Story by Sarah Roeder
On April 3, the CSU Career Center hosted the first annual Career Impact Awards, a award show and lunch event in which members of the campus and Fort Collins community celebrated those who have made a significant impact on students’ careers.
Those impacts range from having meaningful career exploratory conversations about students’ plans for their future, to providing the right tools and resources for their postgraduate success, to challenging them to think big in lecture halls across campus. The award show also recognized the alumni and organizations invested in the CSU student career success story.
This year’s award show was held at the Iris and Michael Smith Alumni Center and consisted of 11 key categories. In his keynote address, Assistant Vice President for Student Success Ryan Barone said the importance of having career interwoven throughout CSU is directly tied to the student success initiative for the university, and emphasized the importance of serving underrepresented and historically marginalized populations.
Student of the Year
The Student of the Year award was presented to senior forestry major Marley Smith for setting an example among her peers by showcasing leadership in career exploratory experiences and introducing her peers to career options within their field.
The Student Group of the Year honor was awarded to Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences for actively encouraging professional development around career growth.
The Distinguished Staff Member award went to Senior Academic Advisor Brett Beal in the School of Biomedical Engineering. Beal was recognized for weaving career into all of her conversations with fellow staff, faculty and students.
Area Wildlife Manager Ty Petersburg of Colorado Parks & Wildlife was named Alum of the Year. Petersburg graduated from the Warner College of Natural Resources in 2001 and has been actively engaged with his alma mater to help other young Rams find and pursue their passions.
The Growing Colorado Business of the Year award was given to Waypoint Real Estate, a commercial real estate company that has invested extensive time and energy into CSU programs like the Everitt Real Estate Center and Ramstrength Foundation, and has hired several CSU graduates as it continues to expand across Larimer County.
Recruiter of the Year
The Recruiter of the Year award was presented to Lokana Reed, Target’s lead executive recruiter, for her superb talent in connecting students to meaningful careers in leadership and her willingness to engage with CSU on multiple levels during pilot or new initiatives.
The Alum Entrepreneur of the Year honor was awarded to Janay Deloach-Soukup, a two-time Olympian and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the long jump, for founding Podium Performance, a speed and agility camp aimed to provide premiere coaching and training to Northern Colorado’s youth. Since graduating from CSU, Deloach-Soukup has set an example of what a career can look like after a professional athletic career.
The Employer of the Year award was given to Keysight Technologies, a company that provides innovative and cutting-edge software solutions. Keysight has gone above the call of duty to make systemic changes in its recruiting and hiring process to better serve underrepresented groups and identities.
The Distinguished Administrator award was given to Bridgette Johnson, director of the Black/African American Cultural Center at CSU, for stimulating the career ecosystem throughout her office and amongst her peers.
Distinguished Faculty award
The Distinguished Faculty award went to Kevin Lear, director of the School of Biomedical Engineering’s undergraduate program, who was recognized for successfully integrating career into his classroom, working individually with students and intentionally connecting students to career preparedness and readiness opportunities that foster professional growth outside of the classroom.
And the Career Impact Award was given to Jody Drager, school district liaison and career development coordinator in the School of Education. Drager was the overall award show winner due to her ability to integrate the idea of education as a career in multiple forms, especially in the area of highlighting career resources and opportunities in the education industry for historically marginalized populations.
The award winners were recognized for going above and beyond their call of duty and truly demonstrating a commitment to student success while on campus and after the students leave campus.