David Lefcourt sounded a little bit like an Oscar contender when he said he was honored to be among the 23 Homewood campus student workers nominated for the 2002 Student Employee of the Year award.
But after his name was called as one of this year's two first-place winners and the winner at the state level as well, there wasn't a trace of Hollywood insincerity in his acceptance speech:
"It's really easy to do good work when you work for and with good people," said the junior who develops Web sites while working in the MSEL administrative offices. "So I just want to say thanks. I couldn't have won this award without them."
The 10th annual ceremony, held on April 11, was part of National Student Employee Appreciation Week, which aims to enhance awareness of student employment and the important role it plays in higher education. On the Homewood campus, approximately 3,400 undergraduate and graduate students help keep university offices, programs and departments running smoothly.
Sharing the title of Student Employee of the Year is Steven McLean, a senior who has worked on the FUSE project with the Center for Astrophysical Sciences since the Monday after he graduated from high school.
"Steven is graduating and we don't want to let him out of the building," said Mary Romelfanger, a software systems specialist working on the FUSE project. "Working with him has been wonderful."
After a hug that caused a group "awwww!" from the crowd gathered in the Great Hall in Levering, McLean said he was at a loss for words.
"I love it there and it will be hard to leave," McLean said. "I just want to say thank you a lot."
In addition to the award ceremony, the weeklong celebration included daily prizes, contests and food. This year, 23 students and 12 departments were honored at the Employee of the Year ceremony. Top honors went to Lefcourt, a sociology major, and McLean, a computer engineering major. Both received $500 savings bonds. As the state winner, Lefcourt also received a plaque and a $50 savings bond and will advance to the regional level, and possibly the national competition.
Second place went to Angela Boyd, a junior majoring in political science, who works in the Career Center. Ryan Cairns, a senior majoring in public health, took third place for his work in the Office of Alumni Relations. And fourth place went to Sarah Gibson, a junior in the Writing Seminars, who works for the JHU Press. All runners-up received savings bonds.
Bruce Marsh, a professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, received the Employer of the Year award.
Group awards were given to Athletic Training/Sports Medicine, the Career Center, Cell Biology/School of Medicine, Community Relations and Volunteer Services, the Counseling Center, Entrepreneurship and Management, Mathematics, MSE Library Circulation/Reserves and the Preservation Department, the Office of the Registrar, the Security Department and the History of Art Department's Visual Resources Collection.
Judges were Suzy Bacon, coordinator of academic programs for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences; Laura Brooks, human resources manager at the Peabody Institute; Joseph Gitlin, associate professor in the School of Medicine's Department of Radiology; Peggy Hayeslip, university disability coordinator in the Office of the Provost; and M. Gordon Wolman, a professor in the Whiting School of Engineering's Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.
Megan Hipps, a sophomore who works in the Student Employment Office, delivered a welcoming address and was mistress of ceremonies. Other speakers included Jerome Schnydman, executive assistant to the president, who read a proclamation from President William R. Brody, and Robert Black, a graduate student in the Near Eastern Studies Department, who works at Hopkins ITS.
A year after being named as first runner-up, Black is still full of gratitude for his position, which allows him to indulge in his passion for filmmaking. He directed an eye-catching short film called Mission: JHU, a spoof of the Mission Impossible movies, to engage an auditorium full of freshmen last fall during an overview presentation of Hopkins' technical offerings.
"I feel a lot like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Black said after showing clips from his film. "I've decided that my somewhere over the rainbow is here, with the people who work around me. They are my Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion--the people who keep me going."