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 2021-22 Student Employee of the Year Nominees.

Congratulations to our Student Employee of the Year Kelly Trang!

About Kelly

Year: Undergraduate Student
Major: Management, Leeds School of Business

Kelly was nominated by Scott Josebeck in Career Services, where Kelly works as a Front Desk Student Assistant.

This is her last semester with us, and we wish to recognize the initiative she has taken in displaying leadership, professional growth, and an expanded role in our office.

Per her nominators, “Kelly communicates effectively. She helps our customers with email, over the phone, in person, and on our chat feature. We make frequent changes to our processes, and she relays relevant information to, not only our students and alumni, but to those who have been incorrectly referred to our office or who have no affiliation with CU Boulder and are therefore not eligible for our services. She has given us tips on how to communicate more effectively with students! For example, when students do not respond on chat, Kelly simply asks if the student has a bad connection.

Kelly is a team player! She has great working relationships with the rest of our staff and our customers alike. She treats everyone courteously and professionally and shows great cultural sensitivity. She exhibits patience with our clients, even our most demanding students and parents of students, when assisting them. She always is there to help out and stand in. Just the other day, staff from a different department asked if they could use our golf cart to move some boxes. I had to say 'no' because some training is involved before driving the cart. I explained that I could drive the boxes over myself if I did not have to staff the front desk. Kelly jumped in right away and said she could manage everything at the desk. That freed me up to take care of the staff members' needs.

Kelly has taken advantage of working in Career Services and has been able to find several desirable internships. I admire her assertiveness when it comes to finding the right internships.

Kelly is a problem-solver and offers creative ways of reaching our goals and assisting our clients. Over the years, Kelly has demonstrated leadership all on her own, without prompting from anyone, including her supervisor. She takes new student employees under her wing, and coaches and trains them, especially since our workplace has adopted a hybrid in-person and remote model. She often shares new information with other students before her supervisor or other staff members do. She maintains lists and documents with relevant information for the other students so they can carry out their responsibilities. She is an unofficial lead worker who deserves recognition for the initiative she has taken.

As a person, Kelly is not only one of the best student employees we have ever had; she is also just a lovely, wonderful, caring human being. She has a great sense of humor and always makes people smile. We often have anxious students waiting in our reception area before taking a test or interviewing with an employer. Once while Kelly and I were having a witty (at least on her part) and humorous conversation at the desk, I looked up to see our customers smiling at the exchange. She gave them something to laugh at and put them more at ease. Throughout the past two crazy years, I would quite often check in with my students when we were stuck at home, in isolation, to make sure they were coping well. Kelly took it a step further and made sure that I was doing alright too.”

Congratulations to our first runner-up Keara Howley!

About Keara

Year: Undergraduate Student
Major: History

Keara was nominated by Kimberly Foster and Stephen Geering in Housing, where Keara works as a Student Assistant.

 Keara has proven herself an asset to our team and does so with wonderful positivity.

Per her nominators, “Keara’s position is to support the front-line customer service for the Housing department that includes email, phone and in-person. Our office took over 17,000 phone calls last academic year. From June to September, our office was getting in excess of 200 calls per day and 200 emails per day. She began making decisions, triage and deescalating the abundant highly concerned families, and with professionalism, poise, and a care-centered approach. 

Additionally, no job or office task is beneath or above Keara and she is always happy to help out with whatever is needed. Keara has been essential to our daily operations leading her fellow student employees by example and helping to train some of our newer full-time staff. Keara even presented at Admissions events and tours.

Our team has been in a hybrid model over the last year, and the shifting of work from the office to home and back has not slowed Keara down at all.  Keara manages our call center from home, maintains electronic communication with our staff via teams, and gives public presentations on Zoom, all things that were learned in a matter of days. She offered to work additional hours, extended her time during breaks, and worked with everyone in the office to learn their specific areas so she is able to provide additional support. 

Keara has been an invaluable resource for us. In an office that manages so much data and information, Keara is able to provide simple and elegant solutions for keeping reports and databases organized and easy to navigate. Keara’s problem solving and quick thinking allows the rest of the office to work at peak efficiency. She has been eager to use these skills to transition to law school after graduating, and then onto a career in criminal justice. We are proud to know that the interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities that she has been honing while working with us will be used for a truly honorable purpose, helping those who need it the most.

Keara has proven herself an asset to our team and does so with wonderful positivity. She has taken on a high level of responsibility for the front desk operations within our office. She has demonstrated leadership in this role which has allowed our office to continue to effectively function at a high level throughout this time of change and short staffing.  Keara has learned our many and ever-changing processes quickly and is able to explain them to customers in way they can understand. Keara's positive attitude, support of customers, and initiative have made her invaluable in our office.

It is very difficult to articulate in so few words how we truly could not accomplish what we did without her. Keara is more than a student employee. The commitment she shows to our office, team, and the University of Colorado community as a whole is both praiseworthy and inspiring."