The Johns Hopkins Gazette: April 14, 2003
April 14, 2003
VOL. 32, NO. 30


Working Wonders: Homewood Honors Student Employees

In a first, the Employee and Employer of the Year hail from the same office

By Amy Cowles

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

When Ruthie Aslan began a one-semester trial run as a student videographer and editor in the Homewood Office of News and Information, she had relatively little experience producing films.

When Glenn Small hired Aslan for the job in fall 2000, he had relatively little experience supervising student workers.

After three years of on-the-job learning, the pair have been voted the Student Employee and Student Employer of the Year -- the first time the annual awards have been given to a supervisor and student who work together in the same office, a concurrence of particular note because they were selected by two separate sets of judges. Aslan was also the first-place winner on the state level and will advance to the regional competition, which leads to the national level. This year is the second year in a row that a Johns Hopkins Student Employee of the Year has also won the Maryland contest.

A big day for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs: Dennis O'Shea, executive director; filmmaker Ruthie Aslan, Student Employee of the Year; Glenn Small, assistant director of News and Information and Employer of the Year; and intern Jessica Valdez, Small's nominator.

Aslan and Small were honored at a ceremony on April 7 in Levering's Great Hall as 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 3,950 undergraduate and graduate students help keep university offices, programs and departments running smoothly.

"Ruthie is absolutely fabulous to work with," said Small, assistant director of News and Information and Aslan's nominator for student of the year. Small supervised Aslan's production of several eye-catching video news releases featuring faculty and students. Her resume includes a feature about two Engineering students putting their newly designed whitewater rafting helmet through its paces and an interview about the origins of witchcraft with Walter Stephens, a professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Both videos are available for online viewing at:

"As an example of excellence, she is someone we point to as the standard to strive for, which in and of itself speaks volumes," Small said.

Small was nominated for Employer of the Year by writing intern Jessica Valdez, also a student worker in the Office of News and Information. "Glenn makes my job fun to do," Valdez said at the ceremony. "He concentrates on helping us learn new skills and always offers positive feedback, and I really need that as a budding journalist."

Echoing her sentiment, Aslan said, "Glenn Small didn't get the Employer of the Year award for nothing. He made my job easy and fun to do, and if it wasn't for him, my job wouldn't even be there. So I'm very happy right now."

Aslan and Small were among the 31 students and 24 employers nominated for this year's awards. In addition to the individual honors, nine departments were honored at the Employee of the Year ceremony. Aslan, a senior majoring in film and media studies, received a $500 savings bond. As the state winner, she also received a plaque and a $50 savings bond.

Second place went to David Man, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering who works in the Office of Student Employment Services. Robert Oldt, a junior majoring in biophysics, took third place for his work in the Department of Athletics and Recreation. And fourth place went to Arun Nagarajan, a senior majoring in computer science, who works in the Center for Educational Resources. Each runner-up received a savings bond and commemorative T-shirt.

In the Employer of the Year category, Kelly Lyons of the Research Accounting Department earned second place. Third place went to last year's winner, Bruce Marsh of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. The Career Center's Tracy Carter took fourth place.

Group awards were given to the Career Center, the Center for Social Concern and Volunteer Services, Film and Media Studies, Mathematics, Office of Annual Giving, Security, Student Employment Services, the History of Art Department's Visual Resources Collection and the Office of the Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering.

Judges for the student awards were William Conley, dean of enrollment services; Cynthia Holstein, administrative manager in the Biology Department; and 2002 Student Employee of the Year David Lefcourt, a senior majoring in sociology, who spoke at the ceremony about his positive work experiences at the Center for Educational Resources at the MSE Library. Judges for the employer awards were students Elizabeth Martin, Katie Francis, Megan Hipps, Joe Nuni, Shenita Spencer and Anand Narayan.

Other speakers were Jerome Schnydman, executive assistant to the president, who read an official proclamation from President William R. Brody, and Susan Boswell, dean of students. Megan Hipps, a junior who works in the Office of Student Employment, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which packed the Great Hall with students, faculty and staff who work together each day to keep the university going.

"It's hard to think of an office that doesn't rely on student employees," said Boswell, commending D. Lynn O'Neil, director of the Office of Student Employment Services, and her staff for celebrating the importance of the students' work.

This was the 10th annual award ceremony for Student Employee of the Year. The first took place in a Levering conference room with just the student, his supervisor, several co-workers, the deans and members of the Office of Student Employment Services, which administers the program. The Employer of the Year award began in 1999.