CU Advantage website tops Innovation and Efficiency honorees

Five projects earned prizes for saving time and money across CU system
By Staff

Call for entries: 2023 CU Innovation & Efficiency Awards

It’s a competitive world out there, and that competition was certainly evident in this year’s CU Innovation and Efficiency Awards.

The program seeks out examples of university employees putting into action ideas that save time or money, improve customer service or enhance work operations. With 19 individuals or teams submitting in the 2023 contest, it was a challenge to winnow those down to the top five submissions, but winnow we did.

In such a competitive atmosphere it always helps to have an advantage, and one team had that this year. RyAnne Scott, Kayle Lingo, Zoe Geraghty and Roxann Elliott from Employee Services at CU system took top honors and a $1,500 cash prize for their work in creating the CU Advantage website.

They combined forces to gather information on the many additional perks and benefits available to CU employees and compiled those into one easily searchable website where employees can find deals and discounts on everything from pet insurance to travel. The CU Advantage website, which is available through a tile in the employee portal, benefits not only existing employees, but also provides the university with a useful tool to attract the best and brightest new hires in a highly competitive job market.

The competition didn’t end there – four other prizes of $1,000 for outstanding submissions were awarded to the following:

James Ashby, a data engineer/architect on the Boulder campus, for proving once again that data wrangling, much like cat wrangling, works best when skillfully orchestrated. Ashby recognized that the data flows critical to Boulder campus operations had become far too complex and unwieldy. He migrated the many different data flows to Prefect technology, which provides users with a single platform to better manage, deploy and troubleshoot these flows.

Merlin Ariefdjohan and Claudia Iannelli for applying ride-sharing concepts to research assistance. Ariefdjohan, a past CU Innovation and Efficiency Award-winner, and Iannelli teamed up to augment research support in the Department of Psychiatry at CU Anschutz by building a pool of accomplished research assistants who can be “dispatched” to faculty in need. These assistants then help to “deliver” the cutting-edge work that keeps CU ubering its way to the forefront of research and innovation.

A team from the Clinical Translational Research Center – Archana Mande, Janine Higgins, Thomas Yaeger, Christopher Caldwell, Jennifer Cathcart, Diane Branham and Melanie Tsosie – on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus for creating a “traffic-monitoring” system to coordinate and manage visits with clinical trial participants. The technology uses color-coding on a dashboard and a secure mobile app to allow staff to manage and track the status of trial participants and communicate that information securely to the medical specialists they will be seeing.

And finally, a team from CU system’s University Information Services – also featuring some past CU Innovation and Efficiency Award winners – for creating the GM Financial Report. Samantha Fildish, Guy Chavez and Linda Warren leveraged their knowledge of PeopleSoft systems and grants management to build an interactive report to aid in managing grants throughout their lifecycles. By drilling in on the information critical to federal reporting requirements, reporting time has been reduced by an estimated 13 hours a week for post-award staff.

For an in-depth look at the prize winners, go to While you’re there, check out the 14 other exciting 2023 submissions at CU Innovation and Efficiency Awards: 2023 Current Submissions.

Kudos to all our teams for making this year’s competition especially fierce and thanks for keeping CU at the forefront of innovation.

– Submitted by the Office of University Controller

Tagged with: