New Tradition

USF celebrates the inaugural Student and Supervisor of the Year Award to mark National Student Employment Week.


By Melissa Wolfe

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (April 11, 2013) – The first inaugural Student Employee and Supervisor of the Year awards are a new tradition being celebrated this year as part of the University of South Florida’s National Student Employment Week.


In February, an email was sent out to all student employees and their supervisors encouraging supervisors to nominate student employees and employees to nominate their supervisors. USF’s National Student Employment Committee scored and judged more than 150 nominations before selecting the two winners.



Read the story about National Student Employment Week.



Hiram Rios, a 19-year-old student triple majoring in mathematics, economics, and Mandarin Chinese, won the first Student Employee of the Year award. Rios started at New Student Connections last fall after becoming friends with several Peer Advisor Leaders at the Week of Welcome events. Almost two years later, Rios works as a Returning Network Leader for NSC and student assistant in the Office of National Scholarships.


As a Returning Network Leader, Rios plans and participates in weekly events aimed at helping new students transition into college life at USF.


“The peer-mentor relationship is the most rewarding part of working for New Student Connections,” said Rios. “We not only help students connect to the university, we become their friends, and we help them through this whole transition. It’s very rewarding.”


Rios, originally a chemical engineering major, realized his dream to become a foreign diplomat through his work with the university.


“Working with New Student Connections has really given me the confidence to believe in who I am,” said Rios. “The more I worked with them, the more I realized I have to work with people in a high-paced environment where I can be out and about. I’m passionate about people in a way I never was with engineering.”


Renee Seay, office manager of the Campus Recreation department for the past 22 years, won the first Supervisor of the Year award. Noted for her continual upbeat and personable demeanor, Seay claims she already has her dream job.


“I wake up every day excited to come to work,” Seay said. “Each day is different and we are like a close-knit family here.”


Amy Phillips, one of Seay’s student employees, said Seay “has become a big part of my life, not only as my boss in the workplace, but as a role model, friend, and mentor.”


As office manager, Seay works on everything from building gym membership programs for local businesses such as MOSI and Florida Hospital to involvement with program areas like Intramural Sports and Group Fitness.


Outside of her official capacity with Campus Recreation, Seay has served as president of the USF Club for more than six years. The USF Club, a “social group of faculty, staff and friends of the university,” hold monthly meetings at the Marshall Center and throw tailgate parties for all the home football games.


Both winners will be commemorated with an 8-inch by 8-inch paver, engraved with their name, placed in the Marshall Student Plaza walkway.