North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island recognizes outstanding staff

Published 7:09 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

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The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island has announced the winners of peer-nominated awards for 2022-23. The Sea Star Award went to public programs educator Avery Joyce and volunteer coordinator Taylor McConnell received the Award of Excellence.

Presented annually, the award recipients are nominated by their peers and receive gift cards, custom sustainable items from NCARI’s gift shop and engraved plaques. The Sea Star Award recognizes a staff member that demonstrates excellence in customer service, visitor interactions, an outstanding professional attitude and a strong desire to provide an excellent experience for staff and visitors. The Award of Excellence recognizes excellence in performing duties, commitment to the aquarium’s mission, noteworthy professional knowledge and strong work ethic.

Joyce’s peers praise his willingness to “create new educational opportunities for guests while working to expand his knowledge. He works to train and assist interns and volunteers in their mission to educate and inspire the guests.” When asked what the award means to him, Joyce said that “he was raised to work to the best of his ability in all things. In my opinion, you should never reach your end goal, it should be just out of reach, so you’re always striving for that next accomplishment.

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McConnell “has gone above and beyond with the volunteer program, creating new opportunities to meet the needs of both staff and volunteers,” staff members noted in the nomination. About her personal work ethic, McConnell said she “tries to practice servant leadership, which focuses on active listening and empathizing with others.”