Thirty-one students were recognized for their hard work, professionalism and dedication to their campus jobs as part of UMass Lowell’s first Student Employee of the Year Award program. Junior Karina Cruz and graduate student Michael Dellogono were selected for top honors based on nominations from their supervisors.
“This is a good way for us to give back to our students, who do so much for us on campus,” says Maureen Souza, student employment manager in the financial aid office and organizer of the awards program. “We’d be lost without our student workers.”
Nomination forms were circulated to supervisors in January. A panel of five judges read them and selected the two winners. A criminal justice major, Cruz works in parking enforcement and supervises 15 other student employees. Her boss, parking services coordinator Kathy Pilarski, says she thought of Cruz immediately when she heard about the award.
“She’s totally dedicated,” Pilarski says. “She always strives for excellence. It was an easy choice.”
Cruz, a Lawrence native who is planning to go to law school, was excited about the award. “I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m elated,” she says.
Dellogono, who works as a personal trainer at the Campus Recreation Center (CRC), was also surprised by the recognition.
“I was shocked to get nominated and even more shocked to win,” says Dellogono, who graduated from UMass Lowell with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology last year and is now working toward a master’s degree and ultimately his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.
In nominating Dellogono for the award, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation Justin Lawler described him as responsible, punctual and friendly with a unique way of relating to and building support with students, faculty and staff. Dellogono, who lives in Leominster, works about 12 hours at the CRC in addition to working as a teaching assistant in the exercise physiology labs.
Cruz and Dellogono each were presented with their awards and gift certificates to the campus bookstore at a ceremony at Alumni Hall on April 18. All students who were nominated received a certificate in recognition of their work.
Souza plans to make the award program an annual event and wants to expand it so campus winners can go on to compete for national honors in a program run by the National Student Employment Association.