Student Employees of the Year

We appreciate all the hard work Illinois students contribute to our great university and award the very best for their efforts!

National Student Employment Week

Each year, the National Student Employment Association designates the second full week in April as National Student Employment Week. Colleges and universities nationwide use this week to acknowledge the importance of the student employment programs on their campuses, to recognize the accomplishments of their student employees, and most importantly, to say thank you to student employees and supervisors.

Over 10,000 undergraduate students on our campus participate in the student employment program each year. Student employees are an important human resource of the university, crucial for maintaining the day-to-day operations in our on-campus offices, departments and laboratories as well as performing community service work with our approved off-campus agencies. Their collective talents, creativity and dedication are immeasurable.

2020 Student Employee of the Year Award

Nominators wrote a letter describing the student’s responsibilities and why they believed their student should be considered for Student Employee of the Year. A selection committee reviewed the nominations and determined the winners. Nominations were evaluated using the following criteria:  Reliability, Quality of Work, Initiative, Professionalism, and Uniqueness of Contribution. The campus winner was submitted to the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators (MASEA) for consideration at the state, regional, and national level.

Selecting the winners is always a difficult task and this year was no different. While the nominees all work for a different employing unit across campus and perform a wide range of duties, the genuine appreciation for all of the nominees was evident in each nomination letter.

2020 Student Employee of the Year:

Faisal Masood, Bioengineering Instructional Labs
Nominated by Dr. Karin Jensen

2020 Student Employee of the Year Runner-Up:

Tajesvi Bhat, NCSA Genomics
Nominated by Dr. Liudmila Mainzer

2020 Student Employee of the Year Honorable Mentions:

Trennedy Kleczewski, Central Access Services
Nominated by Kristen Blankenship

Saheli Sheth, Illinois Leadership Center
Nominated by Clair Bryan

The Office of Student Financial Aid is awarding scholarship funds of $400 to the Winner, $300 to the Runner-Up, and $150 each to the Honorable Mentions. The Illini Union has also graciously contributed a diploma frame for our Winner, and a picture frame for our Runner Up. We would like to thank the Illini Union for their continued support of student employees on this campus.

2020 Student Employee of the Year Nominees

Hubiba Ali, Administrative Information Technology Services (AITS)
Nominated by Shawn Lee

Nikki Burdyn, University of Illinois Foundation-Principal Gifts
Nominated by Shari Fox

Ashley Hornig, Illinois Early Learning Project
Nominated by Dr. Emily Dorsey

Bryan Lin, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Nominated by Jason Choi & Mariana Seda

Mary Maravelas, College of ACES Human Resources
Nominated by Joe Bohn

Sara Mason, University Payroll & Benefits Administration
Nominated by Barbara Stovall

Maya McMurray, New Student Programs-Engineering
Nominated by Kortney Kay Jones

Sajini Samuel, Computer-Based Testing Facility (CBTF)
Nominated by Carleen Sacris

MaKayla Schrock, Industrial and Enterprise Systems
Nominated by Barbara Bohlen & Patti Arthur

Baylin Shade, Illini Union
Nominated by Kevin Boyd

Charmi Shah, Gies College of Business e-Learning Office
Nominated by R. Scott Wennerdahl & Angel Chatterton

Hannah Thompson, Bioengineering
Nominated by Dr. Marina Marjanovic

Madeline Vogt, Coordinated Science Lab
Nominated by Kathleen Atchley

We would like to extend a thank you to each nominee for your many and varied contributions; your work helps to make our campus a better place. We would also like to thank each of the supervisors for the leadership and mentoring role that you provide. Your time and efforts are truly appreciated as you assist students in becoming the best employees and people they can be.

2020 America Reads/America Counts Tutor of the Year Award

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is proud to have one of the largest America Reads/America Counts programs in the nation. The America Reads/America Counts Program is a Federal Work-Study funded tutoring program that matches approximately 200 undergraduate college student tutors with students in the Urbana and Champaign school districts who need help with reading and math.

2020 marks the 16th year we have had the honor of awarding a Tutor of the Year for both the Champaign and Urbana school districts.

A selection committee reviewed the nominations and determined the winner for each school district. We would like to thank all of the nominators for taking the time to write such thoughtful and detailed nomination letters. Without your continued support and willingness to work with our tutors, our program would not be possible.

We would also like to extend thanks to Yavonnda Smith, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Urbana School District #116 and Katina Wilcher, Director of Student, Family & Community Engagement for Champaign Unit 4 Schools for their continued involvement and support of the America Reads/America Counts program.

2020 Champaign Tutor of the Year:

Hailey Wilson, Barkstall Elementary
Nominated by Jacqueline Palmer

2020 Urbana Tutor of the Year:

Cassandra Favela, Urbana Early Childhood Center
Nominated by Heidi Keen

The Office of Student Financial Aid is awarding scholarship funds of $500 to the winner for each district.

2020 Tutor of the Year Nominees

Saadia Altaf, Dr. Howard Elementary
Nominated by Jennifer Aquino

Aarianna Becerril, Urbana Adult Education Center
Nominated by Felix Cardoso & Donna Clark

Aubrey Matlak, South Side Elementary
Nominated by Mindy Dyson & Tiffany Davis

Camila Spezzia, Urbana Early Childhood Center
Nominated by Heidi Keen

Kaitlyn Staisiunas, Robeson Elementary
Nominated by Jennifer Aquino

Melia Watson, Wiley Elementary
Nominated by Tanissa Tutwiler

To all of our tutors, thank you all for your commitment to the AR/AC program. You are making a lasting impact on the students you work with each time you show up to tutor. Please know that the work you are doing is very important in helping to build the skills of our future leaders.

Student employees play a key role in the University’s ability to provide educational, research, and operational excellence. Once again, congratulations to each of our nominees and winners!


Student Employee of the Year

Chloé Toussaint, Central Access Services

Student Employee of the Year, Runner Up

Benjamin David, Bioengineering Instructional Labs

Student Employee of the Year, Honorable Mention

Jaclyn Nickerson, NetMath

Student Employee of the Year, Honorable Mention

Prisca Kigalu Lumbu, Computer-Based Testing Facility

America Reads/America Counts Champaign Tutor of the Year

Ta’ah Tompkins, Stratton Elementary School

America Reads/America Counts Urbana Tutor of the Year

Dillon Brown, Urbana Middle School

For more history of previous winners, please see our Student Employment Recognition Event Winners page.

For more history of previous winners, please see our Student Employment Recognition Event Winners page.