VSU Honors Student Employees

April 25, 2011

VSU Honors Student Employees

Valdosta -- Valdosta State University’s Office of Student Employment and the Graduate School handed out the highest student employee honors during the 2010-2011 Student Employee of the Year award ceremony on April 14.

Leah McCarty, a student assistant in the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice Department was named Student Employee of the Year.

McCarty is a senior computer information system major from Alma, Ga., who has worked in the Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Department for two years.

“Every day is something new and interesting,” McCarty said. “Everyone does their part to contribute to the personality of the office. There is a nice mix of different personalities that makes the office run smooth and efficient.”

Melissa Leahigh, senior secretary for the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice Department, nominated McCarty for her exceptional time management skills, customer service, and cooperation.

“She is always willing to help me, the department head, other student workers in our office including graduate assistants, faculty members, visitors, students and anyone who ask with any task she can,” said Leahigh. “She is always one of the first to volunteer to start any new project I come up with to make the department more efficient.”

The Federal Work-Study Award was presented to Jacqueline J. Ruffin, a senior psychology and criminal justice major from Columbus, Ga., who has worked in the Office of Testing for the past three years.

“The interaction with students and prospective students that I get to encounter while working there is wonderful because I am able to let prospective students know how Valdosta State University is a good choice as a school and all the opportunities that Valdosta offers its students,” Ruffin said.

Rebecca Taylor, director of the Office of Testing, nominated Ruffin for her leadership and professionalism.

“Jackie is a leader who is self-motivated, positive, and innovative,” said Taylor. “She is a very well rounded mature individual who is willing to take on new challenges, even in the midst of unfamiliar surroundings.”

After graduation Ruffin plans to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis on psychology and law.

Emily Crews received the Outstanding Graduate Assistant of the Year. Crews, who has worked as a graduate assistant in the History Department for two years, is responsible for a variety of research activities including assisting faculty members with publication projects.

Dr. Mary Block, associate professor of history and coordinator of graduate studies, noted in her nomination of Crews that she had “distinguished herself as a first-rate research assistant for several professors and thanks to her diligence and creativity, she has facilitated her mentors’ ability to produce manuscripts, articles for peer-reviewed journals, and paper presentation for professional conferences.”

Crews, who is from Hortense, Ga., received a bachelor’s degree in history from VSU and is currently working on a master’s in history. Her research interests include military medicine and medicine in general.

“What I enjoy most about my graduate assistant position is the fact that it never felt like a job,” Crews said. “I enjoyed the research and working for the history faculty. They always made sure that my work load was reasonable and that I had time for my own school work. I have gained valuable research skills through this position that have and will continue to benefit my own research.”

The awards were presented during National Student Employment Week, which ran April 11-15. More than 1,500 VSU students are employed as student assistants, federal work-study workers, or graduate assistants.

“These students are critical partners with the VSU administration in providing a wide variety of service, student employee supervisors often ask how they may reward their student employees,” said Student Employment Manager Sherri Adams. “The Student Employment Office believes, along with many others, that it is important to fully recognize VSU’s student employees as an important human resource, similar to regular faculty and staff.

This year’s award ceremony incorporated recognition of federal work-study students and graduate assistants.

“VSU graduate assistantships are designed to promote research, teaching, and service responsibilities of the university and to provide students with valuable professional development opportunities while earning a graduate degrees,” said Misty Lamb, coordinator of graduate assistants. “The graduate assistant must fulfill the dual responsibility of maintaining a satisfactory academic performance and successfully performing the assigned teaching, research, or other service responsibilities.”