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Academics Campus & Community Student Features

Four students honored for excellence with CSB, SJU and team employment awards

Megan Thienes, Tristin Thilmany and the accounting and finance department lead teaching assistant (TA) team have been named 2023-24 Student Employees/Team of the Year at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

The winners were announced as part of National Student Employee Appreciation Week April 7-13.

Student nominees were evaluated from nomination letters based on accomplishments that focused on the following possible topics:

  • The employee’s greatest strength
  • The qualities that set the employee apart from others
  • How the employee has gone above and beyond in their position
  • How the employee shows initiative
  • Any lasting impact the employee has left on the department, colleges or community
  • How the employee demonstrates critical thinking

Team nominees were evaluated on how well the team works collaboratively on a common project, service or goal. The selected team needed to exhibit synergy – where the team performs in a way that is greater than the sum of its parts.

CSB Student Employee of the Year

Thienes, a senior communication major from Blaine, Minnesota, works in the strategic communication studies department.

“During her time with the department, Megan has set herself apart for her proactive work ethic, the excellent and professional quality of work she contributes to the department and her enthusiasm for contributing to the good of the department and university,” said Kelly Berg, professor of strategic communication studies and department chair, in the award nomination.

“Megan has strong communication skills and is consistently optimistic in the workplace. She nonverbally displays a sincere willingness to engage with anyone who comes to the office during her working hours. She makes a point to look at the person as they enter and to smile and greet them. She will instantly set aside work she is doing to fully engage with any requests. She completes all her duties with an excellent attitude,” Berg added.

SJU Student Employee of the Year

Thilmany, a junior computer science major from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, serves as events setup supervisor in CSB custodial maintenance.

Thilmany was also named Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators (MASEA) Leadership Student Employee of the Year runner up.

“Speaking of the character of Tristin, I believe that he stands out in the aspects of leadership, communication, diligence and collaboration,” said Jane Schulzetenberg, CSB custodial assistant team lead, in the nomination letter. “Every time there is an opportunity to work on the weekends for a grand set-up he puts his name down, and when others write their names, he texts them the event details so they come prepared.”

“Tristin’s greatest strength would have to be reliability. He’s a good communicator with everyone, however, his critical thinking and problem-solving skills outweigh his social skills because he never stutters in action. There’s always a solution to the problems presented.

“The greatest impact that Tristin has had on the department, colleagues and the community is his kindness and friendliness. Whether it be campus security or a person walking by, he always treats people with respect, thus he has friendships all around campus and can manage all his relationships well,” Schulzetenberg added.

CSB and SJU Student Employee Team of the Year

The accounting and finance department lead TAs are Lauren Pfeffer (CSB senior accounting major from Maple Grove, Minnesota) and Sydney Rohrer (CSB senior accounting major from Woodbury, Minnesota).

“Lauren and Sydney have created an inclusive and vibrant environmental for tutoring our students,” said Boz Bostrom, professor of accounting and finance, in the nomination letter. “The intro accounting courses are challenging, and many students need a great deal of assistance – dozens will seek out tutoring each week. Along with our other TAs, Lauren and Sydney work in the open area on the second floor of Simons Hall. Younger students flock to this area to study, and Lauren and Sydney bounce between tables to help students learn the accounting concepts. They setup a whiteboard in this space to diagram and pictorially work through problems with students.

“At the end of their shifts, they will seamlessly handoff students to the next TA on duty. Many of the students who come to Simons 2 are from diverse backgrounds, and Lauren and Sydney work to make sure these students feel included and valued as important members of the group working through concepts. The energy which they have created on Simons 2 is contagious and a prime example of what make Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s special,” Bostrom added.

2023-24 CSB and SJU Student Employee of the Year nominees

Student (Department / Nominator):

Sophia Sartain (Marketing and Communications / Jordyn Swoboda)

Anna Streed (Music / Kelly Brueske)

Greta Kitelinger (Education / Leah VanOverbeke)

Megan Thienes (Strategic Communication Studies / Laura Schmitz)

Kaylee Ringstad (CSB Institutional Advancement / Connie Matz)

Thomas Libbey (Saint John’s Campus Ministry / Carter Howell)

Tristin Thilmany (CSB Custodial Maintenance / Jane Schulzetenberg)

2023-24 Student Team of the Year nominees

Student Team / Nominator:

Accounting and Finance / Boz Bostrom  

Student Employment / Angie Mareck

Fine Arts Programming / Rebecca Pflueger

SJU Campus Ministry / Carter Howell

Sustainability / Kyle Rauch

SJU Institutional Advancement – Annual Giving / Sean Ryan

English Department and Literary Arts Institute / Catherine Rupp

CSB Residential Life / Tess Munshower

CSB Residential Life Community Advisors / Mary Olson

Megan Thienes

Tristin Thilmany

Accounting and finance department lead teaching assistant (TA) team