Each year, more than 10,000 students take on a part-time job at BU—from tutoring and serving food to fixing printers and answering phones in the Dean of Student’s office. Last Thursday, four were singled out for their exceptional work at the annual Student Employee of the Year award ceremony, held at the Castle.
Lauren Delano (STH’16) was named Graduate Student Employee of the Year, and Brianna Chaves (CAS’16) Undergraduate Student Employee of the Year. Each received $300 and a plaque. Kristian Clausen (SPH’16) took home the Graduate Outstanding Service Award and Morgan Chalue (CFA’16) the Undergraduate Outstanding Service Award, which came with $100 and plaques.
Delano is the first face people see or the first voice they hear when they contact the School of Theology’s Alumni and Development office. The office assistant is involved with almost anything that comes up, from event planning to donor relations to sending out alumni birthday cards, and her coworkers have come to rely on her heavily during her year and a half working at the office. “I like the job because it gives me a way to be involved in the school outside of academics,” says the graduate student, who also works as a Protestant chaplain and Christian fellowship advisor at Bentley University.
In nominating Delano for the award, alumni relations officer Jaclyn Jones wrote that she was stressed about Delano’s graduation because of the immeasurable impact she has had on the office. “If everyone had a ‘Lauren,’ we would all get more of our work done and be at peace upon leaving the office, confident that everything is in its place,” Jones said. “Lauren is the best example of how the student employee program should work.”
Chaves (CAS’16) began working as an office assistant in the Financial Assistance office even before matriculating as a freshman. She took the job as part of her work-study award, and says she thought it would be a good way to get to know faculty and students before the year started. What she didn’t expect was to gain a mentor in her supervisor, Christina Coviello, the senior assistant director of Financial Assistance. “I’ve liked becoming friends with the other students I’ve worked with, and eventually being assigned tasks that were a little more difficult,” says Chaves, who works part-time on the weekends as an EMT and hopes to go to medical school.
In her recommendation letter, Coviello applauded Chaves’ keen eye for catching mistakes, a hazard of the data-heavy office, and recounted the time Chaves graciously dealt with an unhappy and unruly parent on the phone. “Brianna has been an important fixture in the office for the past four years,” she wrote. “She has always gone above and beyond the expectations of the typical student in our office. She is truly an asset.”
To nominate a student worker, BU supervisors must write a letter of recommendation that addresses the student’s greatest attributes, how they have exceeded their job description, and the impact they have had on their department and the larger BU community. The Student Employment office selects the top nominations and a five-person panel of judges from different BU departments chooses the winning Graduate and Undergraduate Student Employees of the Year, whose names are then submitted to the Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators to be considered for state, regional, and national awards.
Supervisors were also honored at Thursday’s ceremony. David Shawn (GRS’98), a College of Arts & Sciences senior lecturer in writing and CAS Center for Writing coordinator, was named Supervisor of the Year. Also honored was runner-up Anatoli Polkovnikov, a CAS professor of physics.
Shawn’s recommendation letter was filled with anecdotes from tutors he oversees. “David has allowed me to find a second home in the CAS Writing Center,” one wrote, while another applauded his “thoroughness and organization” in running the center, which schedules more than 2,000 appointments every semester. One student tutor had to take time off for personal reasons, and when she returned, Shawn welcomed her back without hesitation. “Working with David has been a wonderfully secure and confidence-building experience through and through,” she wrote.
“All of us do jobs that are important and sometimes we don’t know what is getting through to people that we work with, and if it matters,” Shawn says. “This award is a wonderful affirmation that what I do matters, and it is very gratifying.”
Want to learn how you can nominate a student or supervisor next year? Find more information here.