CU Boulder has several thousand student employees who perform countless services with enthusiasm, dedication, and initiative. The University community depends on their contributions for the efficient and effective operation of CU Boulder. Each year we recognize students who have demonstrated exemplary work, choosing one Student Employee of the Year. Join us in celebrating the rest of the 2022-23 Student Employee of the Year Nominees.
Congratulations to our Student Employee of the Year, Monserrat Estrada Martin!
Year: Undergraduate Student
Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Monserrat was nominated by Nicole Laverty from the Center of Inclusion and Social Change where Monserrat works as a member of the Peers Educating and Empowering Peers (PEEPs) team.
Monse intentionally creates brave spaces for participants to share differing and sometimes controversial opinions and encourages them to engage in respectful discussions about their differing perspectives.
Per their nominators, “There are many exceeded criteria that make Monse an excellent candidate for Student Employee of the Year, but to highlight the most important I would like to share about their achievements in their PEEPs position, their professional growth in inclusive excellence, and their personal development in understanding complex DEI issues.
As a PEEP, students must facilitate a minimum of two workshops per semester on topics such as social identities, implicit bias, microaggressions, anti-racism, sexism and more. In the fall semester, Monse facilitated five workshops, which was the most by any member of the PEEPs team.
Monse has served on our Administration & Scheduling subcommittee, taking the initiative to schedule requested workshops, facilitate intake meetings, running our staff meetings and ensuring all members of the PEEPs team are distributed workshops in an equitable way. Monse is an exemplary member of the team: well-loved and respected by their peers, colleagues, and community members.
Through facilitating our workshops, they have developed their professional skills in appreciating, seeking understanding, and engaging with perspectives different from their own. I have witnessed moments in workshops, such as Interrupting Racism, when Monse didn’t agree with someone’s opinion, but remained patient and respectful as they validated the person’s opinion by thanking them for sharing, without making them feel like their opinion was unwelcomed. Monse has a natural ability to make even the most reserved students feel empowered to engage in the conversation. Their self-awareness of their tone, presence and the inclusive environment they create is astounding for a student in their first role as a DEI facilitator.
Monse is clearly a lifelong learner. Monse is the first to acknowledge a gap in their understanding about a particular DEI issue and is always eager to ask me questions or do their own research about things they didn’t understand. One of their goals for the fall semester was to research one culture’s food each month and try a recipe they learned about. Other examples include completing the NASPA Certified Peer Educator course to learn more strategies for being an effective facilitator and appealing to different learning styles, as well as the Race, Power & Privilege E-Course they are taking this semester to learn more about these topics outside of the classroom."
Congratulations to our first runner-up, Xavier Cisneros!
Year: Undergraduate Student
Minor: Biomedical Engineering
Xavier was nominated by Regan Welsh from the Residence Life Department where Xavier works as an R.A.
Xavi has gone above and beyond to leave a lasting impact on his community by always welcoming students with open arms and making sure no resident feels left out of the fun, or alone during the hard times.
Per his nominators, “RAs have the often-challenging job of helping students navigate some of the most challenging moments of their college journey, all while creating moments of fun, connection, and memories to look back on with joy once students have left CU Boulder. Xavi is always around, smiling at residents (even if they do not know each other), asking folks how their day is going, and just radiating a positivity that boosts your mood. I often overhear students passing by the desk disappointed when Xavi isn’t around to give a smile or tell a joke.
Xavi also stands out for his unwavering commitment to inclusion and social justice at our institution. He has helped lead conversations during staff meetings around our ResX social justice responsibility pillar and has helped facilitate programs within our residential curriculum around identity. Xavi can balance leading a team, while also never overpowering a conversation and making sure everyone has space to be heard.
I asked Xavi’s fellow RAs if they had anything they wanted me to add in this nomination, and my email box was flooded. Helen, an RA peer, said, 'Xavi is one of the kindest and warmest souls I have gotten to know. He constantly supports our staff by being reliable and encouraging. Xavi is also a natural leader and is a person who carries himself with empathy and grace. Xavi's vibrant personality has the ability to transform any room he walks into and having him on our staff has been the most incredible and rewarding experience.'
In addition to being a selfless, organized, and thoughtful RA, Xavi is outstanding academically. He is currently pursuing a degree in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and several of his peers have told me he has gone out of the way to help them in classes. Xavi is a MASP (Miramontes Arts & Sciences Program) mentor, a position where he mentors traditionally underrepresented and/or first-generation college students. Xavi has used what he has learned being a MASP mentor to create an inclusive team."