Awards highlight student employee achievements

Emilie Hedeimann

Three winners of the UW Oshkosh Student Employee of the Year and two Distinction awards were announced April 13 during a presentation in Chancellor Andrew Leavitt’s office, being recognized for years of hard work and dedication. According to the presentation outline, senior Brenda Fredenhagen, a student employee for the Undergraduation Advising Resource Center and Peer Advising Liason, won the Student Employee of the Year award. Fredenhagen said she is a human resource management major and sociology minor and was surprised with the results. “I’m very shocked I got [the award],” Fredenhagen said. The outline states Fredenhagen has been working as a PAL for two years and three months in the UARC office for her supervisor, Cindy Fruhwirth. “I’m really humbled because Cindy really took me under her wing and just taught me a lot about the transfer process,” Fredenhagen said. According to the outline, Fredenhagen assists students by analyzing concerns and making appointment referrals. She also helps students with exploration programs and administrative support. The outline states Fredenhagen has exceeded expectiations by going out of her way to know information regarding the Universities degrees, campus policies, degree audits, Titan Web and more. According to Fredenhagen, she has taken on the new role of a Transfer Manager in an office that leads small teams of three or four PALs, teaching them how to be responsible for making transfer student appointments. Seniors Gabriela Peterson and Erica Durrant won the Student Employee of Distinction award. Peterson said she is a secondary education and English major minoring in both in theatre education and Spanish. The outline states Peterson works for the theatre department as a costume shop assistant for her supervisor, Kathleen Donnelly. It states she has been working for five years and two months in her position. According to the outline, Peterson is responsible for constructing costumes and accessories for productions. The outline states Peterson has become proficient in developing patterns and understanding fabric, and has been working as Donnelly’s close assistant. It states she is always trying to build strong relationships with co-workers. “I learned so much about my craft and that discipline really extended into other areas of my degrees, and that kind of support is something that a lot of students don’t receive on this campus,” Peterson said. According to Peterson, she has been lucky enough to receive a metaphorical bear hug of affection and support. She said she owes a lot to the relationships she has built at Oshkosh. “It is a big reason why I am here right now and why I am succeeding and graduating with a really bright future,” Peterson said. Durrant said she is a nursing major and has a minor in psychology. The outline states Durrant works for the Graduate Studies Office as a student assistant for her supervisor, Connie Schuster. According to the presentation, Durrant provides administrative and technical support to the Graduate Studies Records and Admissions coordinator, Graduate Student Support Services and the Director of Graduate Services. The presentation states Durrant has been working for the Graduate Studies Office for four years and five months. It states she prioritizes and organizes cyclical workloads, but makes time to assist other employees. According to the outline, Durrant also provides insight to the office on how an international student would interpret written communications. “I’m really happy that my supervisors feel [this] way about me working [in the office] and it’s been a fun experience,” Durrant said. “I think I’ve contributed a lot and I’m happy to know it is appreciated.” Durrant said as an international student coming from Jamaica, it hasn’t been an easy transition. She said she has faced racism issues in the past and has come a long way. “[The Graduate Studies office] has been my home [and] my safe haven,” Durrant said. “It is the one place I go to and I forget about everything else that is going on at school.” According to Leavitt, it is about being nice to people when it can’t always be reciprocated. He said that in itself is a contributing factor to why all three students won these awards. “You are wonderful students [and] wonderful people,” Leavitt said during the award presentation.