With more than 30,000 students enrolled at UNC Charlotte, many gain valuable experience and opportunities through student employment. However, few students take the reins and make the most robust contributions and impact like Grace Nixon has, which earned her the 2022 Student Employee of the Year Award.
Nixon, a senior marketing majoring, has been employed by University Recreation since August 2019. Described as collaborative, creative and reliable in her leadership style, she built and managed social media for the Student Health Center through the COVID-19 pandemic. She also aided in the creation of the “Learn, Live, Lead” campaign for the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, which was designed to destigmatize conversations around mental health. Prior to that, she poured time and energy into planning and promoting the University Recreation Center’s January 2020 grand opening.
“When we speak to a student that has impacted the Niner community and will leave a lasting impact for years to come, we only thought of Grace,” wrote Sophia Marshall and A.J. Kirby in their nomination. “She is passionate about the health and well-being of our campus and especially the successful collegiate journey of her peers.”
Nixon is more than a student worker — she’s an advocate for students. Recognizing the need for an awareness campaign to assist her peers to not only understand the well-being resources UNC Charlotte offers but how to access and utilize those services, she helped create the “Amplify Your Well-being” campaign. Nixon spent hours researching peer institutions and current trends in collegiate well-being, co-led planning sessions, presented many conceptual ideas, crafted pillars and a mission statement and developed an implementation plan for campus.
In championing the campaign, Nixon reached out to departments and campus administration to help guarantee its success. After many conversations with staff, focus groups, department heads and division leaders, the “Amplify Your Well-being” campaign reached the Board of Trustees and locked in its support, and received full funding from the associate vice chancellor for health and well-being.
“To think of the impact such a campaign could have on the well-being of our students on campus — created by one of their own,” wrote Marshall and Kirby. “Grace successfully rallied all necessary parties and spent countless hours to bring her dreams to reality.”
In full pursuit of this meaningful and necessary campaign, she did it while excelling in her other duties. She continued to work as a project manager for hundreds of design projects, content creation and 12 social media accounts for University Recreation, the Student Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services and Center for Wellness. She does all of this with a reliable work ethic, flawless execution of tasks and willingness to assist whenever necessary. Her contributions will have a long-lasting impact on those in immediate contact with her and those who benefit from her initiatives.
“Her contributions to her peers, our department, our unit departments, our division and our University will live on long after she graduates,” noted Marshall and Kirby. “Future generations of Niners will experience a campus more focused on the overall well-being of our students, understand the resources available to them and feel a bit more sense of belonging because of Grace.”
Nixon was honored at the 2022 Student Employee Recognition Lunch Tuesday, April 5, in the Cone University Center. The luncheon recognizes exemplary workers among the 4,000-plus students employed each academic year across all divisions at UNC Charlotte.
“Wow! What an amazing young woman,” said human resources speciliast Teresa Shook in presenting Nixon with the Student Employee of the Year Award. “Niners will be reaping the benefits of her work for many years to come.”
Also nominated for the 2022 Student Employee of the Year award were Karla Galvan, a senior majoring in pre-nursing, College of Health and Human Services Advising Center; Caleb Holguin, a senior majoring in geography, Conference, Reservations and Events Services; Chandler Horton, a senior majoring in civil engineering, Sustainability Office; Ronald “R.J.” Langley, a senior majoring in marketing, Dean of Students Office; Casey LeBlanc, a junior majoring in computer science, OneIT Client Engagement; Maria Martinez, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice, Student Activity Center and Venue Management; Madison ‘Madi’ Robertson, a senior majoring in public health and Hispanic studies, Leadership and Community Engagement Office; and Johnathan Stone, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, Housing and Residence Life Office. They were recognized at the April 5 luncheon, too.
Photo: Grace Nixon and Teresa Shook