience is as smooth and seamless as possible is a core function of the department. Ruthie has been exemplary at ensuring this, working with all faculty members, necessary staff members as well as other entities within the university.”

Another added, “Despite Ruthie’s heavy workload, she always goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional quality on her base responsibilities. Additionally, she helps coach others on tools and process. She is tireless and committed, and never lets anyone down.”

She is grateful for the award, commenting, “It really means a lot on so many levels. Personally, it’s nice to be recognized, and I appreciate the sentiment from my colleagues. I also appreciate the recognition of the importance of my work and acknowledgment that student affairs is something that takes time and consideration. By appreciating my job, we are further recognizing the importance of our students’ needs.”