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College News

Student Employees of the Year Recognized


On Thursday, April 18, Dusty Baker, Kristen Growney, and John Russo received the Mary Ellen Milne Student Employee of the Year Award during a luncheon to recognize all of the nominated students.

The award is given to students who successfully complete assigned tasks, produce quality work, are dependable and knowledgeable of their jobs, work independently, and have exceptional communication skills.

Baker was nominated by Ben Hockenberry from Lavery Library. According to Hockenberry, one major part of Baker’s job at the library this year involved testing and implementing changes to a new journal linking system that the library installed last summer. Baker’s efforts led to a decrease in the number of problem links.

Hockenberry also credited Baker for his work digitizing materials for the Fisher Digital Publications repository and journal publication system, completing preparation and publication of a conference proceeding as well as digitized back issues of the College’s Undergraduate Review.

In his nomination letter, Hockenberry added, “Dusty is always on time and prepared for work. In addition, he is frequently in contact with the office via email or text—and will even perform tests remotely from his dorm room in the off-hours. For the most part, Dusty works in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ role, working with computer systems, but sometimes he is called upon to assist students in public areas of the library. He does so with a friendly, courteous, and, above all, helpful demeanor.”

Dr. Melissa Ghera, Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department, nominated Growney for the award.

Growney worked as a research assistant, and was applauded for completing all of the tasks she was given on time—from assisting with grading to getting materials from the library. Ghera also said she never missed a day of work, and praised her for always going above and beyond to make sure the department was supported. In her role, Growney initiated several projects, including the “Wall of Fame,” where students can provide comments about faculty in the department.

Ghera also said that Growney “understands that the role of the department research assistant is to assist faculty and keep the ‘daily grind’ of the department going. In the course of her work, if Kristen needs clarification, she does not hesitate to ask, but she is also very self-reliant in finding out answers by researching or examining past outcomes. She has become the cornerstone of the smooth operation of the department and is certainly the best assistant we have ever had. She has demonstrated academic and personal growth and is completely ready to move to the next phase of her life.”

Russo was nominated by Nathan Sunseri in OIT Media Services, who said he had a “better understanding of the operation of Media Services and OIT as a whole than some of the newer staff members.” He was also recognized for his strong work ethic and tremendous sense of responsibility for his job.

In his nomination letter, Sunseri said, “John is very polite in dealing with on-campus personnel, always speaking a language that non-technical customers can easily follow. Whenever he is sent to assist with a setup or troubleshoot an issue in a classroom, he has the experience to solve any technical issue, and he represents the department in a professional manner. He knows the department inside and out, and has taken on responsibilities normally reserved for full-time staff.”

Sunseri also highlighted Russo’s initiative and drive, noting that he even attended the bi-weekly team meetings previously reserved for full-time employees.

“John has set the bar very high for future student workers, and we will be holding them to a higher standard because of him,” concluded Sunseri.

During the luncheon, seven students received Honorable Mention:

- Sylvia Choi (Financial Aid) - nominated by Mary Spiggle

-Alissa Cornacchia (Wegmans School of Pharmacy) - nominated by Sherry Jimenez

-Erika Dangler (Campus Ministry) - nominated by Sally Vaughan

-Nicole Henry (Freshman Admissions) - nominated by Barb Driscoll

-Tina Snyder (Student Affairs & Diversity Initiatives) - nominated by Tom Rodgers

-Chelsea Spain (Campus Life) - nominated by Teah Terrance

-Alexis Zakala (Wegmans School of Nursing) - nominated by Carolyn Martin

The winners were chosen by a committee of faculty and staff.

Mary Ellen Milne began working in the Counseling Center at Fisher in 1980, and worked there until she passed away in 1997. With this award, Fisher honors her memory and recognizes students for their selflessness, devotion, and drive – characteristics that Milne herself displayed.

Two of the winners, Kristen Growney and John Russo.

Honorable mention recipients.

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