December 13, 2013

Time to recognize the next Student Employee of the Year

The end of the calendar year at WPI means many things, and for one deserving student, it will mean Student Employee of the Year honors.






Annually, since 2006, WPI has recognized the student employee who has excelled on the job and met or exceeded criteria that include quality of work, initiative, disposition, reliability, and contribution to the employer.

SEOY is part of a nationwide program administered by the Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators (NEASEA), a nonprofit organization of professionals committed to programs for students who work while attending college. Supervisors at colleges across the region nominate student employees who they feel are especially worthy of recognition based on their job performance.

The selection process begins with managers of student employees submitting nominations to the WPI Student Employee of the Year Committee, which is made up of co-chairs Deb Dexter and Debbie Bockus, as well as Kate Beverage, Jim McLaughlin, Ann Valerio, and Mike DiRuzza.

“The committee comprises staff volunteers who feel strongly that student staff should be acknowledged and recognized for their invaluable service to WPI,” Bockus says.

Nominations will be accepted beginning in January. Once nominations are closed, she explains, the reviewers examine each submission. Points are assigned and tabulated, and the nominee with the highest number of points is declared the WPI Student Employee of the Year.  In the event that the results are very close, the review committee will meet for discussion.

The winner is announced in April at the campus-wide Student Recognition Awards Ceremony in April, which also presents the CORE, Outstanding Women, Coghlin, and Crimson and Gray awards.

“This is more than a job, it is a passion…”

WPI faculty and staff members nominate an average of 25 student staff members every year. Each nominated student will also have the opportunity to advance to district, regional, and national competition, Bockus says, adding that SEOY recipients have fared well beyond WPI.

“Two [award winners] went on to District 3 Student Employee of the Year by NEASEA.  District 3 includes colleges and universities from eastern Massachusetts, eastern Connecticut, and Rhode Island―so this is no small honor. Regional winners are then submitted for national consideration.”

The reigning Student Employee of the Year, senior Samuel François, worked as a peer advisor at the Career Development Center and was nominated by his manager, Maggie Becker, assistant director of the CDC. He says simply being nominated was reward enough.

“At that point, winning or losing the award would not have been a huge deal,” François recalls. “I already felt 100 percent appreciated. When I actually won, I couldn’t even believe it. I have the framed award proudly displayed in my room and I still work in that office now.”

In his role as a peer advisor, François collaborated with student clubs and organizations to develop and present events such as career Pictionary and resume writing workshops. He also assisted undecided first year students in choosing a major through the discovering majors and careers course.

“Sam has been a motivation to me as a leader,” said Becker when nominating François. “This is more than a job, it is a passion and something he truly believes in and supports.”

He continues his work this year in the more advanced role of senior peer advisor. He says the job of helping others with career strategies has aided him in his own.

“This has definitely given me many opportunities to learn my leadership style as well as perfect my presentation skills. Those soft skills can be applied to anything. Also, being surrounded by career development has definitely helped me take advantage of this office and find jobs for my friends and myself.”

Bockus notes that a campus-wide email with program and nomination information will go out in mid-January.

By Mike D’Onofrio