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Three NERS staff members honored by Michigan Engineering

Congratulations to the 2023 Michigan Engineering Staff Incentive Award Recipients from NERS.

Congratulations to Sarah Galea, Purchasing and Financial Assistant; Gabrielle Hoelzle, Lead Data Scientist; and Garnette Roberts, Graduate Program Manager. They are our 2023 recipients of the Michigan Engineering Staff Incentive Award, which recognizes staff who consistently demonstrate the College’s vision, mission, and values.

“These awards demonstrate the depth of quality in the NERS staff,” said NERS Chair Todd Allen. “ From the long-term excellence that Garnette has brought to the graduate programs to the dramatic new initiatives that Sarah and Gabby have introduced, NERS is a better place.  We are fortunate to have them as colleagues.”

sarah porter portrait

Sarah Galea

Purchasing and Financial Assistant

Sarah Galea joined us two years ago as a Purchasing and Financial Assistant, a newly created position in NERS. Her career has started off on a strong note. She has truly excelled in stepping into the role and taking full ownership of her responsibilities. Sarah was the driving force behind the planning and implementation of the Online Purchasing System within our department. This milestone had been long overdue, and Sarah’s crucial role and diligent efforts in the project are highly commendable. Sarah has performed exceptionally well in the purchasing function. The process is streamlined and orders are timely. She also created an online site with documented policies, procedures, and instructions for using OPS. Sarah has demonstrated great skill in handling the complex task of financial aid processing, and assisting the grad program manager with tuition, stipend, and benefits disbursements. As a timekeeper, she diligently prepares monthly and biweekly reports for supervisors. In addition, Sarah introduced a new Google form for students to submit reimbursement requests, streamlining our processes more effectively.

“Sarah’s commitment to her role in NERS is evident in her diligent work, particularly in streamlining and improving our purchasing processes and systems,” said NERS Department Administrator Besnik Topulli. “Her contributions have made a significant positive impact within our department.”


Gabrielle Hoelzle

Project Manager and Lead Data Scientist

Gabby is a Project Manager and Lead Data Scientist in the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative at NERS. She has been consistently dedicated to her role, making steady advancements in different projects. Notably, she completed the development of PEANuT, an assessment, siting, and reporting tool to help communities transform their energy systems while adapting to climate change. Gabby also made strides in procuring additional funding from sources including ARPA-E, NEUP, and NRIC, as well as growing potential sources related to the hydrogen energy sector, thereby broadening the funding scope beyond nuclear energy. Gabby maintains an ongoing commitment to develop her project management skills, which has contributed to her effectiveness in her role. She has also collaborated with Marketing and Communications staff to promote Fastest Path and expand its reach through articles and social media presence.

“Gabby has been amazing,” said Allen. “Although her position is defined as a staff position, she obtains funding for her efforts and leads their execution with the expertise of a typical faculty member. She is building a national reputation as a leader in data-driven decision support systems for nuclear energy.”


Garnette Roberts

Graduate Program Manager

Garnette Roberts is a highly valued NERS staff member. His hard work and dedication, depth of knowledge, and deep caring for our students play a huge role in the success of our graduate program. Garnette is a team player and someone you can always count on. He adeptly handles everything related to the NERS graduate program, from recruiting students and organizing events to admission processes, orientation, prospectus, and candidacy exams, all the way to graduation, and everything in between. He’s the go-to guy for troubleshooting and fixing any unexpected student issues that pop up throughout the year. He addresses inquiries and requests from faculty members, working closely with the Master’s chair and graduate program chair. He keeps the wheels moving by taking charge and getting things done. Last year, he did a great job supporting a new faculty member who took on the grad chair role. He has also been putting in time and effort in training the financial assistant on handling specific aspects of student financials and cross-training with the undergraduate programs manager.

“Garnette’s dedication and deep knowledge are vital to the operation of the graduate programs in NERS,” said Topulli. “Handling everything from student recruitment to graduation, while supporting colleagues and faculty, he’s a dependable presence who keeps things running smoothly.”

Media Contact

Sara Norman

Marketing & Communications Manager