WC Student Employee of the Year Announced
If you were to walk into the Global Education Office (GEO), you are likely to be welcomed by John’s big smile while he was working on various assignments. “I worked on all kinds of projects for the Global Education Office, mostly planning events to celebrate cultural diversity and international holidays,” Zhang said. He also helped create posters, PowerPoint presentations, labels, certificates, and other various office tasks.
Initially, Zhang, a biology and chemistry double major with a focus in biochemistry, wasn’t aware of his nomination for student employee of the year, but once he heard he was being considered, checked his mailbox, and found an invitation to the ceremony. “It was a total surprise,” he said.
The Global Education Office offers an intercultural educational experience for both current students who want to study abroad and for incoming international students. The office hosts events like the annual Chinese New Year dinner and International Student Orientation Week, all of which Zhang, an international Chinese student, helped with.
GEO Director Kay King worked closely with Zhang during his time as a student worker in her department. “John brought a unique perspective to the GEO. As an International Student himself, he was particularly well suited to work with international students, showing understanding and compassion for them,” King stated. “While John was enthusiastic about sharing his home culture with our campus, he was also heavily involved in our American campus culture. He was as a member of a fraternity, joined and traveled with Habitat for Humanity and served as a student representative to the International Education Committee.”
Zhang, winner of the 2017 American Chemistry Award and member of Beta Beta Beta, the Biology Honor Society at Washington College, took on a heavy course load throughout his time at WC, but is thankful for his work at GEO that has helped to expand his skill set outside of the classroom.
“The job exposes me to many kinds of tasks, helping me learn different skills that will be important later on,” he said. “Also, I really built up my time management capabilities, scheduling, and prioritizing. I think it does help prepare me for my Ph.D. program at Dartmouth this coming fall because all the things I learned are useful skills in life.”
The entire GEO team had plenty of positive comments on Zhang’s work ethic. On behalf of the entire department, King gave Zhang a glowing review.
“John was always willing to pick up extra shifts, stay late in order to help another student worker, show up early on a Saturday to help set up an event, and he did all of this with a smile and a joke,” King said. “He was a great ambassador for the Global Education Office. He was polite and kind to all who visited the Foster House. He was always very outgoing, friendly, and positive with a wry sense of humor.”
King expressed the major impact he made while working for them. “GEO was very fortunate to have had John as a student worker. He was a huge asset to our office,” she said. “We also like to think that he learned a few things from us about all the many moving pieces that need to be managed and red tape that needs to be cut in order to make a program successful.”