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Meet UC’s Student Employees of the Year

June graduates Kyle Denlinger and Ryan Gaerke are the first recipients of a new university-wide award to honor the dedication of student employees.

Date: 5/21/2007
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley
UC ingot One student offers personal assistance to fellow students navigating the resources and services of University Libraries. Another is behind the events and excitement on MainStreet. Kyle Denlinger of Troy, Ohio, and Ryan Gaerke of Coldwater, Ohio, are the first recipients of the new University of Cincinnati Student Employee of the Year Award.

The annual award recognizes undergraduate student employees for their outstanding contributions to the university as they work in a UC department or office. The award honors graduating seniors with a 3.0 grade-point-average (GPA) or higher who have worked two or more years in a student supervisory position, who have provided unparalleled customer service, and who have exhibited strong initiative and professionalism.

Kyle Denlinger

Kyle Denlinger
is graduating June 9 from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) with a BA in secondary education and English/language arts. Since 2004, he has worked as a peer mentor in Langsam Library’s Info Commons, which helps put the library’s vast resources on common ground with undergraduates. Located on the fourth floor of Langsam Library, the Info Commons is the main point-of-service for the Reference Department. As a peer mentor, Denlinger provides personal assistance to library users with a wide range of needs – from finding books and journal articles to navigating the Libraries’ Web site to using online library resources. And, because he’s a peer, he serves as a University Libraries ambassador to the student population.

“Kyle is an outstanding peer mentor,” says Pam Bach, coordinator for Info Commons. “His thoughtful demeanor, coupled with a sense of humor, allows him to easily engage with library users and coworkers. Kyle always goes the extra mile. He is well informed and is always interested in learning more,” Bach says.

“The thing I’ve enjoyed the most about working for UC is the chance to be part of something bigger than my own personal pursuits,” says Denlinger, a Troy High School graduate. “The library and the university will be here long after I’m gone, but it makes me glad to know that in some small way, I’ve played a role in what they are to become.”

Last fall, Denlinger helped establish a peer-to-peer program that connected the library peer mentors with peer leaders in UC’s learning communities, expanding outreach about the services of University Libraries. He’s a 2006 recipient of the University Libraries Student Assistant of the Year Award.

“The first time a student comes to a peer mentor at the Info Commons, it’s because they’re looking for a friendly face, that of one of their peers,” Denlinger says. “The second time that student comes to a peer mentor, it’s because that student knows the peer mentor is going to provide top-notch service.”

Denlinger will be back at UC after graduation. He plans to pursue his teaching certificate and master’s degree in secondary education. As part of his internship experience, he’ll be teaching English at Colerain High School for the school’s fall semester.

Ryan Gaerke

Ryan Gaerke
is graduating June 9 from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) with a BFA in electronic media. He’s lead student programmer for MainStreet Operations at Tangeman University Center and started working for MainStreet when TUC reopened in 2004 after a massive renovation.

Gaerke has added to the excitement of MainStreet by arranging speakers, movie premieres, pep rallies, tailgates, parties and music in UC’s corridor where people can learn, shop, dine and play. One of the big fall events that he planned and produced for MainStreet was Homecoming’s Fall Ball Carnival featuring host Bootsy Collins. Most recently, he set up the sound system on Sigma Sigma Commons for announcing the awards from the MainStreet Stride foot parade.

Gaerke also works as a student building supervisor for UC’s Campus Recreation Center, supervising daily activities and operations.

“As a student lead programmer for MainStreet the past three years, Ryan has planned, implemented, produced and executed all kinds of events – from a weekly series called Acoustic Brew to major concerts, festivals, student tailgates and daily events on MainStreet,” says Jessica Butler, manager of Catskeller Game Room and MainStreet Cinema. “Ryan is an excellent representative for our department, division and the entire university.”

Gaerke says that from the student perspective as well as an employee for MainStreet, he’s seen the impact that this bustling corridor in the heart of campus has had on students. He was walking around the construction fences while the renovation was taking place and is now at the center of the activity now that MainStreet is open for business. “MainStreet truly gives people a sense of place. I see it every day as students come here and hang out with their friends.”

Gaerke, a graduate of Coldwater High School, has lined up a job after he graduates in June. Shortly after graduation, he’ll be undergoing an eight-week training program for Target as an executive team leader. Once his training is complete, he expects to return to Cincinnati and work in a management position for one of the area Target stores.

Denlinger and Gaerke were presented with the Student Employee of the Year Award at the University of Cincinnati Recognition Ceremony on May 20.


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