April 13, 2006

Nash named SIUC Student Employee of the Year

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Southern Illinois University Carbondale student who "should be the model by which all student workers are molded," is the 2006 Student Employee of the Year.

Jamie B. Nash, from Cobden, received the award today (April 13) during a brunch and ceremony at Lentz Hall. A sophomore majoring in history, she is the daughter of James E. and Deborah Nash.

Also recognized during the ceremony – held annually in conjunction with National Student Employment Week – were finalists Bradley J. Akers, a graduate student in administration of justice, and Paul N. Ensign, a senior majoring in electronic systems technologies.

The Student Employee of the Year honor includes a $300 scholarship and $75 from the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators. Akers and Ensign each received $150 scholarships.

With 6,000 student workers, SIUC runs one of the largest such programs in the country. The financial aid office sponsors the annual award, selecting winners based on reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and uniqueness of contribution. There were 17 nominations this year.

In addition to the SIUC honor, the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators named Nash, who works in the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, as Illinois' top student employee.

Vicki A. Nelson, administrative assistant to Vice Chancellor Larry H. Dietz, nominated Nash. According to Nelson, Nash joined the office staff in the fall of 2004, and this semester works about 10 hours per week. She works as a receptionist, but also processes and schedules judicial affairs hearings and follows up on them, and handles other tasks in the office.

"I believe that our nominee should be the model by which all student workers are molded," Nelson wrote. "You could also add to her list such qualities as honesty, character, creativity, love and dedication to SIUC, involvement in community, communication/teamwork and sensitivity to others. She is efficient, organized, diligent, conscientious to a fault and a pleasure to work with each and every day she is in our office."

In addition to maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, Nash balances a variety of other activities. She belongs to the Gamma Beta Phi honor society and the Saluki Volunteer Corps and assists with the Beautify Southern Illinois campaign. She also volunteers five hours per week for the Union County Sheriff's Department (her father is the sheriff) and works there part-time during the week. She answers 9-1-1 calls, handles dispatching duties and assists with filing.

Nash said that while in high school, she participated in as many activities as possible, including Beta Club, band and athletics.

"I had to learn to manage my time well, and any free time I had was spent doing homework," she said.

While honored by the recognition, she also noted that she doesn't work hard "in anticipation of receiving awards such as this." Nash said she learned from her parents and other mentors "that whatever you do, it is important to go with all your heart, work hard and put all your effort into it."

She also draws inspiration from a good friend, Cobden High School senior Sarah Russell, who continues to battle serious illnesses.

"She has helped me realize that we should treasure every moment of life that we have and try to live our lives to the fullest," Nash said.

Akers, the son of Jim and Deana Akers of Lawrenceville, is a lieutenant in the Department of Public Safety's student patrol division. DPS Director Todd D. Sigler and Cpl. Bennie Vick nominated Akers, citing his positive attitude, job performance and dedication.

Ensign, the son of Fredric N. Ensign of Shelbyville, and Kathryn R. Grossinger of Lockport, works in the athletics department as a game staff supervisor and a student janitor at the SIU Arena and Lingle Hall. As a game staff supervisor, he assists full-time athletics staff in supervising more than 50 student staff crucial to game and event management. Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk was among four people nominating Ensign, describing him as "a great representative of Saluki athletics and Southern Illinois University Carbondale."

Engaging the whole student is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: Student employees honored – Jamie Nash (center), Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Student Employee of the Year, is flanked by finalists Paul Ensign (left) and Bradley Akers. Nash, from Cobden, is a sophomore majoring in history. Ensign, a senior majoring in electronic systems technologies, is from Shelbyville, and Akers, a graduate student in administration of justice, is from Lawrenceville. They were honored during a ceremony held today (April 13) on campus.)