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Release: April 2, 2001

UI honors student employee Brian Connolly, other student employees

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa announced today that Brian Connolly of Eagan, Minn. is the winner of the Student Employee of the Year award.

Connolly is one of five UI student employees being recognized from among some 12,000 hourly student employees. The award is given in conjunction with National Student Employment Week, (April 1-7) which recognizes the outstanding contribution of those individuals selected through the Student Employee of the Year recognition process, in addition to honoring the efforts of all student hourly employees. Cynthia Seyfer, UI assistant director of student financial aid, will present the honorees with certificates at their respective job sites.

Connolly will receive a $100 gift certificate from the Iowa Memorial Union Bookstore, a certificate commemorating the achievement, and a certificate from the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators.

Since August 1999, Connolly has been employed as a laboratory technician in the Air Toxics lab of the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratory. The Air Toxics lab conducts research on organic chemicals in air and water. Connolly works with the extraction and concentration of samples collected in Lake Michigan and in Iowa and is responsible for the analysis of trace level toxic chemicals in the environmental samples. Based on his contributions to the laboratory, he has been asked to present his findings at the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a meeting attended by scientists working on large lakes of the world.

Students receiving Certificates of Distinction are:

-- Patrick Neugent of Menomonee Falls, Wis. is being honored for his work with Design and Construction Services. Employed as an engineer's assistant since February 1999, Neugent is involved in one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken on the university campus. Among Neugent's contributions are updating and managing construction plans and documents, corresponding with subcontractors and business associates and performing on-site visits.

-- Nicholas Rudzianski of Dubuque has been a supervisor and undergraduate research assistant for the Iowa Social Science Institute since October 1997. Rudzianski supervises student interviewer's schedules, provides training to new interviewers, tests surveys and coordinates the flow of survey projects with the Program and Field directors. He oversees a staff of 20 to 40 students.

Students receiving Certificates of Appreciation are:

-- Matthew Avenarius of Dubuque has been a laboratory assistant in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics since November 1999. As an essential member of the research team, Avenarius has worked with screening a specific deafness-causing gene.

-- Melissa Hermes of Manchester has been employed at the Tippie College of Business Stead New Media Center since August 1999. As an office assistant Hermes works to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff in the College of Business and to promote and assist with the use of new technology. Her job includes downloading audio lectures and slides to web pages, web design, developing PowerPoint presentations, video and audio recording of lectures responding to questions regarding technology services, and training staff and faculty in the use of various technologies.

The Student Employee of the Year recognition process is sponsored by the UI Office of Student Financial Aid and the Vice President for Student Services. For more information, contact to Cynthia Seyfer in the Office of Student Financial Aid, 335-1460 or