Student Employee of the Year
Dickinson celebrated the students who work at the college—and the supervisors who mentor them—at the 2011 Student Employee and Supervisor of the Year award ceremony. The April 12 event paid tribute to important professional contributions that, like student-faculty research experiences, help position students for post-graduation success.
Eleven students and eight supervisors were nominated for their work during the 2010-11 academic year. Julie Vastine ’03, director of the Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring (ALLARM), was named Supervisor of the Year and Thanh To ’11, a student employee in the advancement office, was named Student Employee of the Year. Both also were selected as northeast-region winners for the Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators.
Vastine was recognized for her work as supervisor of more than a dozen students. “It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of my job,” she said. [Story continues below.]
It's familiar territory for Vastine, who had served as a student employee for ALLARM while earning an environmental-science degree at Dickinson. Because of this, she said, she can appreciate the significant contributions that students can make—and the life-changing personal growth they can experience on the job.
“While the student employees learn new skills, they also make a tangible difference in their own backyard,” explained Vastine, who had returned to her alma mater as an administrator in 2007. “I’ve tried to structure the working environment so that all of the students can see the value of what they’re doing every day.”
Student employees Taylor Wilmot ’13 and Giovania Tiarachristie ’13, who nominated Vastine for the award, appreciate that effort. “Julie shows passion for what ALLARM does, and that passion is infectious,” the students wrote to the award committee. “Even though she has many demanding and time-consuming responsibilities on her plate, she always makes ample time for the student employees.”
Wilmot and Tiarachristie explained that Vastine taught them how to foster positive working relationships and has helped them grow professionally. “By giving her employees significant projects and excellent feedback and support [and by] including employees in decision-making, Julie makes them feel like significant contributors,” they wrote. “It makes the work more meaningful. As a result, employees want to work harder.”
To was recognized for her conscientiousness, thoroughness and resourcefulness as a student employee in the advancement office, where she uses predictive models to analyze data. “As a result of her work, the advancement office has changed the way we do business in several significant ways,” said To’s supervisor, Michael Pasqua, director of advancement services, who nominated her for the award.
An economics and mathematics double-major, To noted that she had received tremendous support on the job from Pasqua, and from Associate Professor of Mathematics Richard Forrester, Associate Professor of International Business & Management Steve Erfle and Michael Johnson, director of institutional research.
“I have learned quite a lot, ranging from the science of predictive modeling, econometrics and statistics to the art of fundraising, and the thing that I love about my internship is that I can apply what I’ve been learning,” she said, adding that she currently is teaching herself a programming language as part of the job.
During the awards ceremony, Jennifer Halpin, director of the Dickinson College Organic Farm, and Matthew Steiman, assistant farm manager, were named honorable-mention supervisors. Class of 2011 members Sara Boyer, Catherine David and Amanda Stevens each received honorable mentions in the Dickinson student-employee award. Student nominees Esmeralda Alvarez ’13, Florencia Cabral ’13, Alyssa Compeau ’11, Caroline Fortin ’11, Kathryn McNamara ’11, Jessica Sears ’11 and Steven Seland ’11 also were recognized for their exemplary work.
“All of the other nominees are talented and highly qualified, so I feel lucky to have been chosen,” said To.
By MaryAlice Bitts Jackson
Photos by Carl Socolow '77