National Student Employment Week Highlights Impact of Student Workforce

The Student Employment team within EMM’s Career Center held its annual celebration of student employees during National Student Employment Week April 13-17, hosting activities and professional development workshops that highlight the importance of student employment at DePaul.  The week-long celebration culminated with the announcement of student and supervisor of the year awards.
 
2015 Student Employee of the Year
Student employees make meaningful contributions to the university each day. This competitive award recognizes the most outstanding student employees, ranking their efforts across multiple categories, including: reliability, quality of work, and contribution to department, campus, and/or community.

Student Employee of the Year (middle): Katie Cunningham. Supervisor nominators (left to right): Lauri Dietz, Liz Coughlin, Katie Brown and Matthew Pearson.
The 2015 honoree is Katie Cunningham, a three-year student employee at the University Center for Writing-based Learning. Katie was nominated for her contributions to the center as a peer writing tutor, mentor and leader. In her nomination letter, staff praised Katie for her work “to support writers and her colleagues on an individual level and on a programmatic level by helping to shape department policies and best practices, by proactively seeking out and then acting on feedback, and, perhaps most strikingly, by creating and contributing to valuable community-building activities.” 

Supervisors Enrich the Student Employment Experience
Even the most talented student employees require the involvement of staff supervisors and other university professionals to add value to their work experience at DePaul. Staff mentorship prepares students for internship opportunities in the short term, and can instill positive working habits and knowledge needed for long-term career success. Supervisors are encouraged to incorporate learning outcomes and professional development as part of student employees’ day-to-day activities.

In recognition of the contribution supervisors make in their development, student employees nominate outstanding staff supervisors for the Supervisor of the Year award. The 2015 recipient is Andrea Tichy, manager of Public Relations and Special Events for the Theatre School. In her nomination letter, student employee Sarah McElroy writes, “Andrea has continuously supported and encouraged my professional development. …She has positioned herself as a mentor and resource for any of our [student employees] concerns, whether they be about our personal lives, professionalism, or our community.” 

Wide-Reaching Impact of Student Employment
Both awards demonstrate the mutually beneficial relationship between university employers and students. Students learn valuable lessons that help them connect concepts from the classroom to the realities of the workplace. This experience not only helps them prepare for future careers, but enhances their DePaul experience and builds affinity for the university. 

Erik Friedman, director for the Office of Student Employment, notes that, “There is a correlation between student employment and retention. Students who work on campus are better engaged and have a connection to faculty and staff at the university,” a connection that can lead to greater academic and personal support for students.  

On-campus employers gain access to a dedicated talent pool and receive ongoing support from Student Employment staff. Students fill a wide range of on-campus positions, comprising a sizable population within the university’s workforce and making important contributions to university operations. During the 2013-14 academic year (the last year data are available), more than 4,000 students were employed on campus, representing 350 different business units across the university.

For more information about student employment at DePaul, visit studentemployment.depaul.edu or contact Erik Friedman, director for the Office of Student Employment.