Athens, Ga. – Mireya Smith, a student assistant in pathology, was recognized and the University of Georgia’s Student Employee of the Year at luncheon ceremony recently in the Tate Student Center as part of National Student Employment Week.
Also recognized were Abbey Hufstetler, a clerk for 4-H and Youth in Cooperative Extension (second place); and Charles Hicks, a student worker in anthropology (third place). The top 100 student workers on the UGA campus were honored at the luncheon, April 18, which was co-sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association.
UGA has more than 5,000 student workers. And the top 100 student workers were nominated by their faculty or staff supervisors and then voted on by a 10-member committee made up of faculty, staff and students. The awards are meant to honor hard-working students from across campus.
Smith is a senior from Kennesaw majoring in wildlife biology with an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine. In her student job, she helps log in tissue samples that veterinarians send in from all around the East Coast.
She helps keep the pathology labs in the College of Veterinary Medicine clean, safe and well organized. She even performs necropsies-or autopsies for animals-in order to obtain tissue samples for the pathologists.
She describes her job as CSI for animals. “You’re trying to figure out why the animal died.”
Smith was praised for being helpful when the Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory went through an accreditation inspection in November and one area where Smith worked was singled out by the inspection team as particularly excellent.
She also helped start a new collaborative exotic animal diagnostic pathology service with the infectious diseases laboratory. To do this she had to create new storage and protocols. She even volunteered for special weekend training in avian and exotic pathology.
“Her ability to work independently in achieving complex tasks, her reliability, her initiative in seeking out additional responsibilities and improving our processes, her work ethic, and her pleasant demeanor make Mireya a unique and special undergraduate student employee in my experience,” said Dr. Keith Harris, head of the pathology department.
Hufstetler, a graduating senior majoring in public relations from Cartersville, has been a student assistant in 4-H for the past four years. She was recognized for revamping Georgia 4-H’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter and even populating an app for the Fall Forum program. Hufstetler has developed print programs, written brochures and coordinated public relations and marketing efforts for statewide 4-H programs. She was praised for her enthusiasm, attention to detail and gift for teaching others.
Hicks is a graduating senior from Pembroke majoring in public affairs journalism and anthropology. In his student job, he serves as a front-office receptionist and unofficial ambassador for the department. He was recognized for his energetic get-the-job-done attitude and for helping update the department website, programming phones within an hour of installation, helping with paperwork for faculty searches, reworking the office movie database to make it easier to use and teaching staff how use electronic files-to reduce time spent making copies.