Melinda McNeese Braud has received the 2006 Outstanding Staff Service Award presented by the LSU Foundation and the Law Center. She received the award at the 38th Annual LSU Foundation Staff Outstanding Service Awards ceremonies held November 14, 2006.
Melinda was nominated by her friends and colleagues in the Department of Legal Writing and Professional Practice where she began working in March 2006. Melinda is a 12-year veteran of the Law Center. Her career includes nine years working in the Admissions Office and several years assisting professors. She received her B.A. in Mass Communications in 2001. Chancellor John Costonis presented the award along with representatives of the LSU Foundation.
“When I think of Melinda, I think about my brother George and the early years of my life when we all made our livings through painting houses. What I learned from that experience is that it’s the detailed preparation and work on the house before the paint goes on that determines the quality of the paint job. It’s the same idea when you think about the incredible work that Melinda does. She is the one doing the prep work, and that’s 90% of a quality job – whether it’s painting or preparing for moot court competitions, counseling students, or helping professors with class preparation. Melinda’s positive attitude is contagious, and it’s wonderful to see someone who enjoys life each day,” commented the Chancellor.
Always one to credit others, Melinda discussed her excitement over receiving the nomination by her peers, and ultimately, the award. “I thoroughly enjoy working with the students and I love to see them succeed at law school and surpass their own expectations. I also enjoy working with other departments and the Law Center faculty and staff. Almost every project here involves many people to guarantee success. Every department at this institution is always helpful and willing to give you 100% group effort,” said Melinda.
Professor Grace Barry recalled the first days of Melinda’s new job as she submitted the nomination form to the selection committee for review. “She walked into a department that for a number of years borrowed clerical and administrative assistance from other departments and then for the past three years operated with a part-time worker. Melinda quickly realized that this department had been neglected and greeted each challenge with energy, humor, and patience. In less than 30 days, she completely coordinated the spring semester annual event of “Oral Arguments” by scheduling local attorneys to serve as judges, reserving classrooms as courtrooms, preparing all of the packets of materials, locating and cleaning all judges’ robes, creating and ordering the entire two week events’ menu, and then ensuring that all parts of the event happened as planned.”
Having Melinda is a huge relief for the legal writing faculty who collectively say they are now able to concentrate on the academics.
Another feat lauded by her departmental friends is the complete charting and filing of records related to some 20 moot court programs. She has also coordinated registration and travel for dozens of visiting law schools. In addition to the bevy of extracurricular activities in the department, Melinda provides administrative and clerical support to six full-time Legal Writing Professors and five part-time adjunct Appellate Advocacy Professors. “This task alone, if mastered within the first year, would have been a great accomplishment, and Melinda handled establishing rapport with 11 different faculty members with aplomb,” said Barry.
All of Melinda’s tasks require an ability to coordinate her own work but equally as important to coordinate, mentor, and work with students. Her ability to mentor and work with students is the glue that all of the student organizations needed. There is now one central person and office where all students can drop in, check in, and receive assistance.
And she does all of these things with devotion and tireless energy, and with a great disposition. “Melinda Braud is undoubtedly one of the best examples of “outstanding staff” and she deserves all of the honors and recognition that come with such a designation,” Barry concluded.
Melinda concluded, “We spend more hours of the day at work than with family and friends, so why not make the best of it? If you can help people make their day a little easier, then your day was worth it.”