Welcome to our honored student employees, their supervisors, nominators and the organizers of this important event.

This is one of my favorite events of the year because we honor the-best of-the -best of our student employees. Thank you for all your fine work and for all you have done for us.

I would also like to thank Natalie High, Susan Youtz and Brenda Duran from Student Employment for coordinating the nominations and getting the readers together.

Today we are recognizing your contributions as student employees to the university community and we are honoring your efforts.

This is National Student Employment Week. CU-Boulder has over 6,000 student employees who perform countless services with enthusiasm, dedication, and initiative.  That’s a fifth of the student body, and that’s just the students working on campus. Countless others work off campus. CU’s student employees can be found on the front lines, behind the scenes, and everywhere in between.

We depend on the contributions of this invaluable workforce for the efficient and effective operation of CU-Boulder.  We couldn’t do what we do without the help of student employees.

Each of you sought student employment for a variety of reasons ¾ the desire to defray the cost of your education and perhaps to better prepare yourself for the job market upon graduation.

While I hope that you have reaped some of these benefits, the university is the real winner in this equation; a sentiment I’m sure your supervisors share.

As a student employee, you have the challenge of balancing your work life with academics, and I know some of you try to have a social life, too.

Studies have shown that students who work between 10 and 20 hours per week actually perform better academically than others.

On-campus employment tends to contribute more to academic success than off-campus employment because supervisors are likely to be more sensitive to the academic demands with which you are faced.

I want to acknowledge the supervisors for integrating our students into their operations and for their flexibility.  Let’s give them a round of applause.

We invited supervisors to nominate student employees who have demonstrated exemplary work within their departments.  We received an impressive 32 nominations!  A committee of three then rated the nominations based on six factors: reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism, community and campus service and uniqueness of contribution.

You all are winners in each of these categories.


  • Angela Born
  • Li Dang
  • Ligia Duarte Botelho
  • Courtney Hall
  • Patrick Harbert
  • Alex Howard
  • Kathryn Jensen
  • Chelsea Jewell
  • Jim Kadlecek
  • Patrick Kenney
  • Emmy Koons
  • Francesca Loomis
  • David Mast
  • Alexa Mersman
  • Christopher Miera
  • Jeffri Mulder
  • Victoria Nagel
  • David Page
  • Rachel Pagliarini
  • Jacqueline Painter
  • Kathy Parker
  • Krissy Peterson
  • Daniel Pham
  • Rebecca Powell
  • Kaitlin Richeson
  • Kevin Sherman
  • Haleluya Simegn
  • Anuja Tulpule
  • Abby Vervalin
  • Jody Whitesell

 Let’s give them a round of applause.

Brittney Manzagol

Now I am pleased to recognize the student selected as the second place recipient, Brittney Manzagol.  Brittney receives a $50 gift certificate to the CU Bookstore provided by the CU Student Employment office.

Brittney was nominated by Penny Bates, program assistant in Environmental Studies, in recognition of the exceptional job she does as a Student Assistant III where she has worked for 2 1/2 years.

Brittney is an Environmental Studies major, who was also nominated last year. Her professionalism, initiative and responsibility would be outstanding for a regular full-time employee. She has assumed new duties enthusiastically and is a welcoming face for students seeking advising help, especially those who may be anxious about their schedules.

She is entirely responsible for the ENVS social media presence. She also meets prospective students and their families to discuss the environmental studies major, holds office hours to explain major requirements to current students, and trains new student workers.

Brittney works closely with Sarah Rogers, Environmental Studies curriculum coordinator, and is sophisticated about curriculum development.

The Environmental Studies curriculum is constantly evolving and Brittney understands all three versions that apply to current students. She understands the nuances of each curriculum and helps guide academic advisors, staff and faculty about the student viewpoint.

Last summer she represented CU at the Colorado Capital Conference in Washington, D.C., as one of 100 Colorado representatives who discussed policy issues with senators and other government officials.

 She is a member of the ESPN X Games environmental staff, teaching about recycling and composting.

She is a member of the President’s Leadership Class and applies her new skills at work and in her classes.

We will lose a great deal when Brittney graduates in December but we know she will be an outstanding ambassador for CU and the environmental studies program wherever she goes.

Thank you Brittney for all you have done and congratulations.

Employee of the Year Ryan Wakat

Now it is my distinct pleasure to honor this year’s CU Student Employee of the Year, Ryan Wakat.

Ryan’s award is a $75 gift certificate to the CU Bookstore courtesy of the bookstore.  Ryanwas nominated by Lynn Lickteig, director of Visual Resources for the program in Environmental Design.

Ryan works as a photographer and media assistant in the Visual Resource Center in the Environmental Design program. Students are dependent on the media center to document coursework and create graduate student portfolios.

Lynn calls him a poster child for reliability and very conscientious, often staying late to help others with their work.

When third-year architecture students were tasked with designing new cabins for the Mountain Research Station, it was Ryan’s photos of the project that helped win it approval at all levels of the university including the Design Review Board.  His photos were also published in an official history of the Mountain Research Station.

Ryan’s photos of the Bear Creek Apartments, where he also worked as a student photographer, are used in their brochures and on their web site.

Ryan took the initiative to inventory an Environmental Design program website called the Electronic Library of Colorado Architecture, Landscape and Planning  that showcases photographs and documentary papers by ENVD students of Colorado buildings and sites. Thanks to his six-month effort, a two-year backlog of more than 40 student papers and hundreds of images are now archived.

Ryan has also proven to be quite a recruiter. When prospective students and their families tour the ENVD building, he is quick to offer personal testimony of the program from a student perspective. 

When it comes to campus and community service, Ryan is also a member of the Designer’s Without Boundaries program in ENVD -- which is part of the Diverse Scholar’s Program on campus.

Through the DWB, last fall he worked on the weekend to revitalize a low-income housing project in Boulder by a painting fences, trimming trees, and re-striping the parking lot area. Before he transferred to CU, Ryan helped build 11 new homes for Habitat for Humanity in Chicago. In addition, he has participated in the 100-mile Buffalo Bicycle Classic which raises money for arts and sciences scholarships.

Just keeping up with all of Ryan’s initiatives and activities on behalf of the university makes me tired. Congratulations Ryan on your selection, and thank you for your many efforts for the university.

I have no doubt that all of these top-performing student-employees have bright futures ahead of them. I hope your campus jobs are good experience for your future endeavors.

These students represent the best-of-the best of our 6,000 student employees who work their way through college while contributing to the mission of the university in outstanding ways.

Thank you all for coming today. Let’s give all these students a final round of applause.