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Keuka College News

Sony Yang is Dedicated to Her Job, and Her Student Employees

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles of 2015 Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Xong Sony Yang

Xong “Sony” Yang, international student advisor, arrived on the Keuka College campus in October 2014.

She “jumped right in” to her position and “immediately” began giving projects to her work-study students, including senior Crystal Billings.

“From what I saw, Sony made the transition into her new position smoothly, and was excited to work with Keuka College’s International Students Services,” said Billings, a sociology major from Groton.

The projects that Yang had Billings work on have included reorganizing the file system, bulletin boards, and various other creative projects, including working on a Lunar New Year display. During these projects, Billings welcomed the constructive criticism Yang provided.

“Sony has been extremely patient and I have greatly appreciated that,” said Billings. “Without the critiques she has given me, I would not have been able to grow as a student, or an employee. I believe she is understanding, and I am always able to talk to Sony to solve any problem.”

And that dialogue goes both ways. As Billings seeks to improve her role in the office, Yang is also actively seeking feedback from Billings and the other work-study students in her office.

“Sony has asked how she can improve as a supervisor,” said Billings. “She is conscious of how she is doing, which to me, shows that she wants to be the best supervisor she can possibly be.”

In addition to talking with Billings about the projects in the office, Yang “also makes sure that I am all right in other aspects such as health and academics,” said Billings, “which means a lot to me, because it shows that Sony cares about me.”

And Billings wants to model Yang after she graduates next month.

“Sony has encouraged me to work hard in this position, as she knows I would like to go into student affairs after I graduate from Keuka College,” said Billings. “She has been helpful with giving me advice and figuring out my path. It is evident that she cares for all of her students, which is what I would love to be able to show when I am in the field.”

While Billings does not know where she will work in higher education, Yang inspired her to apply for a graduate assistant position in the international programs office at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“I believe that it is because of the experiences that I have had with Sony that I want work in international programs outside of Keuka College,” said Billings. “She has influenced me to be the best I can be when I am in the field and have my own work-study students.”

Added Billings: “I have really appreciated being able to work with Sony during my senior year. She has shown me who I want to be when I get into the field and that means a lot to me. I believe Sony will go far as a work-study supervisor, since she cares so much about her workers. She really loves what she does, and that makes all the difference.”

Valerie Webster ‘Changes Student Lives for the Better’

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles of 2015 Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Valerie Webster

More than three years ago, senior Savannah Fuller became a work-study student in the Community Service Resource Office as a Community Service Advocate.

In that time, Fuller said her work-study supervisor, Valerie Webster, co-curricular and community service coordinator, has pushed her to think outside of the box and find new ways to reach out to others.

“Upon accepting this job three years ago to help pay for college, I had no idea the true wealth I would gain from Valerie,” said Fuller. “We have established a strong working relationship, and she is a phenomenal work-study supervisor.”

Fuller said that Webster has instilled in her an intrinsic motivation to help others.

“Valerie has helped me grow into a better person, and I will never be able to thank her enough for that,” said Fuller, who is nominating Webster for a second time.  “I attribute the success of [the Community Service Resource Office] programming to Valerie’s unwavering commitment to her community and desire to do better for the people within it.”

In fact, as a result of “countless hours” of brainstorming sessions with Webster, Fuller said she has helped “improve our community projects to better benefit others.”

“Over the years, we have added new community service projects, made new and lasting contacts in the community, and have doubled—even tripled—participation and donations on campus for our projects,” said Fuller. “Valerie’s dedication to her employees and work-study programs is beyond admirable.”

In addition to supervising the Community Service Advocates, Webster oversees Big Brothers Big Sisters, the New Student Orientation mentors, and off-campus tutors.

“As a supervisor, Valerie provides each of us with appropriate guidance and leadership to help us grow and be successfully independent in our roles as work-study students,” said Fuller. “No matter what challenges life presents Valerie with, she has always given her work-study students 100 percent.”

After commencement, Fuller believes that the friendship she and Webster share, as well as the dedication to each of their communities, will last beyond her work-study position and long after her graduation from Keuka College.

Added Fuller: “The impact Valerie has had on my life, and the lives of countless other students, is invaluable and transcendent. Valerie has a way of changing student’s lives for the better.”

Lightner Library a Second Home Thanks to Carol Sackett

Carol Sackett

Junior Courtney Nojeim serves as a student worker at the circulation desk in the Lightner Library. And every day when she comes to work, Nojeim knows she can count on Carol Sackett, library circulation supervisor.

“Not only is Carol a fabulous supervisor in the library, but she is someone that we can all rely on if we need someone to talk to,” said Nojeim. “She is always smiling and welcoming when we arrive at work. She has such a positive attitude at work, that I never know if she is having a bad day.”

While Nojeim has worked at the circulation desk for two years, she finds comfort in knowing Sackett “is always there to assist me when I am confused about any kind of process at the circulation desk,” said Nojeim. “I know that if I have any kind of problem, I can count on her to be right on top of it and try her best to help me solve it. Carol is always willing to train and retrain us when we are in need of learning new processes or programs on the computer.”

One of those new processes was transitioning from a paper-based timesheet to a web-based system. The student employees in the library were among those to first test out the system, and Nojeim said Sackett worked “extremely hard to keep up with the transition from the paper timesheets.”

Nojeim said that because of Sackett, “the library feel like a second home for me because she is so kind and friendly. When I had my first interview with Carol, I knew that I was going to succeed having her as my supervisor.”

Adds Nojeim: “I can’t express how willing Sackett is to help us when we are in need of her assistance. Carol has an encouraging outlook on life and her job. She does everything that she can to make it easier for the students working in the library.”

Samantha Contreras ‘Privileged’ to Have the Chance to Work with Rachel Dewey

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of profiles of 2015 Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Rachel Dewey

Rachel Dewey, communications specialist, has made significant contributions to the Office of Marketing and Communications, according to freshman Samantha Contreras, assistant editor of the Keukonian student newspaper.

“By being a hardworking, motivational, and knowledgeable individual, she has been able to give me the opportunity to learn the ropes first hand,” said Contreras, an English major from Staten Island.

“As a freshman, I have had the privilege of working with Rachel in the course of my first and second semester,” added Contreras.

Dewey, who serves as co-advisor of the paper, has given Contreras “a chance to succeed by becoming a team leader, organizing meetings, and getting the chance to write my own stories for the Keukonian.”

Added Contreras: “Rachel is an excellent person to work with and for.”

Courtney Nojeim is Invaluable Addition to Lightner Library

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of profiles of 2015 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Courtney Nojeim

As a circulation desk assistant Courtney Nojeim, a junior childhood education major from Churchville, needs to be well versed in all aspects of Lightner Library’s operation.

According to Carol Sackett, circulation supervisor, Nojeim, who has worked in the library for two years, is not only well versed, but is quick to lend a hand when requested and astute enough to offer to explain things to students who are unfamiliar with the library.

“She is a trusted worker who knows how to use our computer system, and is adept at finding areas of materials for student research,” said Sackett. “She can easily show students how to look up information that is pertinent to their subject area. She makes herself available, does an excellent job helping behind the circulation desk, is confident in her work, and takes pleasure assisting any students when needed.”

For example, Sackett has watched her interact with the international students, “and she has a gentle but persuasive way about her, which makes them comfortable.”

“Courtney also works well with our DRIVE students, often showing them how to do things or where to locate materials,” said Sackett.

Nojeim often responds to requests for substitutes at a moment’s notice, and cheerfully follows through to completion all aspects of her job, added Sackett, who appreciates Nojeim’s knowledge of the inner workings of her position in the library.

This is especially helpful at the beginning of each semester, when Sackett admits she is overloaded. But she knows that she can count on Nojeim, particularly when it comes time to train new student workers.

“I always rely on Courtney’s strengths at the beginning of the new school year until things settle down for me,” said Sackett. “Courtney is a leader in assisting me in many areas and acts as my right hand worker. I can always count on her to fill in when there is a snag. She is very professional, both in appearance and her mannerisms. They reflect the embodiment of one who is cognizant of her demeanor.”

Sackett adds that Nojeim adapts to change easily.

“In our line of work, there is always something changing, or a new edition of something being used,” said Sackett. “Courtney is a leader in helping make the new process easier for all of the workers.”

Added Sackett: “You can always count on her to take charge and keep things running smoothly. She is a mentor to all of the workers and is a definite team player. She has proven herself to be an invaluable addition to my student workers, and I am completely satisfied that the library is in good hands during her work time.”