A young woman is receiving an award

(Above) Pearl Williams receives her Student Employee of the Year award from Jaime Conley, director of the Student Employment Office and the Career Development Center. (Below) Kim Baskin, Student Employee Supervisor of the Year, receives her award from Nicky Nevious, student employment supervisor. (Photos by Carson VanBuskirk)

April 25, 2024

SIU Student Employee of the Year and other outstanding student workers honored

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Pearl Williams of Chicago is the 2023-2024 Student Employee of the Year at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Williams is a senior fashion studies major and has worked at Rainbow’s End Child Development Center on campus since October 2021.

Karen Samuel, director of the center, nominated Williams for the award, praising her for her “can do attitude” and said Williams consistently exceeds expectations and has worked hard to learn all aspects of the child care operations and grown to be an integral part of its success. She said Williams is organized and efficient, assisting with state and federal reports, maintaining enrollment forms and welcome packets for new families, helping in every classroom and much more. She praised Williams as reliable, practical, friendly and confident and said she has excellent customer service skills.

She also noted that Williams has consistently been on the SIU dean’s list throughout her academic career, was on the 2023 homecoming court, serves a leadership role in Sigma Kappa sorority, volunteers with her sorority and in the community in various ways, including with the Gumdrops food program, in an area nursing home, with homeless and animal shelters, and more.

“We have had thousands of student workers over the years. and Pearl is one in a million,” Samuel said.

Additional outstanding student employees recognized included:

  • Kendell Adermann of Ramsey, Illinois – Community Service Award. Adermann, a senior criminology and criminal justice major, was nominated by Shawn Tuthill, a corporal in the SIU Department of Public Safety, who praised Adermann for his work as a Saluki patrol officer with DPS for the last several years “while serving in the military, maintaining exceptional grades as a full-time student and recently becoming a father to his first child.”
  • Anthony Stanczak-Rajcok of Cobden, Illinois – Critical Thinking Award. Ronnie Greiner, an information technology support associate, nominated Stanczak-Rajcok, a senior computer science major, calling him “one of our brightest and most thoughtful employees at the Solution Center.” “Anthony definitely stands out above the rest,” Greiner said. “He synthesizes problems quickly and asks detailed questions to try and get to the root of the situation.”
  • David Nelson of Dalton, Georgia – Leadership Award. Nelson, a senior aviation flight major, was nominated by Rhonda Ferguson, administrative aide in the School of Aviation. “David lives the values and ideals that SIU Aviation is known for industry wide,” Ferguson said. “His leadership approach to projects, hands-on experience, combined with his academic knowledge, help him to guide his fellow students to have a deep understanding of the aviation industry and its challenges.”
  • Gael Espriella of Chicago – Diversity and Inclusion Award. Espriella, a sophomore accounting major, has served as a campus visit representative for more than six months and is a Saluki ambassador. Since he is bilingual, he is able to serve as a translator for Spanish-speaking families during campus tours and admissions informational sessions, and he volunteers in community outreach efforts. “He is fully committed to the incorporation of diversity and inclusion everywhere,” Espriella’s nominator said.

The Student Employment Office also presented the Supervisor of the Year Award to Kim Baskin of Murphysboro, Illinois. Baskin, campus visit program supervisor for Undergraduate Admissions, received a remarkable 12 nominations. The student workers praise her for being understanding, patient, encouraging, a role model, patient and “the best boss ever.”

2024-04-10-studentemploymentawards-cv-5-sm.jpg“She goes above and beyond each and every day to bring a warm and welcoming presence to the admissions office,” said Alexis Hamon. “She truly acts as the office ‘mom’ and is always there to lend a hand or listen carefully if we have something to express.”

The nominators also say she is devoted to the university and those she works with and that she is persistent and expects excellence of herself and them.

“I have learned so many great lessons from Kim, both professional and personal,” said Malia Bierman. “In addition to teaching me how to manage both my personal life and work, she has instilled in me the ability to multitask, work under pressure, form personal connections with visiting families and excel as a supervisor in the future. Kim has made my college experience so much more rewarding and valuable.”

During the April 10 award presentations, winners received special Saluki dog trophies, which also commemorate the 2024 eclipse, designed and created by the SIU Craft Shop.