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Center for Career and Professional Development

WCU Student Worker of the Year Program

About the Competition

The prestigious Student Worker of the Year competition recognizes the outstanding contributions and achievements of students who work while attending WCU. The competition begins on the campus level, and advances to the regional (Southern Association of Student Employment Administrators) and national (National Student Employment Association) levels.


The 2018-19 WCU Student Worker of the Year will receive $500, a plaque with his/her name, recognition at his/her college's award ceremony.


Nominees may include undergraduate or graduate students hired through Non Work-Study (Career Services) or Work-Study (Financial Aid). Graduate Assistant, Research or Teaching Assistants are not eligible. Students must have been employed for a minimum of 6 months part-time and who is currently working for your department. You may only nominate one student per department.

Nominate a Student

Download the Guidelines and Nomination Form and submit to Carrie Hachadurian, Student Employment Specialist, either electronically ( or by campus mail (150 Reid). The deadline to nominate a student is 5 p.m. Friday, January 25, 2019.

Why Nominate?

Student workers benefit greatly by being nominated for this prestigious award. Not only is it a great way to honor a hard-working student within your department, but it is also an excellent way students can show future employers their outstanding work ethic, professionalism, and skills.

Tips on Nominating a Student

When completing the nomination packet, be sure to:

  • Describe how your student worker has gone above and beyond their duties and responsibilities;
  • Use specific examples to show how your student worker has improved life within your department;
  • Highlight your student worker's work ethic, professionalism, and style
  • Describe your worker's greatest attributes as they relate to the job and what qualities set your student worker apart from the rest.

To view previous winning nominations on a national level, visit the National Student Employee Association's website.

Previous Winners

  • 2012 Student Employee of the Year - Sofia Lilly, ambassador and tutor at the Writing and Learning Commons
  • 2013 Student Employee of the Year - Theodore Waltz, design engineer at the Center for Rapid Project Realization
  • 2014 Student Employee of the Year - Merab Mushfiq, academic skills consultant, tutor, and international student consultant at the Writing and Learning Commons
  • 2015 Student Worker of the Year - Claire Lippy, guide and leader at Basecamp Cullowhee
  • 2016 Student Worker of the Year - Kelsey Loock, architect assistant with Facilities Management
  • 2017 Student Worker of the Year - Shenandoah Ragsdale, student building manager at the Ramsey Center
  • 2018 Student Worker of the Year - Tuyen Tram, print shop assistant with the University Print Shop

2018 Student Employee of the Year Winner

Student Worker of the YearTuyen Tram, a Print Shop Assistant and graduating senior double majoring in Interior Design and Computer Information Systems, has been named WCU’s 2017-18 Student Worker of the Year for her ingenuity in re-engineering the Print Shop’s processes for efficiency and increased productivity.

“Tuyen Tram joined our department in May of 2017 and has changed our world,” said Tom Frazier, manager of WCU’s Print Shop. “We were looking to add a student employee that could help us understand and better meet the printing needs of Interior Design students, as these students often need projects printed on several of the plotters we use and have requests for other print materials. After observing our processes and devices for about a week, Tuyen began to re-engineer the way we work with this group of students. She did a survey of print providers in the area to see what materials were being offered and the cost for them. She identified additional products that we produce that are of value to these students, produced promotional materials and also visited the classes to talk to the new students about the services we offer.”

Moreover, Frazier said Tram works well under pressure and always meets her many deadlines with upmost quality. “Pressure never seems to bother her and she is so fast and precise that her work never has to be repeated. Often she will take projects produced by the university’s senior designers and make any necessary adjustments to the art so the final printed product will install perfectly.”

Tram, who plans to attend graduate school to eventually become an architect for both residential and commercial buildings, said working for the Print Shop has given her the ability to hone her skills in Adobe programs in designing products as well as to build her portfolio, which will help her on her career path.

When asked what advice she has for other student workers, she said the key for has been to be open-minded in the tasks and assignments that were given to her and to learn to work well within a team.

“I think [students need to] not be afraid to learn and be more curious about what you’re doing, and to ask to do more tasks every day,” she said. “I think, although many students do not like to work in teams, this skill is very important. I’ve learned the value of teamwork in helping me get things done.”

Western Carolina University holds an annual Student Worker of the Year competition in which supervisors nominate one student per department who excels and exceeds expectations.  This year, 14 students were nominated, representing the top 1% of WCU’s student workforce. Runners up for this year include Aaron Alexander with University Marketing; Abigail Rollins with Campus Recreation and Wellness Center; AJ Bruce with Facilities Management; Anna Haggy with the Department of Social Work; Brandon DeHart with the Department of IT; Lauren Joy with the School of Art and Design; Leah Downing with the Writing and Learning Commons; Luke Pope with the College of Engineering and Technology; McKinsey Jones with Parking and Transportation; Jack Wallace with Stage and Screen; Cody Pearsall with Hunter Library; Alyssa Whitaker with Athletics; and Yasin Muhammad with the Department of Campus Activities. 



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