The University of Texas at Austin
  • A stellar scholar and student employee

    By Rebecca Miller, University Operations
    Published: April 11, 2011
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    With a megawatt smile and a humble demeanor, Geological Sciences senior Brandon Okafor stepped into a room full of his colleagues on March 1 for the surprise of his life, namely the honor of receiving The University of Texas at Austin’s first-ever Student Employee of the Year award.

    Nominated by his two supervisors Nicole Evans and Heather Routt in the Jackson School of Geosciences, Okafor is the first student to receive the university’s new Student Employee of the Year award and a $500 prize thanks to a one-time grant from the National Student Employment Association (NSEA) and UPS.

    In 2007, Okafor began his first semester working at the university in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and he has held several different on-campus jobs since. He now works on a variety of projects as a student associate in the Jackson School of Geosciences, including assisting with building projects, helping with event and field trip preparations, and organizing lab supply rooms and classrooms, among other duties. According to his supervisors, “Brandon is the go-to for everything under the sun” and “not only does he never complain, he cheerfully rises to the occasion.”

    Student Employment Coordinator Amy Greenspan in Human Resource Services (HRS) spearheaded the Student Employee of the Year award. After attending a NSEA conference, Greenspan decided it was time the university appropriately recognize its student employees. Appealing to Longhorn pride, she played up the fact that Texas A&M University has been recognizing its student employees for more than a decade.

    Brandon Okafor
    Geological Sciences senior Brandon Okafor is surprised on March 1 with The University of Texas at Austin’s first-ever Student Employee of the Year award.

    Less than one year later, Greenspan successfully implemented a method for nominating and rewarding student employees and collaborated with the Texas Exes and Student Affairs to recognize the nominees for the Student Employee of the Year award.

    Supervisors across campus nominated more than 80 students for the award, with 10 moving on to become finalists. In order to be considered for the award, students had to meet the minimum work hour requirements. Then, each nominee was ranked on six different criteria: reliability, quality of work, initiative, attitude, professionalism and unique contribution.

    Okafor’s exceptional performance in each of these areas earned him the award. He was recognized for his achievement at the Texas Exes’ 2011 Student Leadership Awards event on April 4, and he will be honored again on April 13 when the Division of Student Affairs hosts a luncheon for all the nominees and nominators as part of the nationwide celebration of National Student Employment Week (April 10–16). During that week, all colleges, schools and departments are encouraged to recognize and thank the more than 10,000 students who work for the university.

    To learn more about the work Greenspan has done to educate the campus about student employment, visit the Student Employee section of the HRS Web site.

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      LONGTIMELONGHORN said on April 22, 2011 at 4:33 p.m.
      Doing your best makes you stand out and pays off!!! Way to go Mr Brandon!!!
    • Quote 2
      Timi Komonibo said on April 22, 2011 at 2:24 p.m.
      Brandon! Congrats! I'm really proud of you. :)
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      Kristen Hotopp said on April 22, 2011 at 9:06 a.m.
      Congrats, Brandon! We loved working with you in the Theatre and Dance Dept. as well. Look at you now, a senior driving a UT vehicle and winning employee awards, woo ha! :)
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      Donna said on April 21, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
      Congratulations! I noticed that megawatt smile right away and I smiled. I am sure it's very deserving.
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      Jennifer said on April 20, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
      He looks like such a nice guy and so deserving!
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      Melanie Jaquysh said on April 20, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
      What an honor... CONGRATULATIONS BRANDON! What a great idea to honor exceptional student-employees. There are so many outstanding students workers at UT... I've worked with many who were well deserving of such recognition!!! Kudos to all of those who made this new tradition possible.
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      T.A. said on April 19, 2011 at 11:30 p.m.
      Now, That's just outstanding. NSEA in UT austin does a good job! All colleges need to honor their employees and publicize it like this college! GO Okafor GO! Nice work boyeee! Thanks for the post Rebecca, We enjoyed this.
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      Jonathan P said on April 19, 2011 at 9:28 p.m.
      I never met Brandon but I like him already.
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      Jair Aguilar said on April 19, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
      WAOOooo, congratulations! Well DONE!!
    • Quote 2
      Debika Sihi said on April 19, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.
      What a great achievement!!!!!!!!!!
    • Quote 2
      Brie Wilson said on April 19, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
      Congratulations Brandon!
    • Quote 2
      Cene said on April 19, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.
      Way to go Brandon! U Rock!
    • Quote 2
      Cathy said on April 18, 2011 at 10:14 p.m.
      Bravo!!
    • Quote 2
      Vivian Agbontaen said on April 18, 2011 at 4:12 p.m.
      Congrats Brandon!!!
    • Quote 2
      Stephanie M. said on April 18, 2011 at 3:53 p.m.
      Aw, congratulations Brandon! I enjoyed working with you at the Geo School and definitely agree that you deserve this award!!
    • Quote 2
      Freddy G. said on April 17, 2011 at 1:05 a.m.
      Good Job!
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      Mbere Monjok said on April 16, 2011 at 10:46 p.m.
      I love the surprise pic! Good job Brandon!
    • Quote 2
      Lanre Babalola said on April 15, 2011 at 6:53 p.m.
      I'm glad you've been recognized with this honor, because you truly are a Blessing! :-)
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      Lizeth R Salinas said on April 15, 2011 at 3:38 p.m.
      What a lovely surprise to see Brandon's great smile on the UT main webpage! Well deserved Brandon Okafor! Thank you for all your work at the Department of Theatre and Dance. Wishing you all the BEST!
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      A.Jones said on April 15, 2011 at 3:14 p.m.
      Congratulations! You surely deserve it.
    • Quote 2
      Yele said on April 14, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
      Way to go Brandon!!
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