By Ed Brennen
For the second time in four years, the university’s Student Employee of the Year has also been recognized as the state’s top student employee.
Alyssa Soucy, a junior environmental science major from Chelmsford, received both honors at the university’s fifth annual awards ceremony, held by the Student Employment and Financial Aid offices at University Crossing as part of April’s National Student Employment Week.
“I had no idea I’d win these, especially the state award. It’s pretty incredible,” said Soucy, who has worked for the past year as digital curator for the UMass Lowell Libraries. “I enjoy my job, so just the fact that I work there is enough, but I appreciate the nomination.”
According to Student Employment Manager Candice Garabedian, the purpose of the annual award is to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions of the nearly 970 students taking part in the Student Employment and Federal Work Study programs, as well as the hundreds of others working on a contract basis across campus.
“Student employees have so many roles in various departments, and without them the university wouldn’t function efficiently,” said Garabedian who, along with Job Location and Development Coordinator Lisa Levesque, recognized 22 nominees at the award ceremony.
Garabedian, who also serves as chair of the New England student employee recognition committee, said Soucy was a unanimous choice for the Massachusetts Student Employee of the Year award, which is voted on by a panel of readers from outside the state and includes a $100 cash prize from the National Student Employment Association. In 2013, Diana Davis was named Student Employee of the Year for both the university and the state.
Soucy began working at the library her sophomore year after receiving an Honors College Student Fellowship, which gave her $1,000 for 100 hours of work. She developed a Library Research Guide, or libguide, for the Kennedy College of Science’s Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department and was quickly hired full-time for the summer to take on even more digital projects — including an upcoming update of the libraries’ website.
“I like helping other people use libguides in their own way,” she said. “If there’s a way to get resources more easily available to students, it’s a good thing.”
“She’s got a way with the technology, and with other students, that makes her a real pleasure to be around,” said Libraries Program and Project Coordinator Mehmed Ali, who nominated Soucy for the award along with Libraries Director George Hart.
Ali said Soucy’s ability to not only anticipate, but also solve problems before most people realize they even exist make her a valuable team member.
“We’ve been trying to get her to give up environmental science and become a librarian,” Ali said with a laugh.
While Soucy has enjoyed learning about library work and collaborating with many different offices across campus, the self-described “geology geek” has her heart set on a career in marine biology. Last summer she worked with Assist. Prof. Kate Swanger on her Antarctic research; this summer she received a fellowship to work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
“It’s a lot for any student to work and take classes at the same time, but it definitely gives you access to a different dimension of the campus when you’re working there,” Soucy said. “I wouldn’t know anything about the library unless I worked there.”
Other nominees this year were: Alexandra Ford; Andrew Glosick; Chloe Morgan; Diana Estrella; Emmeline Aroush; Erica Marland; Evan Fonseca; Forrest Otsuka; Julie Lun; Justine Gochis; Kathryn Coughlin; Kehinde Abegunde; Kush Bhagat; Mike Joseph; Pamela Gilchrest; Roger Bourget; Samantha Roy; Sarah Pienta; Syeda Nizami; Tania Terceros; and Taylor Cirato.