It’s noon at the Bargain Barn and a group of employees gather in the break room as Noor Ramy receives her plaque for Student Employee of the Year.
Standing next to her co-workers and friends, Ramy, a senior English major, smiles and holds back tears as her supervisor, Katie Jaramillo, takes the floor.
“We’ve never had a student employee like Noor … I just wish you could stay forever,” Jaramillo said.
This year marks the third year that UC Davis is recognizing three outstanding students for their performance on the job, in three categories: Principles of Community, Contributions to UC Davis, and Contributions to the Community.
While previous ceremonies were held in Dutton Hall, this year the move to the student’s place of employment, due to budget cuts, nonetheless gave a more ‘personalized touch.’
UCD’s Student Employees of the Year are nominated by their supervisors and receive a plaque, a $75 dollar gift certificate to the bookstore and their name on a plaque found in Dutton Hall.
Ami Tripp, work-study coordinator, wrote the grant proposal for the Student Employees of the Year and recognizes the importance of working students.
“There are so many departments that rely on students for their day-to-day needs … and it is important to recognize [them],” Tripp said.
Ramy, who is being awarded in the Principles of Community category, is a transfer student who worked her way to a student assistant at the Bargain Barn and has also worked at engraving and microscope services.
“I absolutely love my job … I know everyday I’m going to be around some very smart and interesting people and it makes me want to do the best job that I can,” Ramy said.
An individual nominated for the Principles of Community category embraces diversity and does not allow differences to become a ‘hindrance,’ Tripp said.
Ramy, who said she enjoys seeing regular and new customers, certainly has an impact on the people around her. Janet Tillinghaust, an engraver, works with Ramy at the engraving services.
“Every time I see Noor, I just have to smile,” Tillinghaust said.
Senior Effie Forson, a nutrition science major, was one of the five judges who read through all of this year’s 50 nominations.
Forson, the current assistant at the student employment center, believes that what makes this year’s student employees winners really stand out from other nominees are their ‘initiative to think outside the box.’
Keith Dunaway, Contributions to UC Davis
Recent graduate Keith Dunaway, a genetics major, spent a couple of years after high school working at Safeway before transferring to UC Davis and working in Janine LaSalle’s lab in Tupper Hall.
“I’ve worked in the real world for a couple of years and realized the value of working in the field that you want to work in. I guess what I did to stand out from the rest was to show some interest,” Dunaway said.
After two quarters of working in the lab, Dunaway was put on a research project and now works as a research technician with interests in combining genetics and computer science.
Head scientist Dr. Dag Yasui is Dunaway’s supervisor and nominated Dunaway for the award.
“He’s very interested in what he’s doing and brings a sense of humor to the job and so we enjoy that,” Yasui said.
Dunaway, who is being recognized in the Contributions to UC Davis category, said that when he received the e-mail saying that he won, he thought it was a joke.
“I was just in shock. I was just really overjoyed,” Dunaway said.
Miranda Dugan, Contributions to the Community
All of this year’s winners said they feel very appreciative for being recognized for all their hard work. But senior Miranda Dugan says she also feels torn about her reward in the category of Contributions to the Community.
As one of the “First-Year Experience” (FYE) student coordinators and orientations student coordinator, Dugan and her fellow coworkers supervise incoming staff and help first year students make the transition into campus life.
“Working with thousands of new students who come from different places with just as many different experiences is constantly challenging,” Dungan said.
Anthony Volkar, FYE coordinator and Dugan’s supervisor, acknowledges that he works with many students on campus every year but that Miranda is a student that he will remember.
“She has a strong affinity for the campus and always puts 100 percent … and a lot of students look to her as a leader,” Volkar said.
Dugan though, sticks to her training which emphasizes a “we is we” attitude of teamwork.
“I work with so many other amazing students on a daily basis … it seems a little overly simplified to narrow the difference we make down to one person,” Dugan said.
Monica Pena-Villegas, work-study coordinator, agrees in part with Miranda’s sentiments about being able to reward all student employees at UC Davis.
“It is unfortunate we can’t give an award to all UC [Davis] students … but in essence this reward is saying thank you to all working students,” Pena-Villegas said.
The second week of April was also National Student Employment Week to recognize all working students.
JESSY WEI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.