UI Senior Named State Student Employee of the Year

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Release: April 24, 2002

(Editors: Receipt of this release indicates one or more UI students from your readership area have been recognized for outstanding work in on-campus jobs.)

 UI senior named State Student Employee of the Year

Michael Schmitz, a University of Iowa senior from Dunkerton, has been named the UI Student Employee of the Year and the State of Iowa Student Employee of the Year. Schmitz was nominated by his supervisors at the WiderNet project, where he is a project assistant. He became the UI’s nominee to the statewide contest after winning the campus competition.

The UI and statewide contests are part of the National Student Employment Administrators Association’s annual recognition process by which student hourly employees are judged on their contributions to the job. The evaluation is based on such qualities as reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and uniqueness of contribution.

WiderNet is a nonprofit project based at the UI that aims to build bridges between the UI and universities in developing countries, particularly African nations, by assisting faculty and students with access to computers, email, and the Internet. Schmitz, who is pursuing a double major in management information systems in the College of Business and in computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was hired to assist with the technical aspects of the project including setting up and configuring remote Web servers, creating email list services for international online discussions, creating database-driven Web sited, and wiring a network and installing computer workstations. Cliff Missen and Michael McNulty, the co-directors of the WiderNet project, said they would have been thrilled if Schmitz had limited himself to these tasks, but he has eagerly sought out additional responsibilities including organizing training sessions, assisting with the collection of donated computers, and securing corporate donations of software and training materials for African universities.

“Mike is an outstanding example of maturity, reliability, flexibility, and dedication,” said McNulty, a UI professor of geography. “He brings to his work a real respect for everyone he meets, a ready smile, and an ingenious sense of humor.”

In addition to Schmitz, the UI recognized 10 other student employees with a Certificate of Distinction or a Certificate of Appreciation. Those students are listed below according to hometown.


BETTENDORF: Scott Stone, a senior and computer science major, was awarded a Certificate of Distinction for his work in the Stead Advanced Learning Technology Center in the UI’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business. He has advanced the mission of the Learning Technology Center by providing one-on-one teaching assistance to College of Business students and helping to redesign the college’s Web site.

BETTENDORF: Nathan Kerns, a junior and history major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his work as assistant to the coordinator of the Engineering Building Modernization Project (EBMP). He supervised a team of student employees to insure that projects such as painting, replacing floor tiles, cleaning, and moving furniture were completed on schedule. According to his supervisor, “This work was physically demanding and could bear no direct support of his plans to attend law school, and still, he devoted himself to it until the end. Additionally, the tens of thousands of dollars that his student-led crew saved is the only way that the Project could have been finished to the standard it was.”

CLARKSVILLE: Dana Deuell, a junior and journalism major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for her work as newsletter editor for the UI Facilities Services Group, where she started from scratch, developing and managing the entire process of producing the monthly newsletter, which is designed to motivate and inform the department’s 630 staff members.

FAIRBANK: Erin Robinson, a junior journalism and Spanish major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for her work as a student clerk with the Pathology Learning Center, which is a center for teaching and learning with a high level of public contact and year-round curriculum development. She assists users and solves problems for the computer lab area, the microscope lab and the departmental teaching support services. She coordinated a component of the medical student curriculum, which involves 150 separate one-hour small group sessions covering 22 topics with more than 20 instructors. In addition she developed the Web site for the center and is responsible for site content, structure, layout and design.

HILLS: Christopher Miller, a graduate student in Library and Information Science, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation, for his work as a student assistant in the Map Collection Library in the UI Main Library. He developed the most efficient method for scanning Iowa aerial photos for patrons and for writing up scanning instructions for the entire department. He al applied his expertise in database management to assist with a project on InterLibrary loan transactions and on data collection for a grant proposal.

IOWA CITY: Joseph Lynn, a senior and accounting major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his work as assistant to the Athletic Liaison and Scholarship Coordinator for the Office of Student Financial Aid. Using his accounting experience, he prepared yearly four-year projections for various scholarship programs and refined an Excel spreadsheet that pinpoints shortfalls and overspent accounts. His assistance was instrumental during a recent internal NCAA audit. He also recently undertook the duties of maintaining and upgrading the office’s Web site when budget cuts did not permit the replacement of the office’s Web Administrator.

IOWA FALLS: Nick Holt, a senior and finance major, was awarded a Certificate of Distinction for his work as an office assistant with the Iowa Electronic Markets, where according to his supervisor, his duties require him to be the “complaint department, the media relations contact, the office accountant, the technical support department, and the unit webmaster (to name only a few) sometimes within the span of a few minutes.”

DES MOINES: Matthew Thoendel, a junior and microbiology major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his work as a student laboratory assistant in Dr. Michael Welsh’s lab in the Internal Medicine Department in the Carver College of Medicine. Welsh says that Matt, who has worked in the lab for three years, is one of the most valuable undergraduates he has ever employed. He achieves efficiency by carefully scheduling experiments and planning ahead for the reagents and equipment he will need. He is well known for preparing the cleanest DNA with the highest yield and has taught many people in the lab how to purify plasmid DNA.

LAKESIDE: Nathan Fulcher, a junior English and secondary education major, was awarded a Certificate of Distinction for his work as an assistant teacher for the 4C’s Home Ties childcare center, which provides free and temporary childcare to families that are in crisis. He is responsible for activities that encourage the social, nutritional, physical, emotional, and academic development of children ages newborn to 12 years. Nathan distinguished himself through his innovative problem-solving skills, including organizing drives to obtain needed clothing, diapers, and equipment.

LISBON: Nickolas Brecht, a senior and exercise science major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his work as a cardiovascular rehabilitation exercise assistant with Iowa CHAMPS (Cardiovascular Health Assessment, Management, and Prevention Services.) He assists with cardiac evaluations, monitored exercise therapy and exercise testing. He also took the initiative to set up a computer-based Cardiac Risk Factor Screening Program.

WATERLOO: Ryan Potter, a senior and communication studies major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his work as a student office assistant in the UI’s Central Microscopy Research Facility. He assisted with the complex process of ordering, billing, and accounting for the office, which serves more than 250 on-campus faculty laboratories and 32 off-campus labs. He also has revamped and expanded the office’s Web site, designed posters and brochures, prepares and mails newsletters, and designed a calendar using images from users. He also organized the first “Art in Science” contest last fall in which investigators from around the region submitted images for review.


SHOREWOOD: Rebekkah Mazze, a senior and art major, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for her work as a graphic design assistant with the University of Iowa Health Care Joint Office for Planning, Marketing, and Communication. She assisted with several projects that will have a lasting and positive impact on health care services at the UI, including such brochures as “Patients Rights and Responsibilities,” “Controlling Acute Pain,” and “Controlling Chronic Pain.” A surveyor with the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations specifically complimented the “Patients Rights and Responsibilities” brochure for excellence in both content and design.