Students honored for impact

WSU Cougar Spirit mark.

As in many prior years, the WSU Student Employee of the Year (SEOTY) award highlights the importance of students who work while attending college and their role in the success of the university. Nominees must have demonstrated outstanding dedication and dependability, and made a positive impact on the offices where they work.

While all WSU SEOTY nominees must be student employees, changes this year at the U.S.-wide level by the SEOTY parent organization — the National Student Employee Association (NSEA) — called for the creation of categories beyond employment that align with competencies that employers request. Those include community service, leadership, embracing diversity and inclusion values, critical thinking, and innovation and technology.

Four receive SEOTY honors

Using a rubric shared by NSEA, Moran was selected as the top WSU student employee partially based on her accomplishments in the community service category. Four additional SEOTY nominees were also celebrated this year based on their contributions in other categories:

  • Faraz Abounorinejad, a senior physics major, received the WSU SEOTY leadership award for demonstrating exceptional initiative in taking the lead during workplace scenarios while remaining open to embracing change and innovative ideas. He has worked for the Department of Chemistry.
  • Alexis Kruger, a junior majoring in psychology, received the critical thinking award for excelling at gathering and analyzing information from a wide range of sources and people to solve problems. She has worked for the Access Center. 
  • Mason Dreon, a junior in public relations, received the diversity and inclusion award for showing a commitment to understanding and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at work, on campus, and in the community. She has worked for WSU Athletics. 
  • Anna Rodgers, a senior neuroscience major, received the innovation award for excelling in managing technology to integrate vital information that enables relevant, effective, and timely decision-making. She has worked for the Department of Entomology.

“The field of nominees was very diverse and had a wealth of skills and accomplishments this year,” said Hieu Trung “Ricky” Thai, ASCC student employee coordinator, who oversaw that process.

“We are pleased, though, with the top student employee choices that we made and believe these exceptional individuals represent the very best of what it means to be a student employee at WSU.”

Moran as WSU SEOTY

Washington State University computer engineering major and electrical engineering minor Marielibeth “Vanessa” Moran is the WSU 2023 Student Employee of the Year (SEOTY). 

A senior, Moran has worked for WSU Concessions, CORETECH, and the Department of Psychology. She plans to graduate in 2024. The SEOTY award is presented annually by the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC). 

In addition to her employment, Moran has since 2018 served as a LAUNCH (Into Experiential Learning) ambassador. LAUNCH is an initiative in the provost’s office, aimed at using a peer-mentoring model to help students connect early with high-impact learning.

She is credited with having helped numerous students identify and connect with co-curricular learning opportunities that align with their personal values, strengths, and post-graduation goals. She has led small groups in collaborative activities and discussions, provided individualized guidance, and facilitated workshops.

Moran is also applauded for being consistently enthusiastic, conscientious, and a problem-solver, with her performance and attitude reflecting her work ethic, commitment to excellence, and a willingness to invest the time and effort to ensure a job is done to the best of her ability.

By Beverly Makhani, WSU News