Published: April 23, 2024

Portrait of Ella Schigur in the Music LibraryThe University Libraries names Ella Schigur as its Outstanding Graduating Senior for her commitment to helping students use the Libraries and discover its information, resources and services.

Schigur will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Arts in Women and Gender Studies conferred by the College of Arts and Sciences

Schigur became a student employee in the Howard B. Waltz Music Library in January 2020 as a first-year student, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In early 2021, she moved to Norlin Library’s student security team where she helped students navigate a partially-closed library during the period of hybrid learning.    

“Her work was integral to continued library services during the pandemic and to the Music Library's reopening in Spring 2021,” said Katerina Allmendinger, Schigur’s former supervisor and former Music Library branch operations manager.

That spring, when Schigur returned to the Music Library from Norlin, she was Music’s most senior student employee. She took on responsibilities for the front desk, circulation and reserves and helped onboard a new generation of incoming library student employees.

“I like to think of myself as a source of stability after so many years here,” said Schigur.  “The Libraries have certainly been that for me.”

Along with working in the Music Library, where the main tasks included circulation checkout and reshelving, finding course reserves and assisting users, Schigur also worked in the William M. White Business Library at the main desk to connect Business students with the resources they need to be successful.

“Finding value in the day-to-day work is, for me, about finding meaning in small things,” said Schigur. “I take satisfaction in doing a good job at the Libraries, of course, but it’s also an expression of interpersonal connections: Like, ‘I’m going to shelve these things so my peers don’t have to.’”

“As Ella [Schigur] has transitioned into a senior employee, she has taken on a leadership role,” says Kathryn Edom, current Music Library branch operations manager. “She serves as a peer-mentor, reminds new students about library policies and procedures and prioritizes inclusive practices in her interactions with library faculty, staff and students.”

Schigur plays the French horn in the campus orchestra and marching band, serves in a leadership role in CU Boulder’s band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi and has earned her black belt in Taekwondo. Her goal after graduation is, first, to take some time for herself and then pursue graduate school in medicine with an emphasis in genetic counseling. 

Elle smiling and working on the computerThe University Libraries employs around 175 student workers who perform jobs that include security, human resources, staffing service desks, digital and archival work and shelving. Many, like Schigur, start working in the Libraries as first-year students and stay for the duration of their undergraduate education.

This is the second year that the University Libraries has named an outstanding graduating senior from its ranks of student workers. Selection criteria is based on dedication to the library's mission and values in supporting students and connecting them with information, resources and services.

“Our student workers are an integral part of our Libraries day-to-day operations,” said Robert H. McDonald, dean of the University Libraries and senior vice-provost of Online Education. “We are proud to be part of their student journey and hope that their tenure in the Libraries is as valuable to them as it is to us.”

Schigur will be presented by McDonald as the University Libraries’ Outstanding Graduating Senior at the CU Boulder Commencement ceremony on Folsom Field on May 9, 2024.