Jennifer Graham, a senior application developer, recently received recognition for her significant contributions to CLAS Technology Services.
Monday, July 1, 2024

By Abby Wedemeyer 

Jennifer Graham, senior application developer in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was one of three recipients recognized as an “Unsung Hero” on June 3 during the annual IT Leadership Awards. The ceremony took place at the Iowa Memorial Union during the 2024 University of Iowa Tech Forum. 

Jennifer Graham
Jennifer Graham

The IT Leadership Awards aim not only to recognize outstanding leadership from IT professionals at the University of Iowa, but also to “develop, encourage, and support IT leadership” for years to come.  

The Unsung Hero award is given by the IT Leadership Development Community and “recognizes a member of the IT community who is always there and present, performing great deeds, yet their significant behind-the-scenes contributions usually receive little or no outward recognition.” 

“I was surprised and greatly appreciated receiving the award,” Graham said. “Being recognized by ITS, in addition to the congratulatory messages received by other CLAS employees, was very humbling.” 

Graham has been an employee of the University of Iowa since 2008, where she began work as a programmer in the Finance and Business Information Services team before moving to CLAS in 2014. 

Graham was nominated for the award by CLAS Technology Services application programmer Katherine Michalski. 

“Since early 2023, CLAS Technology Services has been trying to fill two senior developer positions, and the workload of the office has increased for all staff,” Michalski wrote in her nomination submission. “However, Jen has stepped up and is currently working on several other applications such as Art Supplies, TAPE, Budget Cafe, Salary Budget, Allocation Request, and more.”  

Graham is currently working on an upgrade for the allocation request system, also known as MAX, which is used by department administrators to submit requests for funds to the CLAS Finance Office.  

“The upgrade will hopefully make the application look nicer and be a little bit easier for users to create requests,” Graham said. “I enjoy just about any project that I know will make people’s lives easier and reduce the amount of work on things that they ‘have’ to do so that they can work on more things that they enjoy or want to do.” 

Beyond taking an increased workload in her role, Graham was presented the Unsung Hero award for providing guidance and mentorship to junior developers and student employees. 

“Teaching the students real-life programming skills in addition to different ways to communicate with others, and to see their growth in these skills, is very rewarding,” Graham said. “The students have taught me a lot also. They have taught me about different coding tools, and they have given me insight into how to better communicate with college students and recent graduates.”  

Graham is appreciative of her colleagues who have helped get her to where she is today.  

“I could not do my job without other unsung heroes,” she said. “That list includes the help of my CLAS colleagues in addition to the other ITS folks that help us with other systems, such as the MAUI developers, the systems administrators and database administrators, just to name a few.” 

See the full list of 2024 IT Leadership Award recipients.