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Top Student, Boss Honored

Eight students were nominated for Keuka College's 2015 Student Employee of the Year, including from left: Brittany Kuhn, Tyler Redington, Savannah Fuller, Zach Ward, Sini Ngobese, Connor Delavak, and Courtney Nojeim. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

A “pillar in the athletics department” and a “friend who changes student lives for the better” were the respective recipients of the 2015 Student Employee and Work-Study Supervisor of the Year awards at the Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 15.

Senior psychology major Connor Delavak and Co-Curricular Transcript Coordinator and Community Service Coordinator Valerie Webster were selected by two separate panels of judges.

Delavak, nominated for the award by Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics and head athletic trainer, has worked as a student athletic trainer for four years, and the longer Bray has been at Keuka College, the more increasingly selective he has become of those he chooses to hire as his work-study students.

Connor Delavak and Jeff Bray. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

In 23 years of supervising student employees, Bray says senior Delavak ranks in his top five, touting his demeanor and sincerity for setting him apart. In fact, Bray says Delavak has become a pillar within the athletics department.

“He has a tremendous grasp on what is expected of him and the role he plays within our department,” said Bray, adding Delavak is part of the fabric of the athletic training staff and the athletic department. “It has gotten to the point that when we are scheduled to depart for a weekend road trip, I simply ask him if we are ‘all set’ and he replies with a very confident ‘yes sir.’ He truly cares about the job that he does and it shows every time he works.”

And Bray does not hesitate to say that Delavak is a “tremendous asset” to the athletics department.

“I believe there is added responsibility that comes with that,” said Bray. “Connor has always represented himself, our department, and Keuka College in a positive and professional manner. In fact, there are times that our coaches forget that he is a student and not a full time staff member.”

Added Bray: “I think we often take for granted the importance and the impact our student employees have on our campus. With Connor, he is a respected member of my staff. I feel fortunate to have played a small role in his collegiate experience.” 

The other student nominees were Tyler Redington, Brittany Kuhn, Ethan Eschler, Savannah Fuller, Courtney Nojeim, Sini Ngobese, and Zach Ward.

“All of our student employees are winners, but the eight nominees are the cream of the crop,” said Sally Daggett, human resources manager. “I thank all of the nominators who took time to nominate your student employee. It sends a powerful message to those students, as it tells of the importance of them in your lives.” 

Savannah Fuller and Valerie Webster (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

Webster was one of five work-study supervisors nominated for the award. She was nominated by occupational science major Savannah Fuller.

In the three years senior Fuller has worked in the Community Service Resource Office as a Community Service Advocate, she said Webster 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. “Over this time we have established a strong working relationship, and she is a phenomenal work-study supervisor.”

That’s because Webster “provides each of us with appropriate guidance and leadership to help us grow and be successfully independent in our roles as a work-study students,” said Fuller. “No matter what challenges life presents Valerie with, she 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. It has been an honor to work with her.”

The other supervisor nominees were John Boccacino (sports information director), Rachel Dewey (communications specialist), Carol Sackett (library circulation supervisor), and Xong Sony Yang (international student advisor).

From left: Rachel Dewey, Sony Yang, John Boccacino, Valerie Webster, and Carol Sackett. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

“It is an honor for me to talk to you at this luncheon, as it is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Jim Blackburn, vice president of student development. “The work student employees perform is immeasurable. Keuka College employees 511 students in 814 jobs. That is the equivalent of 150,000 hours of work per year—enough for 134 additional full-time positions. So, Keuka College students do a massive amount of work.”

Each of the nominees was recognized at the luncheon by his or her nominator and presented with a gift. The names of the student and supervisor award recipients will be added to two separate plaques housed in the Center for Experiential Learning. The Student Employee of the Year plaque is hung up in the winner’s work-study location until the following year’s awards luncheon.

More photos from the 2015 Student Employee of the Year Luncheon can be found here.

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.”

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.”

Highly Motivated, Dedicated, Professional

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles of 2014 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 17.

Lightner Library Circulation Supervisor Carol Sackett says it didn’t take junior Kelsey Morgan long to become well acclimated to the library.

In fact, she said the biology major from Lakeview has made it a point to learn as much as she can about the library. And that sets her apart from the regular worker, according to Sackett, who nominated Morgan for the Student Employee of the Year award.

“Kelsey is a valuable asset to the library,” said Sackett. “She volunteers to do extra work and has spent untold hours training new student workers, both during the week and on weekends. She offers her services in any area where there is a need, is highly motivated, and possesses superior leadership skills.”

According to Sackett, Morgan has repeatedly demonstrated her willingness to make the extra effort to complete specific tasks.

“As she has become more familiar with more aspects of library work, Kelsey continually increased her responsibilities, and carries out all of her duties without any supervision,” said Morgan. “She is an intelligent, dedicated library worker who deserves this honor.”

“Her determination and helpfulness at the circulation desk, assistance in shelving and shelf reading, and just generally assisting patrons has proven invaluable to us,” said Sackett. “A driving force for good customer services for all of our patrons, Kelsey’s demeanor is outstanding. We have many local townspeople, as well as the D.R.I.V.E. program students, who use our library, and she is patient and helpful to them.”

An outstanding work ethic, Morgan takes a great deal of pride in her work and it shows in all that she does for the library, said Sackett.

“She often substitutes for others in need, and strives to provide the best possible service to all of our patrons,” Sackett added. “She is never idle, asks for additional tasks to complete, and steps up to assist both co-workers and patrons. Her outgoing personality is a great asset. She is comfortable working with our entire staff.

“She is to be commended,” said Sackett. “Not only is she an outstanding scholar in her chosen field, she is also a most knowledgeable student worker. It has been a true pleasure to have her working here.”

Laughter at Lunch

Dr. Catherine “Dr. Kate” Ansuini speaks at the administrative professionals luncheon April 2.

The healing power of laughter was the theme of the third annual administrative professionals luncheon held at Keuka College Tuesday, April 2.

While Administrative Professionals Week isn’t until April 21-27, Keuka held its luncheon during the College’s spring break to accommodate a larger attendance.

The featured speaker was Dr. Catherine “Dr. Kate” Ansuini, chair of the Department of Health and Wellness at Buffalo State College. She spoke on “You’ve Gotta be Kidding Me! The Healing Power of Humor” to some 45 office support staff members.

“We have been trying to have Dr. Kate as the speaker for all three years we’ve had a luncheon,” said Diana Rockwell, administrative assistant for IT Services. “I took a seminar from her in the mid-1990s and always wanted to hear her speak again.”

According to Sue DeLyser, human resource manager, Ansuini is a nationally recognized keynote speaker and inspirational health and wellness professional.

Dr. Ansuini (l) and Sue DeLyser, human resource manager.

“She is best recognized for her energetic and humorous delivery of accurate health and wellness information that is described to be both inspirational and motivational,” said DeLyser. “She is active within her field as an author, nationally recognized keynote speaker, grant writer and leader in her community.”

In keeping with the theme of the lunch, four models participated in a short skit based on the TV show “What Not to Wear.” DeLyser; Carol Sackett, library circulation supervisor; Sandy Miller, instructional resource coordinator in the Center for Professional Studies; and Lynne Heath, executive secretary for the Center for Professional Studies, modeled clothing that  was wrinkled, mismatched, not appropriate for work, and stained. A final outfit displayed professionalism.

Carol Sackett (l), library circulation supervisor, and DeLyser model outfits as they show the crowd what not to wear.

“We decided to have a skit for a little fun, and since it was during break and we could take a little more time [at the luncheon], said Paulette Willemsen, secretary for the Division of Education and Division of Social Work.

DeLyser said the College has celebrated Administrative Professionals Week as a way to say ‘thank you’ to the office support staff that assists administrators and faculty on campus. This year’s luncheon was sponsored by the Staff Advisory Council and Office of Human Resources.