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University of Iowa News Release


April 11, 2007

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UI Names Buchheit Student Employee Of Year For 2006-2007

A University of Iowa student who has worked tirelessly to provide services to sexual assault victims -- especially reaching out to those in rural communities or with disabilities -- has been named the University of Iowa Student Employee of the Year for 2006-2007.

Jill Buchheit (left) of Dyersville was selected from among 59 UI student employees nominated by their supervisors for special recognition. Annually, the UI employs approximately 11,000 students in hourly positions. Buchheit is a graduate student in the Counseling, Rehabilitation and Student Development Department in the UI College of Education who currently works as a rural counties assistant with the UI Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP).

The National Student Employment Association sponsors the National Student Employee of the Year competition annually and winners are announced in conjunction with the National Student Employment Week, which this year runs through Friday, April 13. Students are selected based on the following criteria: reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and uniqueness of contribution.

In addition to the campus winner, six student employees also were recognized for their work with certificates of distinction and appreciation. UI Interim President Gary Fethke will host a luncheon at his home for the student winners Thursday, April 12.

Other student employees also were recognized for their work. Nicole Winterwood, of Dubuque, an undergraduate student in biology and psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), was given a certificate of distinction. She was nominated for the work she does as a research assistant in the biology research laboratory in the UI Department of Biological Sciences in CLAS.

Certificates of appreciation were awarded to the following students, listed by hometown:

Blairstown: Kelsey Montross, an undergraduate student in interdisciplinary studies in the CLAS who works as an office assistant in the UI Women in Science and Engineering Undergraduate Programs;

Burlington: Ben Dow, an undergraduate industrial engineering major in the UI College of Engineering who works as a research assistant at the National Advanced Driving Simulator;

Cedar Rapids: Stacy Duffy, an undergraduate student in elementary education in the UI College of Education who works as a tutor in the UI America Reads Program;

Coralville: Heather Davis, a graduate student in library and information sciences who works as a library assistant in the Radiology Department of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics;

Naperville, Ill.: Brent Rochambeau, an electrical engineering undergraduate student in the UI College of Engineering who works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Center for Computer Aided Design and the Virtual Soldier Research Program in the UI College of Engineering.

"The university wishes to recognize all of the student employees for their dedication to the job and their contributions to the university's goals," said Cindy Seyfer, associate director of Student Financial Aid at the UI. "These students are wonderful examples of the incredible talent, dedication and leadership that UI students possess, and we want to recognize and celebrate all of the contributions they make year round. The university encourages all units to participate in celebrating the efforts of their student hourly employees during National Student Employment Week."

Karla Miller, RVAP executive director, nominated Buchheit, who has volunteered at RVAP since 2004, worked at RVAP since 2005 and was named the rural counties assistant in summer of 2006. In her current role, Buchheit assists with liaison activities with rural county communities, consortiums, agencies and organizations. She also assists with providing direct services to clients, helps with speaking engagements, trainings and presentations and assists with special projects as assigned.

"Jill has brought much to our organization: her wonderful sense of humor, her compassion and empathy and her commitment and passion for the cause," Miller said. "She has been an outstanding employee and well deserving of the title of 'Student of the Year.'"

During her time with RVAP, Buchheit co-facilitated an at-risk girls' group at an area high school, provided ongoing counseling for sexual assault survivors, developed a curriculum on health relationships and safe dating for several area high schools, and established an interlibrary loan system for RVAP library books to be loaned to small libraries in Cedar, Iowa, Johnson and Washington counties where resources are unavailable for sexual assault victims.

"Jill is extremely energetic and flexible and eager to take on new challenges," Miller wrote in her nomination. "She is mature and professional and works very well with co-workers and the public. She makes things run smoothly."

Buchheit will graduate this spring with her master's degree in rehabilitative counseling from the UI College of Education.

"She has lead many new initiatives at RVAP, including researching, developing and distributing new materials for individuals with disabilities and those who face unique barriers in rural communities," Miller said. "She is tenacious regarding long and difficult projects. Based on the skills and knowledge she has gained in her UI coursework, she has provided new insights into our work."

This includes making the RVAP web site accessible to people with disabilities, Miller said.

Christopher Stipp, an assistant professor in the UI Department of Biological Sciences in CLAS, nominated Winterwood for the work she has done as a research assistant in the biology research laboratory, where she has worked for three years. Winterwood's contributions laid the groundwork for the first major external research grant that was awarded to the lab, a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society. Her work was also responsible for the first major published research report, which appeared in the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell.

For more information on this award or the students recognized, contact Seyfer at 319-335-1460.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077,; Program: Cynthia Seyfer, Student Financial Aid, at 319-335-1460 or