Abby Patterson named 2024 Student Employee of the Year

Categories: General News Tags: Human Resources

With more than 30,000 students enrolled at UNC Charlotte, many gain valuable experience and opportunities through student employment. However, few students take distinct ownership and pride of their work like Abby Patterson has, earning her the 2024 Student Employee of the Year Award.

Patterson was recognized at the Student Employee of the Year luncheon in the Cone University Center Thursday, April 11. She was among 15 students nominated for the award.

A senior communication studies and history major, Patterson began her tenure as a building manager at the Popp Martin Student Union and Cone University Center in 2021. Building managers are typically promoted within, however, based on Patterson’s impressive interview and clear demonstration of the skills and qualities necessary to be successful in the role, she was hired directly into the role.

“It was clear from the beginning that Abby is invested in the work and took ownership of her role in advancing the mission and playing an integral role in the daily operations of the Popp Martin Student Union and Cone University Center,” said Michael Avery, Cone Center assistant director of operations.

Patterson’s commitment to taking initiative, a strong work ethic, dependability, ethical decision-making and customer service are the skills that have influenced her increased level of responsibility over the years. She has played an integral role in enhancing the student employee experience at the Popp Martin Student Union and Cone University Center by planning and implementing game nights, wellness events, student employee appreciation events and end-of-semester celebrations. Patterson serves as vice chair of the Popp Martin Student Union Advisory Board

“The best part about working in our buildings is the opportunity for growth,” said Patterson. “I immediately saw how my job tasks such as supervision, delegating tasks and event management directly applied to skills future employers would be looking for. Every day student employees are unconsciously practicing important skills, and this constant practice greatly improved my confidence as a professional and as an individual.”

Patterson has made invaluable contributions not only to the building manager team but also to the approximately 1.6 million students, patrons and community members who utilize the Popp Martin Student Union and Cone University Center each year.

“Abby has been instrumental in the development of our student employee team by leading by example,” said Desmond Brogsdale, PMSU assistant director of operations. “Abby is someone who is determined to always perform at her best and is constantly looking for ways to improve as a professional and leader. Her ambitious nature will allow her to be successful within her professional career.”

After graduation in May, Paterson will pursue a master’s degree in educational leadership at UNC Charlotte.

Also nominated for the 2024 Student Employee of the Year award were Zadok Adua, a junior majoring in computer science, Facilities Information Systems, OneIT; Natalya Aziz, a senior majoring in health systems management, Athletics, Barnhardt Student Activities Center Venue Management; Zoe Brannon, senior majoring in social work, Disability Services; Deshonell Higgins, senior majoring in public health, Center for Wellness Promotion; Raven Huiel, senior majoring in health systems management, Leadership and Community Engagement Office; ShanaRose Johnson, senior majoring in communications, Housing and Residence Life Office; Caroline Karpinski, sophomore majoring in management information systems, Reading and Elementary Education Department; Christopher McDuffie, senior majoring in Japanese, University Center for Academic Excellence; Catie Merklee, senior majoring in political science and sociology, University Recreation; Olivia Renforth, senior majoring in psychology, Belk College of Business Dean’s Office; Trevor Richardson, senior majoring in computer science, University College Advising Center; Kennedy Rodriguez, senior majoring in writing, rhetoric and digital studies and film studies, University Communications; Hawaii Vargas, senior majoring in liberal arts and sciences; Academic Diversity and Inclusion; and Emilia Vazquez, junior majoring in elementary education, Enrollment Programs. These students were also recognized at the luncheon on Thursday, April 11.

“All of this year’s nominees are undergraduate students who have worked at least two full semesters in the same department,” said Teresa Shook, human resources specialist. “The selection committee evaluated nominees on their reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and contributions to their employer. The selection committee was looking for students that go above and beyond their job descriptions.”

2024 Student Employee of the Year Nominees

View more photos from the 2024 Student Employee of the Year Award luncheon.