With just two full-time employees, Homewood's Office
of Student Technology Services makes the most of its
student workers. Likewise, the student workers say they've
come to rely on their director, Deborah Savage, for her
knowledge, interpersonal skills and sense of humor.
They are qualities that led five student workers to
nominate Savage for Student Employer of the Year. The
judges concurred and gave her the title 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.
Savage appeared blown away by the honor.
"I'm so surprised," Savage said after the ceremony.
"I've been doing what I do for almost 11 years, and these
kids are so amazing. We depend on them to do a lot of
"Debbie has been a great role model to us," wrote
student consultant Sarah Sundelacruz, a senior majoring in
biomedical engineering, in her nomination of Savage. "She
really cares about what our department does, and this
motivates us to do our jobs well. ... She makes us feel
that we are valued not only for the work that we do but
also for the people that we are."
This year's Student Employee of the Year, Oliver
Buccicone, is also known for his people skills. A
jack-of-all-trades in Homewood's Ralph S. O'Connor
Recreation Center, he's a building manager, fitness and
weight room supervisor, maintenance technician and
emergency supervisor. Much of his time is spent overseeing
the work of his fellow student workers, a role he says he
finds more comfortable now that he is a senior.
"I'm a stickler for details," Buccicone said. "I see
what I do as just doing my job."
Student Employee of the Year: Oliver
Buccicone with Recreation's Paul Jacobus
Buccicone, an electrical engineering major, approached
Paul Jacobus, assistant director of the Office of
Recreation for facilities, about a job right after the
recreation center opened two years ago.
"He told me that he liked to fix stuff and that he was
an extremely hard worker and one of the things he hated
most was when employees slack off when there is work to be
done," Jacobus said. He hired Buccicone to be a monitor in
the fitness and weight room. Soon people were raving about
Buccicone to Jacobus, who then created a supervisory role
for his star student.
Buccicone's responsibilities grew to the point where
"he is me when I'm not around," said Jacobus, who took
second place in the employer category. "This winter, Oliver
came in to work four times at 5:30 a.m. to open up the
building, find staff to work and shovel or clear walkways
for easy safe passage. The one day the university
completely closed for snow, Oliver worked until midnight,
at the security desk, in the equipment room, weight room
and fitness center. He worked wherever and in whatever
capacity that was needed."
It seems Buccicone's work ethic is contagious: As a
team, the Office of Recreation received one of the group
recognition awards. Group awards were also given to the
Counseling Center; Milton S. Eisenhower Library; Office of
Annual Giving; the Registrar's Office; and Security,
Parking and Transportation.
Thirty-six students and 43 employers were nominated
for this year's individual awards. In addition, seven
departments were honored at the ceremony. Buccicone
received a $500 savings bond. He also received a citation
from Gov. Robert Ehrlich and will compete for the Student
Employee of the Year award on the state level.
Second place in the student category went to Susanna
Blume, a junior majoring in international relations, who
works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Lillian
Patience Boudreaux, a senior majoring in psychology, took
third place for her work in the Dean's Office at the
Whiting School. And fourth place went to Amanda Johnson, a
senior majoring in classics, who is an office assistant in
the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Each runner-up
received a savings bond and commemorative T-shirt.
In the Employer of the Year category, third place went
to university chaplain Sharon Kugler of Campus Ministries.
James Garmon, senior instrument designer in the Department
of Psychological and Brain Sciences, took fourth place.
Judges for the student awards were Kugler, Kathi
Strasser of University Administration, C. Anne Pliska of
the Office of Business Management, and Ravi Stewart, a
junior majoring in international studies. Judges for the
employer awards were undergraduates Stewart, Maria Malbroux
and Kemi Tomobi; and Ishwaria Mohan, a graduate student.