In conjunction with National Student Employment Week (April 9-15, 2017), the University seeks to recognize the achievements of students employed through student part-time hourly and Work-Study programs. 

Employers are encouraged to nominate outstanding student hourly employees for the University of Iowa Student Employee of the Year award. Employers are also encouraged to recognize the contributions of their student employees during this national week.

Nomination Process

Employers may nominate undergraduate and graduate students paid on an hourly basis through the University student hourly employment programs (Biweekly Continuous IACCT 5940 and Biweekly Work-Study IACCT 5945, 5943, 5944 appointments).  To be nominated for 2016-2017, students must be or project to be employed six months part-time from June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017.  If the student works for more than one supervisor, only one supervisor should submit the nomination.

Employing units may submit only one nomination.  Therefore, the nomination process should be coordinated by the unit to ensure that only one nomination is submitted to the Student Employment Office.  It may be necessary to have a competition within the unit to select a departmental winner for campus review.

The employer must submit the PDF iconnomination form via email to  by Friday, February 17. In addition, employers may choose to include a separate letter of nomination. In the letter, employers should describe the accomplishments of the nominee which qualify him/her to be considered for Student Employee of the Year recognition. The letter of nomination must be limited to two pages.

Nominations will be judged on the following characteristics: reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism, and the uniqueness of the student’s contribution to the employer. By including information and examples about the following areas, you will likely be touching upon the selection criteria.

  • The nominee’s greatest attributes, as they relate to the job.
  • How the nominee has gone above and beyond the standard work experience.
  • The quality of the nominee’s work and work style.
  • The nominees’ leadership skills, initiative and motivation.
  • The impact the nominee has had on your department, campus and community.
  • The qualities of the nominee that set him/her apart from other student employees.

To assist in writing a nomination letter, employers may wish to PDF iconview nomination letters for 2015-2016 Student Employee of the Year winners.

Some student employees work as part of a team and cannot be nominated separately. If that is the case, the team can be nominated and will be considered for campus recognition. However, based on the rules established by the National Student Employment Association, teams cannot be recognized beyond the campus level.

Employment Categories

Starting with the 2016-2017 year, nominations will be separated into three categories and winners will be selected from all three, with one overall campus winner awarded. The employment categories are as follows:

  • Administrative Support (i.e., office work, administrative support, clerical, operations, marketing and design)
  • Student/Campus Services (i.e., catering, transportation services, hospitality, service provider, cashier, facilities, physical trainer, lifeguard, tutor)
  • Science, Health, and Engineering (i.e., lab work, health sciences, academic and scientific research, CAD, computer and technical jobs)

Selection Process

A selection committee reviews nominations received by the deadline date provided on the nomination form. Several students are selected for recognition. The selection committee is comprised of Cindy Seyfer, Associate Director of Student Financial Aid, Josh Frahm, UI STEP and Student Employment Coordinator; a representative from Human Resources; and a representative from the Division of Student Life. A faculty member and/or a student winner from the previous year may also be on the committee. 

The nomination for the UI Student Employee of the Year winner is submitted by the University of Iowa to the National Student Employment Association (NSEA) for review at the state, regional and national level. The NSEA then selects state, regional, and national winners for additional recognition. 

Notification Process

In early April, all nominators are notified in writing of the status of their nomination. Student Employee of the Year mugs and goodies are provided via campus mail to all nominators to present to their nominees.

In late March, Student Employment notifies the nominators of the winners.  A date is selected for a presentation given by Cindy Seyfer and held at the student employee’s work site.  Nominators are asked to keep the recognition winner’s name confidential until the award is presented. Often, nominators will invite staff members and the nominee’s family members to the presentation. This is an opportunity to recognize the student winner and also to celebrate the environment provided by the department that allowed the student to go above and beyond. A reception with food and beverages is often arranged by the department, but is not required.

Campus winners are not announced until National Student Employment Week.

Awards and Recognition


  • University of Iowa Student Employee of the Year – One student is selected. The winner receives a gift certificate to the IMU Bookstore along with a movie pass, mug, and award certificate. 
  • Certificate of Distinction – The number of students selected varies each year based on the applicant pool. The winners receive a movie pass, mug, and award certificate.
  • Certificate of Appreciation - The number of students selected varies each year based on the applicant pool.  The winners receive a movie pass, mug, and award certificate.

Winners of the above awards are recognized during a formal presentation at their individual employment sites.  There also will be a recognition event held with with President Bruce Harreld.

All nominees receive a Student Employee of the Year mug and their names and employing departments appear in a Daily Iowan display ad during National Student Employment Week.

General Campus

During National Student Employment Week, employers are encouraged to find a special way to recognize student employees and may wish to consider the following: 

  • Simply take the time to say “thanks” for a job well done
  • Provide award certificates
  • Host an office potluck
  • Provide “care” packages
  • Share balloons or something special to spruce up their offices or lab spaces

Impact of Outside Awards/Prizes

Federal financial aid regulations require that all financial aid (loans/grants/scholarships/work-study) and educational resources (i.e. awards, prizes) must fit within a student's financial need and/or cost of attendance. If the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) becomes aware of additional financial aid or other educational resources, the financial aid that was awarded by OSFA may be reduced or cancelled.