Sophie Beavin Honored as Student Employee of the Year

photo of Sophie Beavin
UK Recycling intern Sophie Beavin has been selected as UK 2020 Student Employee of the Year.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2020) Sophie Beavin, a University of Kentucky sustainability intern with UK Recycling, is the recipient of the 2020 Student Employee of the Year award from UK Human Resources. 

Beavin, a student in natural resources and environmental science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and member of Lewis Honors College, was one of 10 finalists for the award, chosen from nearly 50 nominations across the university.  

Beavin recently completed her second year as a sustainability intern, and her department relied on her to take a leadership role. Sustainability interns also must complete an independent project. Beavin completed two. 

Beavin researched local recycling facilities to find one that would accept Styrofoam. This allowed UK Recycling to begin collecting Styrofoam containers from UK HealthCare and UK research labs, which receive many supplies in Styrofoam packaging. As a result, Beavin has helped UK recycle more than 9,000 pounds of Styrofoam. 

Additionally, Beavin worked with UK Facilities Information Services to create a resource map to help students find local places that recycle, fix, buy or sell used items.  

“Sophie Beavin is the hardest working and most dedicated student worker I have ever had here at UK,” Joanna Ashford, Beavin’s supervisor with UK Recycling, wrote in her nomination. “Sophie is an excellent student that embodies what the university stands for and is an outstanding example to other students on campus. Sophie will be GREATLY missed in the UK Recycling office after she graduates and has set the bar high for all the other interns who will follow in her footsteps.” 

Ashford was out on maternity leave during this past football season. So Beavin trained and scheduled student volunteers to help with recycling efforts in the Kroger Field tailgating areas. She also set up an educational tent at every home game to answer fan questions. 

“I knew when I was on maternity leave that the program was going to continue without any issue with Sophie leading the program," Ashford wrote. 

Though unable to host Beavin and the finalists for a reception this year, UK Human Resources reached out to them individually to congratulate them and thank them for their work. 

“Part of the university’s mission is to prepare our students for their lives after college,” said Kim Wilson, vice president and chief human resource officer. “So many departments across campus support that mission by providing work opportunities. As we see each year, these student workers bring fresh ideas and energy to their departments.” 

HR congratulates all this year’s finalists: 

Emily Butler, Transformative Learning/The Study 

Christie Maier, supervisor: “She regularly contributes ideas and problem solves with team members on projects outside of her own, but her outstanding student leadership is not limited to just the management team. On the tutoring floor, Emily creates a comfortable and productive environment by welcoming all students, providing resources, and sharing valuable feedback to tutors about their sessions.” 

Lillie Cole, Earth and Environmental Sciences 

Dhananjay Ravat, supervisor: “This is the most exemplary undergraduate student worker in all aspects (professionalism, reliability, intellect, and ownership of work) with whom I have had the pleasure of working. I believe she would show this dedication and innovative spirit to any project she might undertake.” 

Claire Crosby, Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences 

Kevin Pearson, supervisor: “When I think of Claire at work, I think of an extremely inquisitive, honest, scrupulous, ethical, and reliable employee. She is always willing to put herself out there to help others at work. She is never afraid to own her mistakes and learn from them.” 

Tianna Lewis, Martin Luther King Center/Diversity Education 

JaMahl McDaniel, supervisor: “Tianna (has an) unwavering commitment to her graphic design role and for fulfilling the mission of our office to assist in the cultivation of events on campus, which promote diversity awareness, cultural pride and collaborative efforts.” 

Sierrah Miley, Kinesiology and Health Promotion/Tobacco-Free Take Action 

Melinda Ickes, supervisor: “Sierrah consistently exceeds expectations, is organized, motivated, and continually engaged. She is very much respected by our campus stakeholders, many of whom are in administrative and leadership positions.” 

Tran Nguyen, Transplant Center 

Jennifer Watkins, supervisor: “Tran is adaptable, efficient, professional, and pleasant in all that she does. She comes in each day with a smile on her face, a willingness to help, and a brilliant mind. She does not discriminate in her work — no task is too small or too menial for her attention.” 

R. Tyler Rush, Auxiliary Services 

Monica Stoch, supervisor: “Tyler’s passion for UK and his willingness to help people was demonstrated in the countless conversations he has had with students and parents attending Merit Weekend and See Blue U orientation. He is a team player who proved he was willing to go the extra mile, hour after long hour, to welcome and help hundreds of students as they arrived during Fall Move-In.” 

Scott Vanderventer, Office of Technology Commercialization 

Eric Hartman, supervisor: “Scotty joined OTC at a time when the office was significantly understaffed and in a transition period. Scotty stepped up to take on responsibilities that far exceeded his job description. He was willing to do work that was physically challenging and that often was not glamorous. Scotty exhibited judgement and professionalism beyond his years and made meaningful contributions to UK OTC and its partners.” 

Lauren Zahrn, Psychology 

Pooja Sidney, supervisor: “She has gone above and beyond as my lab manager, making sure that all the other undergraduate students have what they need to keep projects going, filling in to complete tasks, and staying in close contact with me to update me on statuses. She is dedicated, hardworking, and the single best undergraduate student I have ever supervised in any capacity.” 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.