- Sheila Simmons, a project coordinator at the University of
Kansas Life Span Institute at Parsons, and Yolanda Langdon, the
graduate and undergraduate secretary for the geology department,
have been named the June unclassified and classified employees
of the month.
Each will receive $500 and a certificate. They are now eligible
to be named employee of the year.
Simmons, who has a master's degree in speech-language pathology,
has been a KU employee for 10 years.
She is coordinator for the statewide Assistive Technology for
Kansans Project, a federally funded program that helps persons
with disabilities find ways to live and work as independently
as possible through the use of assistive devices and services.
Assistive devices range from relatively commonplace items such
as hearing aids and ergonomically designed kitchen utensils to
highly sophisticated computer aids.
Sheila oversees the activities of the five Assistive Technology
Access Sites in Lawrence, Parsons, Salina, Wichita and Oakley.
She writes grant proposals and reports; coordinates and provides
assistive technology training sessions, workshops and conferences;
and serves as liaison to various state agencies. She also coordinates
the activities of a 40-member Executive Advisory Board.
According to her colleagues, Sheila is a national expert in the
area of assistive technology, especially in the areas of augmentative
communication devices and low technology solutions. She is expert
at finding funds for purchasing assistive technology devices
and services, such as wheelchairs, van lifts, computers and communication
She has played a leadership role in obtaining over a million
dollars per year to fund the services provided by the assistive
Langdon first worked at KU in 1978 as a student employee. She
joined the geology department as a secretary I and is now an
office specialist, maintaining and updating records for some
50 undergraduate and 60 graduate
students. She is unfailingly courteous and helpful to visitors
and has passed those skills on to the student receptionists she
Yolanda acts as a liaison for graduate students, and makes arrangements
for graduate students when they return to campus to take exams.
She responds to inquiries from prospective students and coordinates
campus visits, checks applications, and arranges for faculty
members to visit other schools to recruit students.
She arranges visits from off-campus employers to interview geology
She also serves as coordinator of the department's summer field
camp near Cañon City, Colo.
Yolanda has a master's degree in Spanish from KU. She uses her
bilingual abilities to make prospective students from Spanish-speaking
countries feel at home, to assist faculty and staff members who
travel abroad for research, and to communicate with offices in
Argentina, Brazil, New Guinea, Spain and other countries where
the department conducts research.