Cynthia Ahrendsen, Employee of the Month, November 2014

Division of General Medicine Disciplines

In her official capacity as administrative associate and preceptorship coordinator for the Primary Care Associate Program (PCAP), Cynthia Ahrendsen manages the logistics and administrative work for hundreds of students’ clinical rotations.

Unofficially, she is the heart and soul of the program -- organizing events such as holiday parties, baby showers, and birthday celebrations; encouraging colleagues to participate in the Be Well program; and advocating for sustainable commuting.

Ahrendsen is November’s recipient of the Employee of the Month award, which honors exceptionally dedicated and passionate staff.

Dedicated, thoughtful and positive

Tomiko Oskotsky, PCAP’s data manager, described Ahrendsen as a dedicated and thoughtful administrator, who “often goes above and beyond to ensure that our students have the rotations that they need in order to graduate from our program.”

Andrew Chastain, a clinical instructor with PCAP, said Ahrendsen “exemplifies teamwork in action” and is genuinely committed to the success of the program and its students. He also praised her positive attitude and willingness to venture beyond her job description.

“Recently, Cynthia compiled information about more than 90 new clinical programs. She did so in rapid fashion without ever asking if this was within her job description. Though this is just one example, this type of effort is commonplace for her.”

Ahrendsen also created and organized an Amazing Race team building exercise to introduce new students to the Stanford campus. She organized students and faculty into six different groups, and placed clues at campus landmarks – including the Cantor Museum, Hoover Tower, and Cohos, a popular coffeehouse with live music. The event was widely regarded as a success, and was highly praised by students.

Strong ties to Stanford

Ahrendsen, who moved to Palo Alto when she was two, has strong ties to Stanford University. Her parents were fans of Stanford’s football and basketball teams, so she grew up attending games. She also spent time volunteering at the original Stanford Children’s Hospital, and worked at the Stanford blood bank during high school.

Ahrendsen began working for the Department of Medicine six years ago on a part-time basis, eventually transitioning into a full-time role with the PCAP. Ahrendsen said she loves the Stanford atmosphere. “I love what we do for students, and I love the people that I work with. It’s a great team here. I’ve been here all my life, and I just feel like it’s home.”