Graduate student Bridge Gorrow received the honor of Outstanding Student Employee of the Year in a ceremony yesterday for her work as a student employee at the Women’s Resource Center. The presentation ceremony was arranged as a part of National Student Employment Week.
Spirits were high before the second annual Tribute to Portland State University Student Employees began in the Parkway North room in Smith Memorial Student Union.
Dan Fortmiller, Interim Dean of Students/Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs got the ceremony off the ground, congratulating the nominees and emphasizing what would be a theme throughout: the importance of student employees to the efficient workings of Portland State.
“Without your work, the university couldn’t survive,” President Dan Bernstine noted of all student employees before he announced the winner of the PSU Student Employee of the Year award.
In addition to the award bestowed on Gorrow, four other nominees received outstanding honorable mentions.
Rangineh Azimzadeh, of SBA-Faculty Services, Jamie Bonn, of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Bryan Ryberg, from Campus Recreation, and Chelsea Varnum, with Student Activities and Leadership Program all received long-stemmed red roses and gift packages that included PSU sweatshirts, certificates for a free Quizno’s combo meal, coffee, and $25 gift-certificates for the Portland State Bookstore in recognition of their contributions.
Bridge Gorrow received a larger flower arrangement and a “celebration basket” that also included candles, lottery tickets, elegant chocolates, sparkling cider, and a $50 gift-certificate to the bookstore. In addition, Gorrow now has the opportunity to compete for a plaque and $100-200 savings bonds on the state, regional, and national level through the Western Association of Student Employment Administrators (WASEA).
There are over 2,000 students employed at PSU, but in order to compete for this award they must be nominated by their supervisor and exhibit outstanding performance in six categories: reliability, quality of work, initiative, disposition and attitude, longevity, adaptability, and uniqueness of contribution.
This year there were 21 nominees, but Steering Committee member Cathy Latourette of the Human Resource Center said of the ceremony, “It’s still fledgling-we hope for it to grow and grow.”
In addition to being a student and program coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center, Bridge Gorrow is a mentor for University Studies, and the mother of a 13-year-old girl.
Gorrow’s recognition was mainly a result of her work on the Returning Women Students Program. The program was defunct for several years due to lack of funding.
Last year, as a volunteer, Gorrow managed to reinstate the program as a coffee hour. After she became what she said amounts to “half a graduate assistant,” she was able to add a lunch hour, a mentoring program (which Gorrow notes needs more volunteers), a returning Women Students Stitch-n-Bitch, and a listserve newsletter that serves around 300.
Gorrow was nominated by Aimee Shattuck, coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center. Shattuck said that watching Gorrow bring back the program was like “watching a miracle unfold before my eyes.”
In response to receiving this award, Gorrow said, “I was surprised” but also that she’s “grateful to PSU for having been such a rich opportunity to be able to spread my wings and find out what I’m capable of.”