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Student Assistant Employee of the Month

Congratulations to our past Student Assistant of the Month winners!

November 2019 — Kevin Penamante

Kevin PenamanteA nominator stated: “Kevin has been able to prove time and time again that they have the abilities to successfully supervise others as a student, maintain high integrity and professionalism within their position and support others in times of need. Kevin has stepped up as a student supervisor to not only support the Student Building Managers but help revamp and conduct new hire training multiple times.

Kevin has been a reliable asset to the Reservations & Events Services Department by assisting all the different student positions that are in the department with the knowledge they has gained. He has stepped in to act in place when there are last minute call-outs. Kevin’s exceptional critical thinking skills allow him to find solutions to a wide variety of problems. Along with all of this, Kevin maintains a full-time school schedule and is an active member in a club on campus meanwhile fostering a fun and positive work environment with those that they interact with each and every day. It truly is a pleasure to work alongside Kevin and he is more than deserving of this award considering all of the hard work and determination that has been shown throughout their time here as a student employee.

November 2019 — Ryan Umpaiboon

Ryan UmpaiboonA nominator stated: “Ryan has presented great leadership skills every time I am on shift with him.Ryan always goes out of his way to help members both inside and outside of the facility. He does whatever he can to make members feel comfortable here in the SRC. Even when he is walking to get lunch in the USU, he still directs people around campus when they need help. He completes all his tasks and always ensures that he is prepared for an emergency.

Whenever someone needs shift coverage he will pick up the shift and if he can’t, he will still help find that person cover. When members are injured, he has a calming presence and always takes care of the member appropriately. Ryan’s strong critical thinking skills allow him to find quick solutions to difficult situations. Ryan is always willing to take on any task with enthusiasm, even if it involves another department. Ryan also gives helpful and motivating advice when it comes to academics and life itself. His two years working in the USU has prepared him for many situations but one of his main goals now is to mentor the younger staff. By providing exceptional customer service and his positive attitude, I believe Ryan should be employee of the month.

October 2019 — Elijah Acacio

Elijah AcacioA nominator stated: “Elijah has shown a great ability to adapt to all environments and strive within them. He has put in great effort to learn the material needed to fulfill his work duties and has stepped up as a leader on multiple occasions. When helping customers, he shows respect and understanding while also being assertive which is exactly what the position calls for. When he comes into work, he is ready to do just that and execute his responsibilities with efficiency.

An example of him going above and beyond in his position is him volunteering to take on one of the most vocal and leading referee positions during flag football. During the game, if he was unsure of a call, he would call a referee timeout and consult the other refs on what they saw. This is not only what lead refs do if they are unsure, but many refs try to "fake" that they know the call which leads to inaccurate officiating. Eli (even though it is his first semester working in IM's) was able to humbly ask for help. This shows great leadership, honesty, and integrity. After the meeting, he was able to explain his call to the players (another thing leads tell refs to do in order to reduce conflict) and carry on with the game. Eli shows this mature and exemplary character every time he comes in to work and should be rewarded for his efforts.

October 2019 — Dirk Braxton

Dirk BraxtonA nominator stated: “I nominate Dirk Braxton as Student Assistant Employee of the Month as he has dedicated 4 years of hard work to the University Student Union in the Games Room and encouraging many students to participate in several programs available across the USU. Dirk is a phenomenal student leader that serves as a role model to his colleagues in the Games Room and the many students he has mentored throughout his time at CSUN. He especially excels in cultivating the community in the Games Room that has allowed for unique experiences for customers and his colleagues.

Dirk helped develop new protocols and set ups for the Video Game Tournaments in the Games Room that attracted more students to participate. Over 300 students participated in Games Room Video Game Tournaments this semester most of which were coordinated by Dirk. During the monthly department meetings in the Games Room, Dirk often offers suggestions to improve Games Room programs, and he offers advice to his colleagues on how to improve their efficiency and organization while on shift. I can trust Dirk to quickly implement new procedures to the Games Room operation. He uses active listening skills when helping a challenging customer. Also, he conducts himself professionally when interacting with his supervisors, other Student Assistant Employees, Faculty & Staff.

September 2019 — Dorey Chery

Dorey CheryA nominator stated: “Dorey is a dedicated, creative, and hardworking member of the Pride Center team and the University Student Union. She is committed to making students feel included and at home in the Pride Center and the USU, and always practices exceptionally friendly customer service. As facilitator of QTPOC Conversations, Dorey provides queer and trans students of color a safe space to talk about their lives and issues they are facing. Her work doing this is extremely valuable, as she is able to help some of our most marginalized students feel safe and accepted on campus.

She provides invaluable support to this community, exemplifying the USU's mission to develop students through inclusive activities and services. Dorey also does valuable, creative work in planning events. This semester, she has been working on AROdynamic SpACE, the Pride Center's event centering and supporting the asexual and aromantic communities. She exemplifies the USU's value of creativity by planning this event from the ground up. It did not exist until she took it upon herself to include this community in our roster of events, showing again that she is committed to the inclusion of all students. I have heard from several students in the ace/aro community that they really appreciate this event and all the hard work Dorey puts into it. She continues to be an excellent student assistant and an example to others, and she has been working very hard on her upcoming event, which is why I feel that she should be SAE of the month.

September 2019 — Jesus Borjas

Jesus BorjasA nominator stated: “Since day one, Jesus has shown tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. He began as an Operations Student Assistant back in August 2018 and shortly after applied to become Building Manager because he wanted to take on a bigger role of leadership in the SRC. He has been proposing new ideas within his department, to help develop new ways of facilitating the SRC. For instance, he recommended to use of digital inventory instead of paper and advised for OSAs to gain access to more keys, to be able to assist more within the facility.

In addition, Jesus has presented in staff meetings to give helpful tips on ways to improve completing tasks more effectively and efficiently. He has done a great job in training new people and exemplifying how to exceed the expectations of any USU employee. Furthermore, he has also taken initiative in not only helping his department but as well as the Fitness and Wellness department. For example, he has assisted behind the desk to help with GX classes, assisted members through the phone and giving out passes for our boxing studio. Jesus understands how vital it is to show that we can support one another and still push each other to become the best we can be. His recommendations for improvement have been a huge success at the SRC. His passion is definitely shown in every shift. As he excels in his department through his leadership and communication skills, he will continue being a good role model for others to look up to.”

August 2019 — Kimia Ebadirad

Kimia EbadiradA nominator stated: “Kimia has gone above and beyond for the computer lab and for the Lab techs. She has made the Computer lab a welcoming place to print pages with having a vision on the kind of environment people would like to be in. From decorating the Lab to helping out patrons, Kimia has been a model for other student assistants. She is always proactive in helping patrons in the lab, and always comes to work with a great attitude and energy.

Kimia is also always willing to help the patrons of the computer lab. She has been an employee for the USU, and we feel like she deserved this nomination from the computer lab. She has been a very consistent employee and she really embodies the mission statement of the USU. She is truly a big part of our operation here in the computer lab. Even when she is off the clock, she still comes in and is willing to help when it gets very busy. Kimia is a great person and is a model CLT, and is a role model for the newer CLT's here in the computer lab. So that is why Kimia is our nomination for the Lab.”

August 2019 — Lucy Akopyan

Lucy Akopyan A nominator stated: “It has been such a pleasure working with Lucy Akopyan. Lucy exemplifies going above and beyond in every aspect of her position. Aside from her regular duties: Daily Sales Reports, Daily Sales Month-End Reports, P.O.'s, AP Check Upload to PeopleSoft, Detail Trail Balance Reports (for dept. mgrs.), Income Statements (for dept. mgrs.), Leadsheet Reconciliation verifications, and filing, Lucy takes on additional responsibilities when we are short staffed with SAE's.

In this case, she assisted with uploading the Certification of Liability to CSUN’s CSU vendor tracking website, reconciled purchases w/o Sales & Use Tax charges via Concur and updated the department managers with the updated information, payroll check distribution, and AR Payment Journals. As a courtesy, Miss Akopyan also called the vendors of all the P.O. submissions to inquire about the acceptance of AMEX credit cards, instead of opening a new P.O. This practice helps with keeping a trail on the status of the transactions. To add to her contributions, she took the initiative to alleviate the workload of the Associate Director of Accounting & Finance. At times when Joe’s designated SAE is unavailable, Lucy would reconcile the AMEX excel sheet for each department manager (to track monthly expenses), analyze and reconcile the payroll Purchase Plan Funding for all USU employees and edit his PDF files. Lucy is very reliable and dedicated to her work. She volunteers to stay longer if needed and pleasantly greets those seeking assistance at the Cashier window. Her unwavering commitment coupled with her positive professionalism goes beyond our expectations.”


July 2019 — Kanchan Ranatunga

Kanchan RanatungaA nominator stated, “I believe Kanchan deserves to be SAE of the month because he is dedicated to his position as a Marketing Assistant and exemplifies many USU values. Just a few months ago, Kanchan took on a new role in the Marketing department and is now the project coordinator for Pride Center and USU Events. He is diligent when setting up meetings with clients and adding tasks to his projects on our project management software, Basecamp. Kanchan is always on time with his responsibilities and is willing to help or assist with other office tasks. He also has a great relationship with his coworkers and supervisors and easily makes people smile!

Kanchan exemplifies many of the USU values, but the ones I believe he identifies with most are accountability, communication, fun, and service. As previously mentioned, Kanchan is very accountable, especially when it comes to his responsibilities. I can always count on him to get the job done with dedication and care. Kanchan exemplifies strong communication skills because he follows up with clients and coworkers when needed. He is also easily approachable. If a coworker or client has a question for him, they are comfortable reaching out. Kanchan is fun because he enjoys working in the Marketing Department and gets along well with everyone in the office. Finally, Kanchan represents service because on numerous occasions, he has stepped up and volunteered to do other tasks in the office. Whether it was tabling on a Saturday for Explore CSUN or giving a presentation about our department during a Marketing & Programs meeting, Kanchan always goes above and beyond, showing his dedication to the USU.”

July 2019 — Chris Hayes

Chris HayesA nominator stated, “Chris Hayes is deserving of the Student Assistant of the Month award, I can confidently state that it is his dedication to the USU mission and to Student Veterans that makes him stand out from his peers. This being most evident while serving in the ARMY National Guard and being a full time student. As a member of the National Guard he was activated for duty mid semester and was able to continue his full course work while deployed.

Chris is an excellent problem solver in what can sometimes be a hectic environment that presents many competing demands. While preparing for his annul active duty training and in preparation of his two week absence he was able to prioritize, complete and delegate the responsibilities of his role in the VRC in order to assure services to veterans were uninterrupted. Chris remains steadfast in his cheerfulness, calmness, dependability and dedication to being of service. Chris shows up to the VRC ready to work and does so with an infectious positive attitude. He is always willing to lend a helping hand to his peers and always goes “above and beyond” when assisting guests at the VRC, veterans or military connected students.”

June 2019 — Serena Hinton

Serena HintonA nominator stated, “Serena is an exceptional student assistant whom continues to fulfill not only the goals and values of the Pride Center, but also the overall USU. She has continued to spearhead our annual Trans* Empowerment Week (formally known as Trans* Awareness Week) where she fiercely advocated in redirecting our vision and goals, to centering and highlighting Trans* folks, specifically Black and Brown Trans* women in which are currently under attack at an alarming rate. Serena consistently seeks for ways to include and humanize the experiences of those whom may not be seen bysociety. For example, a way she did so was by bringing a local self-defense group explicitly for Trans*, gender nonconforming, genderqueer folks and femmes. She recognizes the realities for the Trans* community and provides the necessary tools for Trans* students and those outside of the Trans* community to create dialogue among various departments and centers at CSUN and the community in the San Fernando Valley at large. She not only takes space, but also creates and holds space for our students. Serena has added a critical lens that has enabled the Pride Center team to flourish and maximize to its full capacity. Not to mention, she continues to apply herself and her strengths (Learner, Input, and Discipline) to further execute innovative ways that will hold community members accountable that continues to shape and transform narratives."

June 2019 — Christian Nessim

Christian NessimA nominator stated, “Although a consistently competent and solid performer, in May 2019, the Human Resources Department held our semi-annual staff retreat and both during and since that time, Christian has stepped up and gone above and beyond to demonstrate leadership and provide value to the HR team.  Specific examples of the ways in which I believe that Christian’s performance merits the Student Assistant of the Month award are as follows: 

  • Planned and executed one of our most successful installments of June Rejuvenation with minimal supervision
  • Refined and improved the themes of the USU’s Appreciation Station which has increased engagement
  • Stepped into a leadership role with Student Summit and assisted in leading the direction of our presentation team
  • Exudes a professionalism in the workplace that models the way for other SAEs in the organization
  • Has taken initiative to clean and organize HR’s programming closet and storage spaces
  • Has taken initiative to revise the language and appeal of the SAEOTM nomination process

As we know, staffing in virtually all of the USU’s and SRC’s operating units is dependent on our student workers, but the HR department could not have achieved what it has without Christian’s commitment to excellence and his strong work ethic.”

March 2019 — Michelle Zuniga

Michelle Zuniga

A nominator stated, “Michelle Zuniga has a contagious smile, unique personality, and is a leader as the University Student Union Building Manager. Michelle has been working for the University Student Union for 6 months and has had an impact on clients and staff members in the University Student Union. Michelle has impacted clients and staff members by offering exceptional customer service to clients, and adaptability to special events that occur in the Northridge center. For example, in Big Lecture, with Jesse Williams , Michelle demonstrated a concern of safety for clients by making sure exits were not blocked, air conditioning was suitable for the amount of people in the auditorium, and making certain the there were no suspicious activity occurring during the event. Additionally, Michelle utilizes critical thinking not only to make certain operations run smoothly, but contributes solutions that may solve problems that Building Manager may encounter during their shifts. Each moment I step inside the University Student Union Michelle treats me with respect, and has an excited demeanor because she enjoys what she does. She is the face of the University Student Union; and, demonstrates that by her actions. Its for these reason that I nominate Michelle Zuniga for student assistant of the month!”

March 2019 — Shannon Intluxay

Shannon IntluxayA nominator stated, “Shannon, an aspiring dermatologist, applies her organizational skills when arranging meetings, creating digital binders, Risk Mgmt manuals, and committee minutes and orientations. She utilizes her Learner and Focus strengths to prioritize her assignments so deadlines are always met. she comes to work with a positive attitude and treats coworkers with dignity and respect. She knows the importance of keeping financial information confidential. The fact that she has an infectious smile is a bonus!

Here is a list of some her accomplishments:
1. Arranged the Annual Budget Planning Meeting. She prepared the Budget Planning Meeting packet and two Powerpoint presentations.
2. She prepared Risk Management training for the Events and USU RES & Events departments.
3. She prepares all the minutes for the Finance, Audit, and Retirement Plan Committee. In addition, she prepared all the committee orientation binders for all student members of these committees.
4. She consolidated the 700 page 2018-19 budget into an electronic binder.
5. She has learned how to use various software packages and is able to train others on the use of those software packages. Concur is one example.

The only conclusion that one can come to is that Shannon, hands down, deserves to be the Student Assistant of the Month!”

February 2019 — Madeline Parrales

Madeline ParralesA nominator stated, “Maddie is the Head Lifeguard responsible for our swim lesson program, and consistently goes above and beyond her role as Head Lifeguard to provide our patrons the best possible service. Most recently, she has spear-headed a project to work with our swim lesson instructors to design and update our swim lesson program to best serve the community and the SRC users. She works closely with patrons to accommodate their schedule, and is very flexible in making sure the patron receives their swim lessons in a convenient and timely manner. Although she is often very busy, she still finds time to gladly answer any questions the aquatics staff may have for her. In fact, many on staff would consider her a great mentor, especially our new-hires who may be less experienced in teaching swim lessons. They feel comfortable going to her when they feel they may need advice on how to teach a particular skill or swimming stroke. Beyond just swim lessons, Maddie's contributions stretch beyond her primary scope of duties. Recently, she cleaned and fitted new equipment for our CPR/First Aide course, so that students will have the absolute best opportunity at learning. Maddie comes to work every day with a positive attitude and cheery demeanor. She exemplifies great service and does justice to the values of the USU.”

February 2019 — Adam Henry

Adam HenryA nominator stated, “Adam has been one of the best student assistants we have ever had. He is always on time always kind and courteous. He goes above and beyond for not only the maintenance staff but for the USU as a whole. From delivering heavy packages to painting props for events, he is always ready to work and his performance is always impeccable. For instance an upcoming event requires a large prop of Burger King french fries. Adam has spent hours painting these Styrofoam fries for this upcoming event. Adam is constantly running around the USU fixing things or delivering packages. I believe he upholds the values of the USU by his strong work ethic and his drive for higher education. Adam is very passionate about his major and his studies and ultimately his future. He is very driven and goal oriented which ties into the values of the USU. We at the USU are very driven in our desire to bring a sense of community to CSUN and I believe Adam also upholds these values. He works so tirelessly to make himself a better matador and to make the University Student Union a better and maintained area. He is constantly excelling in the work given to him both physical maintenance labor and in his coursework.”

January 2019 — Dyemond Cooper

Dyemond CooperA nominator stated, “Dyemond began her employment with the Events department on January 10, 2019 and executed her first event, Laugh Your Class Off, on February 1, 2019. With only three weeks to plan an entire event, and be trained within the department is a feat within itself, one in which Dyemond excelled so eloquently. She took the challenge headstrong and demonstrated what she is capable of. Dyemond has demonstrated her ability to work well under pressure by ensuring that her artist were paid on time and giving her own creative flair to the event. For being her first event, Dyemond handled everything thrown at her like a true professional. One of the comedians backed out days before the event, something that would easily freak out any seasoned event planner, but it didn't even phase Dyemond. She began using her resources and was able to find someone within the same day. Thanks to her hard work, this installment of Laugh Your Class Off was one of the most attended by students, we actually reached capacity in the Games Room. I'm excited to see all the amazing things Dyemond will be able to accomplish within her time in the Events department and the University Student Union as a whole.”

January 2019 — Elizabeth Barbieto

Elizabeth BarbietoA nominator stated, “Elizabeth, from the beginning, showed exemplary service to facilities and maintenance and the University Student Union as a whole. She came into facilities and maintenance working hard delivering packages that had been stacked up, carrying heavy packages, repairing things in various parts of the university student union, replacing lights, scraping water out of the pool when it was being repaired, buffing the pool bed, organizing our supply cabinets, organizing our invoice and purchase order binders, and running errands for myself and many others in the department. From delivering packages to fixing cabinets to filing invoices, she has excelled in every task given to her, even tasks she was not required to do. She is always on time, witty, funny, energized and respectful. She is a very bright, strong, and capable woman. She is always craving for more work and responsibility. As a minority woman from the great state of Hawaii in a traditionally male major breaking barriers and one day glass ceilings, Elizabeth is a great example of what the University Student Union represents. I am honored to call her our student assistant and she will always be my SAE of the month every month.”

December 2018 — Rifaat (Roro) Kouaider

Rifaat (Roro) KouaiderA nominator stated, “Roro is always the first to offer his help in the office and beyond. He is consistently working towards his academic and career goals, and he surpasses expectations in both. Additionally, if he sees a way to improve something, he will take initiative and consult others to execute it in the most effective manner. As a newer employee of the USU, he made me feel welcomed instantly and has exemplified the ideal USU SAE. While he is a Designer assistant, he is always ready to aid in the efforts of other coworker's projects and maintain a productive schedule of his own. He gives his all into his work and academic endeavors, and has even made an impact in the International Students organization, being that he was the President and can speak from experience being a native of Lebanon. Roro continuously brightens the office morale and carries that same attitude wherever he goes. Not only is he an employee, but he is a true embodiment of "for students by students"; he cares for the wellbeing of the CSUN community. The USU is truly lucky to have someone as dedicated as Roro for an employee, and he deserves to be recognized among the entirety of the USU.”

November 2018 — Itati Ortiz

Itati OrtizA nominator stated, “Itati Ortiz demonstrates amazing leadership skills and attention to detail. She is very welcoming and extremely kind to every patron that visits the computer lab in the USU. She is the first to problem solve and relieve any issues or concerns a patron has and when she is unable to help, she takes the necessary steps to learn, improve and teach to further enrich her position as a computer lab technician. There have been numerous times patrons have accidentally lost their work on the computer or experienced printing issues while on their way to class, but Itati extends a helping hand every time. Aside from helping patrons, on the floor with her other coworkers, she exemplifies a very welcoming and accepting spirit that reaches her other coworkers. She is always endlessly encouraging, listening, and understanding the differences within her team and continues to make the work place an exceptionally safe space. She never fails to brighten up the labs day and is always offering the best advice with such grace. I believe Itati Ortiz is the best candidate for the employee of the month because even though she does great work all year round, she deserves to be praised and appreciated for all that she does for patrons and her team.”

November 2018 — Michael Weise

Michael WeiseA nominator stated, “Michael Weise has been working for the USU for less than one year and was a Building Manager, but was promoted in September as a Student Guest Services Supervisor. He has served on numerous interview panels for the Building Manager and Guest Services Assistant position where he exemplified the mission of the USU and understanding of our organization. Specifically within the last month, he has made multiple additions and enhancements to the Guest Services department which have benefited the USU. He has good communication, work ethic and interpersonal skills that help him perform well in his position and continue to raise the bar for the USU. In the last month, he attended his first ACUI Region I conference and while attending, he presented at the conference for about transferable skills related to the job application process and student employment. This was a huge undertaking by a student and first time attendee, but he received multiple compliments about his professionalism and insight from students who attended the session. It was because of this presentation that he submitted to be on the Student Summit Presentation team again to share the same information with our student employees. He recently was accepted to this team and will present in January.”

December 2018 — Christopher Hernandez

Christopher HernandezA nominator stated, “During the months of December and January, Christopher has been a big help with a variety of projects and tasks with the USU. He was instrumental in assisting in the completion of the SRC Program Review process for our Internal Review team. His work included compiling reports for sections of the CAS Standards, creating timelines and deadlines for the team to review and assisting the Director of the SRC with various other tasks. In December, Chris co-presented with me about Student Learning Outcomes to the Student Summit Presentation team after presenting last semester. It was important to him to be able to help out in teaching other about SLOs to better improve the quality of the workshops. In January, Chris created a campaign to help give the Assessment Team additional exposure during the call for assessments. During his time at the USU, he has always upheld the values of the USU specifically in the areas of collaboration, learning and service. He works with multiple departments to complete assessment needs and enjoyed the collaborative process. He focuses on the importance of learning for continuous improvement by voluntarily enrolling in an online course titled "Applying and Leading Assessment in Student Affairs" for professional develop in order to be a better SAE for assessment. Lastly, his service to others is part of his personal mission and he sees how his work contributes to the greater experience of students of CSUN. He volunteers his time to serve on the Personnel committee for the BOD to lead and make an impact in more ways than he already does as an SAE. I highly recommend Christopher Hernandez as a candidate for Student Assistant of the Month.”

October 2018 — Gerardo Campa

Gerardo CampaA nominator stated, “When I started working here at the SRC about a month ago, Gerardo was the person who helped me understand Pro-shop. He went out of his way to explain how Pro-shop works and made sure I was understanding the process. He not only helped me during his shift but also checked in with me the next couple of days to see how I was adjusting. You can tell that he values the Student Recreation Center and wants things to run smoothly. He truly understands the meaning of teamwork. I know I can come to him if I have any questions or need clarifications on anything. He made me feel comfortable and excited about working at the SRC. 

I've had a couple shifts with Gerardo and each shift he demonstrates a positive energy along with a smile on his face despite what kind of member walks through the SRC. He takes initiative whenever things become chaotic at the front. He will check items back in even when he is not on Pro-shop. You can tell he enjoys working here and wants to create a stress-free environment. I think he is a great representation of the Student Recreation Center with his professionalism, along with his friendly and positive attitude.”

September 2018 — Felix Villarreal

Felix VillarrealA nominator stated, “Felix has taken the initiative to spearhead various projects while effectively communicating with the rest of the Pride Center team. For example, he continuously presents to organizations and or students while asking questions... showing his eagerness to learn more. Not to mention, being with the PRC for 3 years, he creates spaces for the passing down of knowledge to new Pride Center staff, while fostering a space for learning, vulnerability, and community. Furthermore, he has provided the PRC with an intersectional perspective to further advocate and connect with the Deaf community in CSUN and the greater San Fernando Valley. For example, he has created one of our monthly events, Deaf Queer Coffee, that provides a space for the signing community. He believes that one must create spaces for the students we serve when such spaces do not exist. Moreover, he has initiated our annual Deaf Queer Fest, which is relatively new to our CSUN community that further advocates for the Deaf community at a larger scale. He continuously strives for not only bettering himself but also the experience of students at our Pride Center and beyond. His welcoming energy transcends beyond our comprehension. He hones the principles of our Pride Center to value our students.”

September 2018 — Kat Hawley

Kat HawleyA nominator stated:

“Since the spring 2018 departure of many of our senior graphic artists, Kat Hawley has stepped up in her role to produce high quality design and graphics. She recently completed the deliverables for the Fall 2018 Matador Nights marketing campaign, which is as complex a campaign as it gets, yet she handled it with relative ease. Her sense of professionalism combined with an ability to listen to her colleagues and interpret the client’s needs was key to the success of the campaign.

She also serves as an exceptional role model for many of our newer employees, always engaged at work with a positive attitude and eager to learn and grow as a designer. She asks critical questions in order to produce her best work. She was also recently honored with our department’s highly-coveted “Marketing Genius” award based on her friendly personality, strong relationships with her coworkers and their view of her as a leader in the department. It is clear recognition from other students of their appreciation for the great things she brings to our Marketing team. Kat's readily apparent professionalism and design skills will also make her highly valued in her career after graduation.”

August 2018 — Adan Govea

 Adan Govea“Adan, while also being a senior with has a heavy class load, does a lot not just for the maintenance department, but for other departments as well. He continuously fixes things around the Union and is routinely involved in the maintenance of the SRC, Oasis, and other places around the USU. He also delivers packages once he has completed his manual labor. Moreover, he assists me with paper work and some of my other duties, especially when I get busier than usual. I was extremely busy the day before Matador Nights due to people checking out carts, the truck, and maintenance equipment (i.e. ladders). I have the duty of acquiring payroll checks from Physical Plant Management every other Thursday, which fell the day before Matador Nights; but, I was unable to leave my post. If it were not for Adan I do not know what I would have done. He was prompt and went to Physical Plant Management to acquire checks so I could get them to Joe within a reasonable time. He is always prompt and he alerts us when he needs to take a day off or when he needs time to study. He is extremely helpful. He really is a jack of all trades. I believe he should be the employee of the month due to all his years of service to not just the Maintenance department but to the USU as a whole. He is bright and deserving of this honor.”

August 2018 — Tori Lawler

Tori LawlerA nominator stated, “There is no single event or act that has made Tori deserving of the Student Assist of the Month recognition. Rather, it is a culmination of two years of consistently exceeding expectations, giving back to the USU, and genuinely caring about the welfare of her fellow SAEs.

Tori joined the USU in August 2016 at the entry-level position of Student Meeting Room Crew Member. In this position she quickly showed her dedication and ability to go above and beyond by regularly providing assistance and support to the shift Leads, ensure that the best quality of work was delivered to the guests of the USU.

After almost a year in the MRC position, Tori applied for and was selected as the Student Operations Assistant helping to supervise the MRCs and shift Leads, and in this position she has continued to excel. On top of the job responsibilities, which she manages with ease, she has presented at two Student Summits as an OA. These summit presentations were on topics not regularly addressed in our society, to open dialogue and increase awareness in our student population. Both of these presentations were received incredibly well, and one was even shared with the USU professional staff.

Additionally, Tori’s continued care for her coworkers has contributed to a strong sense of family with the MRCs and shift Leads. This has increased staff morale, resulting in higher quality of work, decrease in call outs, and the SAEs feeling more confident at CSUN because they have a reliable support group in their USU coworkers.

Lastly, on top of school and work, Tori is volunteering her time by serving on the Conference Planning Team for the 2018 ACUI Region I conference.

For these reasons I strongly believe Tori is deserving of the Student Assistant Employee of the Month award.”

March 2018 — Johnny Hernandez

Johnny HernandezA nominator stated, “Recently Johnny was working when his shift lead had to leave due to a medical reason. In the shift leads absence, and the absence of their supervisor, Johnny stepped up and covered the work load of both roles ensuring all set ups were completed correctly and before their deadline. While Johnny did handle this one situation flawlessly, it is only one situation. However, it truly is indicative of Johnny's work ethic and both his coworkers and supervisors ability to trust and rely on him.

Johnny is a Student Meeting Room Crew Member, which is an entry level position. Despite his position being entry level and Johnny not having any USU or event set up experience, he has been a hard worker who regularly exercises skills and abilities that are outside of what is expected of his role. One of the skills that is not expected of him, but that he has shown great strength in is critical thinking. Regularly on set up shifts the shift leads are faced with many critical thinking challenges ranging from determining the most efficient way to complete all set ups, to tracking all of our equipment to know where to get more when they are short for some set ups. These are challenges that Johnny has regularly suggested solutions to and assisted resolve despite it being outside of his role expectations and his shift leads have expressed gratitude for his resourcefulness and input on shift.”

In conclusion, Johnny Hernandez has been a strong addition to his team for quite some time, and his recent performance without a shift lead, in my eyes, has made him deserving of the Student Assistant Employee Of The Month award.”

March 2018 —Mike Valdes

Mike ValdesA nominator stated, “Mike truly makes the Oasis team better! He goes above and beyond for members, providers, coworkers, and his supervisor. For example, Mike always has a laptop and key ready for the massage therapists when they come in & knows which laptop they prefer. He knows how each meditation and yoga instructor like the room set up (lighting & all) and even prepares equipment for each attendee in advance. Mike has even gone out of his way to switch shifts to ensure he was here on a day a family from London was coming to tour the facility, since he was the one who spoke to them on the phone.

At the end of February, Mike was promoted to Wellness Center Building Manager after being a Wellness Center Assistant for less than a year. He was so grateful and humble with the transition and his buy-in with the facility is exceptional. Another way Mike has shown initiative is by presenting the Oasis budget to the Management team alongside his supervisor and Operations Assistant. His professionalism and preparation during the process and the day of the presentation showed how much growth has happened in such little time. He owns his job like no other. Lastly, Mike is know as the Oasis pro-folder. He can fold the bulky furniture covers and blankets perfectly and has made others want to replicate him. Mike is always at least 30 minutes early to his shift, completes tasks before being asked, and has picked up additional shifts to cover the gaps. 300 words is not enough to explain Mike's exemplary service and work ethic to the Oasis & the USU. All I can say is that I've been blessed in being his supervisor this far!”

February 2018 — Bryan Rosales

Bryan Rosales“Although Bryan has been a model employee since hired in 2012 and continues exemplify and uphold the values of the USU, recently he has taken more initiative in his new role as a Student Personal Trainer and has risen as a leader to his peers and members of the Student Recreation Center. One of the things I appreciate about Bryan is his love for learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He has a drive and a passion to develop himself both professionally and personally and jumps at opportunities when they arise. For example, Bryan recently volunteered and co-presented three (3) different Fitness & Wellness workshops as part of Learn the Basics and Fit in 6 programs titled, "Health Tips: What to Buy When Grocery Shopping", "Healthy Eating: What to Eat When Eating Out" and "Exercise Nutrition". Each workshop was designed to educate participants on the importance of proper nutrition and offered practical strategies to help them achieve their goals through nutrition. In addition, Bryan maintains a positive, collaborative and professional attitude work. He truly understands the USU and strives to deliver each day he comes to work. As a result and based on his recent performance, I believe Bryan is well deserving of the Student Assistant of the Month award and has a full recommendation.”

February 2018 — Rafael Pineda

Cristina TerrazasA nominator stated, “Mr. Pineda has been a Clerical Assistant II in the Department of Administration for nearly two years. As a man of great integrity who seeks no glory or adulation, he is a servant leader whose reward is simply knowing that he makes a difference. He is the lead student assistant in the USU Department of Administration where he has been trusted with great amounts of confidential information, as well as responsibility for the document storage, retention and destruction processes; research, presentation creation, and the training and development of new student assistants. With no prodding and no need for micromanagement, he gets the work done and done well. He has demonstrated a strong ability to train others by providing them with context and examples that make the instructions clear. He is responsible for creating the monthly Executive Director's report that is presented to the Board of Directors, supporting the executive director with managing documents for two graduate courses, and conducting research for corporate initiatives. In addition, he strives to improve most aspects of his own performance because he competes against his last achievement. He has a laser-like focus and thrives on accomplishment. I cannot say enough things about this remarkable young man who has provided an unwavering commitment to the department, its mission and self-improvement.”

January 2018 — Cristina Terrazas

Cristina TerrazasA nominator stated, "Cristina epitomizes the model Computer Lab Tech and is a true asset to the Computer Lab. Since her hiring exactly 1 year ago, she has gone above and beyond in finding ways to improve herself while giving back to the lab and the USU. A great example of this is how she took the initiative to apply for and teach a January Student Summit workshop for all USU employees. She has also volunteered to be on the hiring committee during this month when we were searching for new Computer Lab Technicians. Finally, Cristina rose to the challenge set by the Computer Lab Coordinator to participate in a new internal Software Education Program. Her progress in this program far exceeds her fellow CLTs and has earned her the departmental title of ‘Word Specialist’. Through her personal work ethic, versatile knowledge, and drive to support others, Cristina consistently assists her coworkers with individual projects or any problem that they might face.

Cristina is currently a Senior, set to graduate by the end of this semester. Outside of the USU, she is also heavily involved in her Sorority, her internship, taking 17 units and maintaining an outstanding GPA. Despite her tough and packed schedule, she always comes to work with a positive and energetic attitude has met and surpassed all the expectations of her job duties working at the Computer Lab.”

January 2018 — Ambar Rodriguez

Ambar RodriguezA nominator stated, “I would like to nominate Ambar Rodriguez because she has really demonstrated exemplary service and upheld the values of the USU this January 2018. She is always observed as working extra hard in her role as Fitness Assistant Lead by providing the best service for the SRC members by keeping all fitness zones clean and safe, and effectively executing all job duties. Ambar also holds all of the student staff she supervises on shift accountable for providing the best service for members.

This past January 2018, she took the initiative to ask for feedback from Professional staff members in and out of the fitness and wellness department. Ambar accepted all feedback with an ambition to excel and do better. Specifically when observing her in January, I noticed her behavior and demeanor was not only professional but it was that of a role model and leader in the department. Additionally, Ambar excelled during the department's training week by assisting with presenting to her peers and really engaging herself in all of the trainings by actively participating. 

December 2017 — Kevin Aguilar

Kevin AguilarA nominator stated, “Kevin has demonstrated an incredibly hard work ethic when it comes to getting his tasks done and is always in a cheerful mood either when working with patrons or along with his coworkers. His supervisors have put a lot of trust in him to train many of our new hires during his two years at the lab. He definitely knows how to make any situation that he comes across with to be comfortable for everyone involved. Kevin is currently a Senior studying CIT and is in his last semester at CSUN. His enthusiasm has remained consistent throughout his tenure working at the Computer Lab He has sat on the interview committee to help hire new employees and has volunteered to train them with the knowledge he has acquired during his two years working at the Lab. 

December 2017 — Christine Aroutounians

Christine AroutouniansA nominator stated, “I am nominating Christine Aroutounians, Student Business Assistant, Human Resources for Student Assistant Employee of the Month. Throughout her short time in the department, Christine has shown determination and dedication to bring her best self to the workplace each day. She works tirelessly and passionately each day to improve systems within the Human Resources department here at the USU. She has worked very hard at overhauling and organizing our volunteer and Defensive Driver Programs. Christine has fearlessly dived head-first into managing our department budget, where she has effortlessly implemented new tracking systems that will help our department better manage this function for years to come. Whether assisting with events or special projects, she does not hesitate to assist the department with whatever or whomever is in need. Christine is a great addition to the organization and very deserving of this award.”

November 2017 — Sandra Donoyan

Sandra DonoyanA nominator stated, “Sandra has been an extremely vital resource for the Membership Services department over the last few months, and especially November. For one reason or another, we were very short staffed to start the semester. Sandra reviewed hundreds of applications for the Membership Services Assistant (MSA) position, sat in on numerous MSA interviews, conducted reference checks, and trained 10 new MSAs. In addition to this, she helped hire 4 new Membership Services Leads, worked shifts at the front desk, and went above and beyond to ensure that the best service was provided by the department despite being short staffed. It is a pleasure to nominate Sandra Donoyan for Student Assistant Employee of the month, it is long overdue”.

November 2017 — Ourfa Mousakhanian

Ourfa MousakhanianA nominator stated, “It is with great pleasure to submit this nomination for Ourfa Mousakhani for her outstanding work as a Student Accounting Assistant. For the past two years, Ourfa has distinguished herself as a professional. The skills Ourfa has acquired and developed enabled her to stay on top of her tasks, completing all the assignments on time, and ensuring that the work is thorough and accurate; whilst training new SAE’s, and extending a helping hand to her co-workers during a very busy months for our department. Ourfa has worked longer hours to run and distribute financial reports, and create purchase orders. She was willing to help anyone without hesitation. Ourfa assisted the SRC Facilities department employee to resolve budget discrepancies by running the reports, identifying, analyzing and finding solutions to problems. She took the initiative to scan the Purchase Orders and email to department managers. Ourfa always had a positive attitude and constantly showed passion and excitement in all she did. She continuously seeks more opportunities to help her grow and benefit. As a University Ambassador, Ourfa welcomes prospective students, facilitates campus tours, and promotes CSUN pride. She exhibited outstanding professionalism and represented the USU while accepting the internship at Goldman Sachs. Ourfa has proven herself as a role-model for other employees, as a responsible and assertive leader, and I believe that she deserves to be recognized as the Student Assistant of the Month”.

October 2017 — Joseph Rivas

Joseph RivasA nominator stated, “Joseph deserves this award because he showcases the USU and the SRC in such a way that two already enjoyable places on campus become much more exciting solely based on the work ethic and attitude of this one person. He creates a welcoming and engaging environment in which anyone would feel happy to be a part of. I've seen this individual at their workplace doing the best they can at providing the most enjoyable experience for its members as well as the staff. They will go out of their way to find information for someone regardless of what it may be, and do so with haste as well as, a gregarious attitude throughout the entirety of the interaction. Even while off shift, he'll help people who approach him with questions about the facility or his duties and answer them to the best of his ability while remaining engaging and interested regardless of what he was occupied with. Quite honestly this person makes it a joy to come to work every day, because I know they will make the best out of any situation, and will always leave a positive impression around those he has connected with. I've heard patrons of the facility openly converse about this person about how he makes the SRC an enjoyable place to frequent. A few instances in particular that I've noticed in which they've demonstrated the mission and values of the USU is actually from feedback of the members and patrons themselves. People have been so inspired by his attitude and motivation that they themselves have created goals and are working to achieve them because his motivation motivates them. They want to learn more about different types of exercises and classes that take place at the SRC as well as what they can do to be more involved with the USU community. This individual is an exceptional view of what a representative of the USU and SRC should be”.

October 2017 — Jefferson Martin

Jefferson MartinA nominator stated, “I work in the Marketing department, so walking into the Sol Center is always a quick clock in/clock out. The Sol Center front desk is the first and last thing I see every shift at the USU. Jeff ALWAYS goes above and beyond, not just for me but everyone he sees. This is unanimous, he always has a smile on his face, is helpful, and makes everyone feel welcome. Jeff really adds character and positivity to the Sol Center for employees and students alike, particularly stressful times in the semester. I believe Jeff deserves this award.”

September 2017 — Emery Hernandez

Emery HernandezA nominator stated, “Emery has only been with the USU for six months, but has made a tremendous impact. First, she assisted with updating and improving the USU's Contract & Risk Management process revising the following documents: Contract for Artistic Services, Contract for Professional & General Services, Contract for IT Vendor Services, Terms of Reservations Agreement, Risk Assessment, Insurance Requirements for General Service Providers, Customized the IRIC (Insurance Requirements in Contracts Manual) to the USU’s specific risk management requirements. Emery updated the Contracts & Risk Management PowerPoint to provide the Events department with a customized training session. She presented at the training session and provided Events with their own Contracts & Risk Mgmt digital binder. She also has been a key player in the implementation of Concur. Emery has provided individual training to all AMEX credit cardholders and delegates on how to process a credit card expense report in Concur. This has resulted in an increase in business efficiency in the gradual decline in the number of purchase orders, vendor invoices, and vendor payments due to the increase in credit card purchases. Need I say more?”

September 2017 — Scott Teves

Scott TevesA nominator stated, “Scott has been with the organization since 2015. He started as a Boxing Fitness Assistant and later got promoted to the position he has now which is Boxing Supervisor. In this position, Scott has been able to take responsibility of the Boxing Training Program. Scott is a very skilled and adaptable in all type of situations. I like that Scott is always looking for new ways to improve the Boxing Training Program. During winter and summer of 2017 Scott was able to create and execute the Boxing Supplemental Training week and the Emergency Procedures Training day with very minimal supervision. He is passionate about the work he does with his staff and is always looking for ways to keep them engage and accountable. During training week, Scott was asked to present about the Boxing Training Program, however he took it a step further by creating a music video. Scott has received so much recognition and praise from staff and co-workers about his video but most importantly, he was able to introduce the information and keep his peer attention by thinking "outside the box". This is just one of the many ways Scott has contributed to our department and to the organization. Scott has discipline and he is able to influence other people to be better, and that's why he is a great employee and supervisor.”

October 2018 — Andres Sepulveda

Andres SepulvedaA nominator stated, “Andres stands out as a leader in the department, and the SRC as a whole, because of his work ethic, diligence, and ability to be a team player. Andres uses his experience working in the Oasis Wellness Center to build team moral and focus towards efficiency and integrity. His professionalism and appreciation for others was noted early on, which is where he was qualified for the Fitness Assistant Lead position a few month after being hired as a Fitness Assistant. He often makes suggestions for improvements within the facility to not only help our inter-department, but also facility operations and membership services.

Andres always asks for extra projects to assist professional Fitness and Wellness staff. He oversees and edits the department page for the Fitness Assistants. He revamped it to include birthdays, strengthsquest talent themes, useful work-related link, and even a Workout of the Week. His recent assistance with equipment inventory was extremely valuable as we have a large upcoming replacement this January.

When working with Andres, his coworkers have stated that "he's always on it" and makes a good role model for new student assistant employee staff. There is no doubt that Andres is a hard-working, motivated individual who has overcome adversity with grace this past year. He deserves this award because he gives great service to members, his coworkers, and all who cross his path.”

August 2017 — Katie Gumberg

Katie GumbergA nominator stated, “Katie just transitioned from being the Student Events Assistant to the Student Operations Assistant within the Fitness Programs department. In both roles, she demonstrates professionalism, a hard work ethic, and flexibility. As the events assistant, she took on large programs within the SRC like I Work Out and recruited staff volunteers, organized prizes, challenges, and also ran statistics. During the event, everything that was not going her way did not stop her from putting on a fabulous final challenge event for our members. She stepped up to take on the challenge of the Operations Assistant's job duties (dealing with purchases, budget, etc.) and still assists her supervisor with events, since the position is now vacant. Her resiliency is admirable. She tends to keep to herself in the office, but is always open to greet anyone that comes to her for help. Outside of her employment, she is involved with her sorority and works with children with disabilities and horses. She's a gem and I hope she feels valued here at the SRC.”

August 2017 — Royal Empero

Royal Empero portraitA nominator stated, “As winner of our outstanding employee USB award, Royal has gone above and beyond her duties as a computer lab technician, teaching a plethora of our new hires how to the be true USU employees and role models for students that use our services. Her charisma and work ethic brightens the lab every day.”

July 2017 — Pulido

PulidoA nominator stated, “After eventful Spring semesters in the USU, the dust tends to settle during the Summer when Student Assistant Employees have the time and space to catch up on projects and even prepare for new ones coming in the Fall. Michael “Pulido” Pulido has definitely rose to the occasion this July 2017. As the Transgender Resources lead for the Pride Center, Pulido has worked diligently planning for Trans Awareness Week (TAW), a weeklong program which aims to educate students and attendees about the transgender community, gender, and show solidarity in alignment with the Transgender Day of Remembrance. In July, Pulido has accomplished a majority of the planning needed to tackle such a largescale event; usually the planning for this program begins at the start of the fall semester. Pulido work can be described as “intentional,” for example, dedicating this year’s TAW to Transgender women of color who have been murdered this past year. Pulido has initiated collaborations with other units on campus, including the Women’s Research & Resource Center as well as the Veterans Resource Center to provide more awareness and access to TAW to students outside of the Pride Center. This July, he has balanced work with other roles including serving on the Student Summit Presentation Team. Pulido is a role model to others in the department. Other students in our department have commented that Pulido is a pleasure to collaborate with for various Pride Center projects. Pulido can do it all!”

July 2017 — Natalie Santoyo

Nathalie SantoyoA nominator stated, “Natalie Santoyo is long overdue to be recognized as SAE of the month. As we completed the fiscal year reports and metrics in July, Natalie has supported the USU in creating, planning, administering, and analyzing assessments in record numbers. Her exemplary work has expanded the methodology of assessments we have been able to do in the department. In July, she has been entrusted by her supervisor and department manager to create a training program for our new SAE to seamlessly transition once she leaves by the end of the summer after her successful graduation. Within the comprehensive training, she includes activities and unique approaches that are both creative and fun for new employees to learn. Furthermore, Natalie has continued to provide quality reports in assessment. In designing assessment measures for various new, as well as continuing programs, she assures departments that we are assisting that the data and analysis presented would assist departments in achieving their goals or initiatives while informing their practice in how they can best improve both their services and programs. Specifically in July, while I had additional work obligations out of the office, she took the lead and displayed her autonomous leadership by completing the assessment cycle for numerous programs with little direction or supervision needed. I was able to return to the office with full confidence that excellence was the norm while I was away.”

June 2017 — Giselle Reyes

Giselle ryesA nominator stated, “Giselle has been an outstanding employee for a long time now, and I feel she is deserving of this award. For the past year, Giselle has volunteered to take part in the New Employee Orientation program provided to new hires of the USU and has put a great deal of effort into the reinvention of this program. As an MSS, Giselle is constantly serving as a resource for new hires, always taking the extra time to address any questions or concerns they might have. She has done a particularly outstanding job of this with our most recent group of new hires and it was very evident when that group was on their own for the first time this month. Giselle also has a strong voice when it comes to our department, always speaking up and encouraging others to ensure they are staying on task, enforcing policies and doing their best. Outside of the SRC, Giselle also works with NSO, which is no small time commitment. Despite her many outside commitments, Giselle is still able to give her all to the USU and the SRC, and it is my pleasure to nominate her for USU Employee of the Month.”

June 2017 — Raul Ayala

Raul AyalaA nominator stated, “Raul is a very hard working person. He was assigned to upgrade all the slow Mac computers in the Marketing department and was able to do the task all by himself successfully. He was involved in several projects like the union-wide rollout of Windows 10, an upgrade of all Win 7 computers to Win 10; The Sunny Days camp computer installation project; Computer Lab project, just to name a few. He is the type that gets the work done always on time and beyond expectation. He always gets to work on time and finishes all his assigned work "successfully" on time. He seems to be a quiet type and a deep thinker, but he always comes up with ideas and solutions when troubleshooting technical issues. He is also very conscientious to provide excellent service to others and diligently work accordingly. He is also very respectful to all his co-workers, patrons and everyone in the campus. He deserves to be recognized for these excellent traits, which are aligned with the USU mission and values. Kudos to Raul!”

May 2017 — Cindy Katepahsuke

Cindy KatepahsukeA nominator stated, “Cindy is the prefect example for this nomination. Cindy works 20 hours a week working on over 40-50 events, belongs to the University Ambassadors Program and is going full time to school. She always gives a sense of leadership in the office, without using the title. She is also great with our guests. One time she had a guest who came in and wanted to know about booking the Northridge Center. She sat with them, gave them all the information about how it starts to how it ends and even gave them a walk-thorugh of the building itself. She always goes above and beyond, working with supervisors and asking questions to make sure she is always on point when a question comes her way. I think the greatest thing she exudes is leadership. Leadership is something the USU really loves and uses every day. She‘s the go-to student assistant when a supervisor isn‘t there and she makes sure that her events run smoothly and that the guests know everything about the smallest of things, including chairs and tables. I thank her for everything she has taught me!”

May 2017 — Saul Montes

Saul MontesA nominator stated, “It is a pleasure to nominate Saul Montes as student assistant of the month. Our staff members count on Saul for filing, to prepare worksheets, pull invoices, journal, purchase order or anything else needed. We even have a ticket system for Saul because he is on high demand. Saul always offers the service with a smile and works hard not to disappoint on the task he was given by the staff member. On multiple occasions, I have heard that Saul is asked to do different favors, either lock up a journal or purchase order, Saul rapidly accomplishes the task and people leave happy with his service. Saul is very respectful and professional. These small things make a huge difference because it relieves unnecessary stress and we can focus on getting our job done quicker and with minimal distractions. During our Audits, Saul is the student who is running around and securing the files the auditor has requested. This is a huge help because the staff still have their normal duties to accomplish and closing the fiscal year. Saul has been a tremendous resource to our department and we couldn‘t be as efficient without him.”

April 2017 — Sergio Avila

Sergio AvilaA nominator stated, “Having joined our team almost a year ago, Sergio Avila has continuously served within our department with great joy, dignity, diligence and gratitude for the opportunities and development that the University Student Union has provided for him. Our department has received great feedback from others on Sergio‘s hardworking ethic. He has been recognized for the constant joy, laughter and smiles that he brings during every single one of his shifts. It is as if bad days simply do not exist for Sergio and because of his enormous, never ceasing positivity, it makes our jobs even that much more enjoyable working alongside him. Sergio Avila has truly grasped onto the concept of ‘team work’. Regularly, he will jump at any small or big chance that he has to assist his fellow co-workers when they could us an extra hand. Sergio goes above and beyond his job as a Student Meeting Room Crew Lead as he continuously takes on new projects that his supervisor asks of him and will always lend a hand to our Audio/Visual Technicians. He leads his team and works with others with great responsibility, excitement and respect. It is with great pleasure and honor that I nominate Sergio Avila for the April Student Assistant Employee of the Month. As an upcoming graduating senior, Sergio is truly a prominent asset of the team that will truly be missed.”

April 2017 — Oyinemi “Nesta” Okoro

Oyinemi "Nesta" OkoroA nominator stated, “Nesta is such an incredible person that works hard every day to better himself and others. During the month of April, he applied/was promoted to the Student Fitness Assistant Supervisor position. His positive personality uplifts every single person he comes in contact with. He is a definite superstar that knows how to learn from mistakes and help others learn from theirs. He volunteered for the Strong Matador Challenge at the SRC and even participated even though he was ineligible to receive a prize. He was really great at encouraging others to do their best during the challenge. Since the start of his employment with us, he has received numerous affirmations at the SRC Appreciation Station. Every time we update the theme, sure enough — there is a new shout out for Nesta. Nesta regularly works the 5:50 a.m. shift at the SRC in the training zones without complaining. Overall, he is a great, hardworking employee that values his employment and education.”

March 2017 — Armen Aghabekov

Armen AghabekovA nominated stated, “Working with Armen has been a privilege ever since he first started over a year and a half ago. He still to this day maintains his desire to work and make everyone’s time at work amazing, with co-workers as well as the patrons. On a daily basis, you’ll see Armen going over the top in his duties as a lifeguard such as working with his students to accommodate best times for their swim lessons, being proactive in achieving more such as recently receiving his health and safety instructor certification, or being proactive on the needs of swimmers at the pool by creating a great environment to swim or relax. Armen also goes beyond anyone I have seen with his co-workers, going out of his way to get coffee for the aquatics office or taking a snack to a co-working during their break. Armen is an amazing worker and great person. All these reasons and many more are why Armen should receive this award.”

March 2017 — Tina Jensen Kronqvist

Tina Jensen KronqvistA nominator stated, “I wholeheartedly nominate Tina Jensen Kronqvist for SAE of the Month! Tina is a quiet, analytical leader who makes her presence known by who she is an what she accomplishes. For example:

  • Made the Annual Budget Planning Meeting packet into a wonderful and colorful user-friendly document, which received positive staff feedback.
  • Arranges and prepares the minutes for the Finance Committee, Audit Committee, Business Efficiencies Work Team Committee and Accounting & Finance department meetings.
  • Converted the “Insurance Requirements in Contracts” into a Publisher document, which we can now use as an efficient training tool for staff who are involved in the contract process.

Tina is very flexible and adaptable and is able to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Like a tennis match, I keep serving up multiple assignments and she keeps serving them back completed in no time! She wins the match every time. I love that! She is truly a shining example of the USU values of Collaboration (coordinating meetings and disseminating information); Accountability (punctual, finishes assignments by the deadline); Learning (continually express interest in learning things); and Fun. Tina is an individual that all her colleagues in Accounting & Finance highly respect.”

February 2017 — Nelsy Valdez

Nelsy ValdezA nominator stated: “It is with great pleasure that I submit this nomination to recognize Nelsy Valdez for her outstanding work as a Student Marketing Assistant. In her time here, she has quickly distinguished herself as a young professional who is filled with passion, enthusiasm and enjoyment. Nelsy has the daunting task of managing the timely distribution of all printed flyers, posters, A-frames, banners, lawn signs and all other distribution efforts. During the month of February, she was able to go above and beyond her regular job duties and extend a helping hand to her coworkers and supervisor. February was a very busy month for our department, but Nelsy was able to stay on top of her tasks, while training our new Marketing Assistant, assisting our social media team and planning and executing numerous tabling events. Anyone in our department can tell you that Nelsy is known to embrace initiatives, collaborate with other USU departments and deliver outstanding work. I have great respect for Nelsy as an individual and young professional and am confident that she is deserving of this award.”

February 2017 — Christopher Dominguez

Christopher DominguezA nominator stated, “Chris has been such an asset to the Oasis. He demonstrates his five StrengthsQuest themes daily. As Chris was tabling at Student Housing, he realized there was something missing. He spoke to his supervisor about needing a visual aid at the table, so he took it upon himself to put together a PowerPoint with pictures and short video clips of the facility. Having this PowerPoint enhanced the tabling experience and allowed students who have never visited the Oasis to see what it looked like and left them in awe. His sense of humor, positive energy, great work ethic and selflessness are a few of the qualities that make Chris loved by all. On Feb. 13, there was a code blue at the Oasis during Chris’s shift. He worked side by side with the other assistants and supervisor on shift to ensure proper procedures were followed and the safety of the member was a priority. Chris has strong communication and customer service skills that make him a joy to work with. Since he started last summer, he has gone above and beyond for the Oasis. Chris truly deserves employee of the month.”

January 2017 — Emmanuel Garcia

Manny GarciaA nominator stated, “Manny has been an exceptional asset to our team. Each day, he pays careful attention to the needs of our student veterans by responding to emails sent to the VRC and listening to students’ concerns. During the Fall 2016 semester, the VRC staff was a t full capacity in our workload and short staffed. During this challenging time, Manny went above and beyond his typical duties by taking the lead on critical events such as, We Heart Our Veterans Week, Academic Advisement Dinner and VRC Family Fun Day. In addition to planning these events, Manny brought the need for a Vocational Rehab and Disability Claims workshop to the attention of the VRC staff and fully coordinated our first ever workshop with our local Vet Center to help educate student veterans. Perhaps the biggest project Manny worked on that has proven to be pertinent to the success of our student veterans is our first ever Student Veteran Orientation during the winter semester. As a spring admit student himself, Manny saw a great need for hosting an orientation in the spring. He worked diligently to plan the entire winter Student Veteran Orientation and due to his hard work, eighteen student veterans were able to enter the spring semester prepared for success at CSUN. Manny is extremely deserving of the Student Employee of the Month recognition not only for his tremendous work ethic, but also advocacy for the veteran community as a whole.”

January 2017 — Jocelyn Canales & Chrys Macaraeg

Jocelyn Canales & Chrys MacaraegA nominator stated, “I received a great compliment from Yukiko Bryant on behalf of the IEP program about the entire AV Team back in December. She was nice enough to follow up with an email specifically thanking Jocelyn and Chrys fro their work and attention to detail at many of their events. One thing that stuck out to me about her words was that she, her staff and students recognize the AV Techs by name from morning shifts in their classes assisting with rooms and at their many events. Specifically she commented on Jocelyn and Chrys being very happy to help and accommodate their late requests and lack of production preparedness. She said, ‘Your staff jumped right in to assist. I hate to use the word ”assist“, because they took great care of us and made sure that we had everything we needed. They handled all the different music formats, a computer (ours) that decided to crash, and dozens of questions and requests wrapped in at least five different accents combined with English language skills from almost fluent to almost none. We will be back again next semester!’ Jocelyn and Chrys have built a relationship with the IEP program as a whole, not just a singular event. This speaks volumes for what RES has been trying to do and this team has embodied it to the fullest.”

November 2016 — Jake Sohngen

Jake SohngenA nominator stated, “Jake has gone above and beyond in many aspects. He was closing on October 19th when there was a water leak above the printer. He handled that situation appropriately and delegated tasks to mitigate the situation. With the help of the assistants they moved the printer and placed buckets under the ceiling. Second, Jake served on the interview panel for assistant interviews, showing professionalism and critical thinking during that process. Lastly, Jake showed initiative by updating the inventory excel sheet. He went above and beyond by adding equations and rules to the document. Jake has been with the Wellness Center since the start and has shown continuous dedication to this department.”

November 2016 — Alfredo Padilla

Alfredo PadillaA nominator stated, “Alfredo stepped into this position last spring and since then has been diligently working hard to learn all procedures and execute his supervisor's visions and department expectations to the best of his abilities. He is very skilled and adaptable in all types of situations. He always tries to provide solutions for issues or concerns. I appreciate that Alfredoalways takes initiative to help out when needed by being willing to take on new projects and then working well under pressure. During this past month, we had a large volume of new clients and Alfredo worked hard to make sure all of the trainers he supervises were prepared to meet with clients and had the proper documentation to perform their jobs. Even with this increase in new clients to manage, he made himself available to the staff he supervises. He even assisted with additional events, such as Matador Nights and Welcome to Wellness, even with the heavy school and work load. He has been a tremendous help to all areas in the fitness and wellness department this past month and every month since he began employment and he deserves to be recognized for his hard work.”

October 2016 — Christopher Lansdown

 Christopher LansdownA nominator stated, “Christopher has proven himself to be such a prominent aspect within his department.  He has undertaken training new employees as a member of the training committee, while taking such pride in working within the USU & following all of their policies to the tee. He is a ball of great knowledge. Not only does he execute his thorough understand of his position, but also assists others in different positions within the department in answering their questions. Christopher truly understands the dynamic of working with a team as he will immediately jump in to help other AV techs or the crew who is setting up the rooms for events. AV Techs get so many last minute add-ons and he always stays cool under pressure and is very understanding and will complete those tasks without hesitation. He continuously comes into every shift full of positivity and shows his true love for all things audio & visual. These are things we never think about because he is always behind the scenes going above and beyond to get the job done to keep the guests very happy. We work with the same guests on daily basis and I have definitely had guests ask about him and they just go on telling of how helpful and kind he was during their previous visit. Christopher's sincere love for his job, his joy, his desire to continuously put others before him, humility, kindness and laughter are just a few assets that he provides that make us so pleased to work alongside him.”

October 2016 — Weston Cannon

Weston CannonA nominator stated, “This month, the staff of the Veterans Resource Center would like to nominateWeston Cannon, TSS Assistant for Student Assistant of the Month. In his abilities as a TSS Assistant, he has conducted himself in the utmost professional manner while performing his duties in assisting the VRC to achieve maximum efficacy all while maintaining a high level of customer service. Weston’s ability to reconfigure email connects and printer access, assisted the VRC in reaching the 700+ veterans we serve. Weston’s work has been instrumental in assisting us to properly communicate time sensitive information regarding our programs and services to military connected students at CSUN. His ability to go the extra mile and not only solve a problem, but train others with patience really demonstrates his commitment to his work. Weston’s analytical thinking and attention to detail for data maintenance, greatly improved the productivity and efficiency of Workstation Systems by identifying significant problems affecting the installation of the virtual network and developing solutions for these problems. Within a short time, he has been able to meet the needs of the Veteran Resource Center with exceptional technical expertise, personal initiative, and outstanding customer service. He has brought great credit on himself and setting the standard of University Student Union Employees.”

September 2016 —Tania Dominquez

Tania DominquezA nominator stated, “Over the past month, I have had to pleasure of observing Tania fully come into her own and perform at her fullest potential during the planning of our most recent installment of Matador Nights. Not only did Tania plan and execute one of our most successful installments to date, but did so almost flawlessly and better planned than any before her. Additionally, Tania was able to effectively lead the USU Events team by remaining a figure of inspiration and by recognizing and relying on the strengths of her colleagues. Tania has come so far from the girl who was afraid to answer the phone when she began employment with us a year ago, to the one who led one of our largest and most successful events to date for thousands of students. USU Events is so lucky and grateful to have such a dedicated and talented person like Tania as part of our team!”

September 2016 —Thomas Kee

Thomas KeeA nominator stated, “Over the past year, Thomas has demonstrated a commitment to growth as a professional and has played a key role in many vital projects in the Veterans Resource Center. Thomas not only performs his job duties well as an individual, but holds value to being a team player as well. One example of him being a strong team player is the way he balances his roles of being a US Army Reserve and VRC Student Assistant.  As the VRC Resources Lead, Thomas has played a critical role in working towards the completion of our Annual Department Goal of assessing the needs of student veterans specifically in the areas of extreme financial hardship, food insecurity and housing instability. In order to assess these challenges in the student veteran community, Thomas developed a Resources Needs Assessment and was able to collect pertinent data on what resources CSUN student veterans need most. Also, Thomas has demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the University Student Union by challenging himself in an area he had little previous experience exploring- diversity. In an effort to grow in this area and serve on a Union-wide committee, Thomas has participated in the Inclusive Language Campaign Committee to strategize new ways to implement inclusive excellence in the USU.”

August 2016 — Harmony Salazar

Harmony SalazarA nominator stated, “Mary has been an incredible coworker and role model for a new employee like myself. Coming in on my first few weeks, she not only helped me, but other new employees learn and understand our job functions more clearly. Her attitude and professionalism is something that resonates within the office and gives us employees someone to proudly follow. She is a natural leader. Mary also planned and executed a successful Matafest while helping plan a variety of other USU Events at the same time.Her spirit and personality make her easy to work with as she motivates everyone around her to work even harder. She makes coming to work more enjoyable.”

August 2016 — Mary Ferris

Mary FerrisA nominator stated, “Harmony has consistently proven to be SAE of the month. She always has a positive attitude when at work and is constantly searching for opportunities to help her grow and benefit from her job. In fact, she has developed a training committee in the USU Reservations and Event Services department where she helped the department rewrite their training manuals, establish what needs to be addressed on facility tours, and she has also assisted in hands on training and policy training. Furthermore, she is willing to help anyone without hesitation. If unable to provide a solution at the moment, she will use her resources and improvise to ensure all guests are satisfied. Throughout this semester's Student Summit, Harmony stayed engaged throughout the workshops. She plays a crucial role as a veteran in her department and has helped guide the new employees in understanding the union culture and helps train new employees

May 2016 — Joseph Rivas

Joseph RivasA nominator stated, “Joseph is my favorite Fitness Assistant Supervisor to work with. His pleasant demeanor and positive attitude in and out of work are things that I truly admire about Joseph. His transition from Fitness Assistant to Fitness Assistant Supervisor was a smooth one. He took on the extra responsibility well by learning how to work well with his now subordinates. He is able to ask for tasks to be done in a respectful manner. He leads by example before asking more of others. He is always asking questions of my department to expand his knowledge of the SRC.”

May 2016 —Lilliana Madrigal

Lilliana MadrigalA nominator stated, “Lily is deserving to be Student Assistant of the Month for May. Lily continues to excel in her role in the Human Resources department and in her work responsibilities. While I was out on a leave, she executed her responsibilities perfectly and also served as a helpful resource for the temporary staff person whom took over my position during the leave.  She is a go-getter and someone who is proactive. She recently took the initiative to research retention information. She also anticipates things that I need before I even ask her for them. Furthermore, Lily continues to serve as an incredible resource for me. During the month of May, we hired a predominately Spanish speaking staff employee. With no Spanish speaking staff in the department, Lily offered her assistance for any meetings with this new employee. She has been tremendous in helping the employee to understand the details of his employment and benefits. Lily was excited to learn more about the USU’s benefit program and really thought about the best way to go about translating the information. I met with her to go through all the benefits information before meeting with the employee and after that initial meeting, she researched the best way to explain the information and certain benefit terms in Spanish as she wanted to be as accurate and thorough as possible. Her initiative to be efficient and helpful was so much appreciated by the employee as well as me. Lastly, Lily is able to work independently and without constant supervision.  She is extremely organized and smart. You can tell she genuinely likes her job and is taking full advantage of the experience.

April 2016 — David Magana

David MaganaA nominator stated, “I highly recommend David Magana, Student Guest Services Assistant, to be the recipient of the Student Assistant of the Month award, specifically in the month of April 2016. David models an exemplary work ethic, even to USU old timers like me. In the month of April, David took on a project to update and maintain the Operations Intranet page. Not only does the Operations page have the latest pictures and information, but his Computer Programming expertise shines through here. I have even received calls at the front desk from SAEs in other departments asking if they can speak to David so they may improve their own department's Intranet page. This is true evidence that David knows how to strategically bring his soft skills and acquired skills from his coursework to the USU. In the month of April, David admirably served on the Year-End Celebration Committee as one of the Theme Chairs. During the weeks leading up to YEC, David consistently attended his meetings, brainstormed ideas with other staff, and kept everyone in our department excited about YEC. I am especially impressed with David because he has never attended a YEC in the past, yet was able towork collaboratively with the committee as a newbie and truly shine. Someone who is as jubilant, genuinely excited, and hard working as him will continue to seek out opportunities and maximize his experience while working with the USU. Considering he is a Freshman, we are all crossing our fingers that David will be here with us at the USU for many years to come. How lucky we would be!”

April 2016 — Krystal Allen

Krystal AllenA nominator stated, “Krystal Allen did a fantastic job in leading the charge to execute a fantastic Year-End Celebration. Anyone who works with Krystal knows that you cannot doubt her passion.  She is fully dedicated to every project she is a part of, and that was very present in the way she pulled together all the details for YEC. This year's celebration had so many small details and she did a great job of organizing every one; dreams, food, decorations, signage, set-up. On the day of the event, Krystal was the main person in charge of the entire reception area while I was dedicated to finishing up details for the stage show. Using the beautiful Oasis space meant that setting up could not begin until after the Oasis closed at 1:00pm. Without direct supervision from a staff member, Krystal kicked her leadership skills into high gear and kept the committee on task to ensure every last part of set-up was complete with the reception before guests arrived. There were unforeseen hiccups that occurred and Krystal used her critical thinking skills to successfully navigate each situation without constantly asking for approval. This was Krystal's first Year-End Celebration, but you would think she had led this event several times in the past. I have seen her grow so much since her time working at the Union and feel that she is deserving of being recognized as SAE of the Month for her growth and hard work.”

March 2016 — Abby Blumberg

Abby BlumbergA nominator stated, “Abby has been an exceptional employee and asset to the Intramurals Department. Her dedication to the program and the staff within is obvious to anyone and everyone that comes into contact with her. Through the USU and the SRC, she has been able to help out numerous employees with resume help, registering for classes and anything else that is thrown her way. She has encouraged many students to apply for NIRSA and continues to be a support system for them even after the conference. Abby uses her critical thinking skills to solve problems inside and outside of the office. Whenever I have a shift with her, I am always learning something new from her. She always shows excellent customer service to any patron that she encounters and she just genuinely wants to help out. When you think of the Intramurals office, you think of Abby behind the computer and keeping the office running. The department will definitely miss her as she embarks on her new journey to be a Graduate Assistant at the University of Arkansas and help other students. Thank you Abby for your years of service to the SRC, we will all miss you!”

March 2016 — Bryant Garcia

Bryant GarciaA nominator stated, “While all of his supervisors were away at the ACUI conference, Bryant stepped up to not only supervise the Student Building Managers but to also be available for the front desk Guest Services Assistants. During this time the walkway near the Dream Center and the NRC was shut down and blocked off making TSS and the clock in station unavailable to student assistants and staff. Bryant worked diligently with staff members from different departments to find a solution. He always thinks outside of the box and keeps the mission of the USU in mind when making decisions that will reflect the image of the Union. Bryant constantly goes above and beyond what is expected of his position and always comes to work with a positive and uplifting spirit.”

February 2016 — Amelia Sherman

Amelia ShermanA nominator stated, “I nominate Amelia Sherman to be Student Employee of the Month because she puts her mind and effort to everything that she does and commits too. She has been such a big help, not only to myself in my own position, but in the process of opening the Oasis Wellness Center. Amelia constantly shows passion and excitement in all she does and seeks more opportunities to advance the Oasis Wellness Center for the better of the CSUN community. Along with her regular responsibilities she shows interest in partaking in activities outside the Oasis Wellness Center, like Matador Recreation Day hosted by the Student Recreation Center. She played a huge role in creating and facilitating the activity for the Oasis Wellness Center during Matador Recreation Day, showing that she is invested in the overall wellness of the CSUN community. I give Amelia Sherman my highest endorsement for the Student of the Month award because she not only works hard in all she does, but motivates others to seek out and try to performer at a higher standard. I see a lot of the Oasis Wellness Center employees look up to Amelia as a co-worker but I also have observed that Amelia goes out of her way to make the work environment so much more enjoyable. I am truly honored to get to work with Amelia Sherman and I think that for all she does for the Oasis Wellness Center and beyond, recognition is deserved. Thank you.”

February 2016 — Jada Cantrell

Jada CantrellA nominator stated, “I have always notices Jada's position demeanor while on shift at front desk. I recently had the opportunity to watch her conduct business with a member interested in participating in the SRC's Fitness classes, organized and conducted by the Fitness and Wellness Department. Typically member's questions are directed to the Fitness Assistants and Supervisors in the training zones, but hearing Jada's determination to get this member's questions about classes and instructors answered really took me by surprise. She insisted looking up the descriptions of each class and instructor to help the member with their inquiries and fitness goals. Jada is not just a front desk person, she goes above and beyond to help folks with their goals. I am proud to have someone like Jada working for the SRC.”

January 2016 — Alexa Spann

Alexa SpannA nominator stated, “As a Meeting Room Crew Lead, it always makes my job easier when everyone is willing to work and help each other. It is always a pleasure working with Alexa because her work ethic always sets the tone and inspires us as a crew. Along with performing her responsibilities exceptionally well, she exceeds the expectations of her position by the initiative she naturally takes. There are several examples where her initiative not only impacted the shift she was currently working on, but for following shifts the next day. Most notably, Alexa was scheduled a short weekend shift but noticed that the following shift had an overload of work to do for the next shift. Alexa noticed the closing shift was understaffed, and even though there were no supervisors on site, she contacted our supervisor and asked if she can work a full 8-hour shift to help with the closing and opening shifts workload. The shift in question was the setup for January's USU Summit. Alexa knew she was signing herself up for a difficult and labor intensive shift, but put the reputation of our department and union first to make sure all the resources were provided to ensure a great experience for all employees at our most recent Student Summit.”

January 2016 — Patrice Mead

Patrice MeadA nominator stated, “Patrice is very deserving of the Student Assistant Employee of the Month award... in fact, I am shocked that she hasn't already won it in her time here at the Union.  Anyone that comes into contact with Patrice knows that her customer services skills are above and beyond what is expected.  Her helpfulness and positive energy are unmatched by anyone in a service providing position anywhere on campus.  I have personally seen Patrice in action, answering questions for guests, and when she doesn't know the answer she efficiently calls or researches the answer until the guest is happy.  In addition to her doing a fantastic job with her normal job duties, I specifically nominate her for the month of January because of the stellar job she did on the Student Summit Presentation Team.  Along with her teammate Dominic, they presented on public speaking skills, a topic that is difficult to engage students.  Not only that, but when presenting about presenting you have an extra bright spotlight on you, ensuring you are practicing what you preach.  This presentation was the most engaging and well-executed workshop that I observed during the rehearsals for Student Summit.  Patrice's bubbly personality, combined with her professionalism and credibility, made her one of the most effective presenters of the entire event.  I hope Patrice can be recognized for all her contributions to our organizations, especially being one of the brightest shining stars we have.”