Maria Soto, a senior who was a student employee in the biology lab, recently was named the 2019 Elmhurst College Student Employee of the Year.
Nominated by her supervisor, Michael Mandru, Soto was responsible for the preparation of laboratory materials used in biology courses, as well as maintenance of the laboratories. Her supervisor praised her for her drive and work ethic.
Soto often helped prepare microbial media, a painstaking, multi-step process that involves hours of intense work, and where a single mistake can negate hours of work and cost the department hundreds of dollars. Soto was also tasked with training new hires, and had excelled in working with employees of different backgrounds and personality types.
Soto was chosen by a panel of administrators who judged nominees on criteria like reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and uniqueness of contribution.
The Student Employee of the Year program is a national contest that has been administered on the Elmhurst College campus since 2010 by Kathy Maxwell, student employment coordinator. Over that period, more than 85 student employees have been nominated for this honor.
Other nominees for the 2019 Student Employee of the Year were: Rabia Amin, nominated by Angie Panozzo of the Chaplain’s Office; Carlos Cantu, nominated by Megan Wajda of the Office of Admission; Rebecca Hill, nominated by Mica Matney of Guest Services; Nicole Lahey, nominated by Laura Bjerga, Lisa Hartley and Elizabeth Lanzo of the Office of Academic Affairs; and Nick Lubieniecki, nominated by Saaema Aslam of Information Services.
All nominees received a certificate of achievement. As the winner, Soto also received a $25 Becks Books gift card, and her name has been added to the Student Employee of the Year plaque in the Frick Center.