The Libraries spotlight their best student assistants

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Elizabeth Morris, Aaron Arthur and, Elizah Warren were recognized at the Student Assistant Program Committee’s spring student appreciation and awards event.

Three NCSU Libraries student assistants were honored at the Student Assistant Program Committee’s spring student appreciation and awards event. Elizah Warren and Aaron Arthur were named Above and Beyond awardees, and Elizabeth Morris was recognized as the Outstanding Student Assistant of the Year.

“This year, the committee received a record number of nominations, and they were all so strong,” according tosays Brian Dietz, Digital Program Librarian for Special Collections and program committee chair. “The level of appreciation of our student staff was so apparent from the nominations. And, it's well deserved. We hold the spring celebration and awards ceremony to try to convey to our student assistants how much we value their contributions.”

Known for her enthusiasm and work ethic, Morris joined the team at the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Library of Veterinary Medicine in October 2013. The senior psychology major added service at the D. H. Hill Library Ask Us desk in 2015.

Quickly, Morris assumed a leadership role at Vet Med, even co-authoring a research paper with library director Kris Alpi. The paper, entitled “Attracting Researchers through Sharing Our Expertise: Content Analysis of Library Staff Listings and Librarian Web Pages,” won third place at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the 2015 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting.

This kind of initiative is reflected in her training of other student assistants at both D. H. Hill and Vet Med, not only to do basic patron services, but also to work on special projects such as the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians slide scanning project coordinated by NCSU Libraries Fellow James Cheng.

Warren’s work at the D. H. Hill Ask Us desk has been referred to as a “benchmark” for patron service. Her charisma draws patrons to her, and she personally connects with them no matter how minor the exchange might be. Within three months at Ask Us, Warren was promoted to a student leader, and was selected as the student employee of the month in October 2015. She has a particular ability with new students, bringing a presence to New Student Orientation at Hill and to the Libraries table at the Information Fair for incoming Freshmen this past summer in summer 2015.

The nutrition science senior is proactive with patrons and staff alike. Warren took the initiative to email her student worker colleagues to encourage a greater attention to detail when reshelving and to offer training assistance to anybody who wanted it.

Arthur, a senior studying computer engineering, has brought an innovative spirit to the Libraries’ Makerspace program and had a “huge impact,” especially when it comes to making new hardware. His Arduino-controlled Twitter chatbot was featured in the Hunt Library Tech Showcase, and his support of the new Internet of Things (IoT) program included the development of an example prototype. Arthur has also proven to be a skilled teacher, developing original workshops such as "Spooky Sounds with Arduino."

Perhaps his biggest contribution is the design and construction of the D.H. Hill Makerspace card access system, an essential part of the space’s day-to-day functioning. Arthur’s system, which he has improved and expanded over time, determines whether users are authorized to use the Makerspace as they are entering the space. It also compiles usage data which helps the Libraries know how the space is being used. Arthur hopesplans to make his plans open source before his departure for anthe SAS internship program in May.

The Libraries thanks and congratulates all of this year’s student assistant awardees and nominees.