When Keuka College junior Monica Sturm arrives at her work-study position as an office assistant in the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) office, she sees herself as a member of the professional staff.
In fact, her name and title—HEOP student assistant—are on the poster outside of the office. And she credits HEOP Director Lisa Thompson for that feeling of inclusion.
“Lisa has provided many opportunities for me to demonstrate responsibility,” says Monica. “Some examples are having access to Slate [a software program], filling out interim reports, creating a mentor manual for Keuka College Summer Institute (KCSI), and being a KCSI mentor.”
It is because of these reasons, among others, that Monica nominated Lisa for the College’s Work Study Supervisor of the Year Award—for the second year in a row. The award honors work-study supervisors who students believe warrant particular recognition for their performance on the job.
“She will ask for my input on some situations, which shows trust between us,” says Monica. “I am grateful that Lisa continues to challenge me and push me. I am happy to help her because even though she carries many responsibilities as a director, she is also earning her doctoral degree.”
And while Monica has worked in the HEOP office for five semesters, she says she continues to learn from Lisa each day, particularly in how to communicate with others effectively.
“Lisa has always been honest, even during a negative situation,” says Monica. “She has good communication with me, students, and other staff. Communication and honesty go together, because if a person does not have good communication skills, it may be hard for that person to be honest. Lisa is able to use her words in ways for students to understand, even if she has to tell them something they might not want to hear.”
In addition, Monica says Lisa displays confidence, has good decision-making skills, and shows commitment to her advisees.
“She works with each student, and takes the time to listen and help students when they need it,” says Monica. “She is passionate about her work and is always happy to be in the office.”
By working in the HEOP office, Monica believes she has learned more about herself as an individual. She credits Lisa for giving her more self-confidence, and she thinks of Lisa as a mentor, and someone she looks up to.
“Lisa has made an impact on my life during my College career,” says Monica. “I am grateful for everything she has done. She is resourceful, and I look forward to using some skills that she has taught me in the future. Working in the HEOP office has truly been an incredible experience.”