When Kayla Rode started working at the IU Business/SPEA Information Commons (IC) the second week of her freshman year, she had no idea that a short three years later, she would be named the IU On-Campus Student Employee of the Year. Since then, she has steadily gained responsibilities, managing new book processing, overseeing the use of IC Group Study Rooms, and especially helping patrons with what they need. In all of this and many other ways, Kayla has distinguished herself not only among IU Libraries student employees but among student employees across the IU Bloomington campus.
Christina Sheley, head of the IC, identifies the importance of student employees on the IU campus, saying, ““Kayla, and all of our student employees, are one of our greatest assets. They not only perform day-to-day functions but are integral in helping develop the patron relationships that contribute to our long-term success.”
According to Kayla’s supervisor Matt McGee, "From the very first, Kayla distinguished herself as one of the best among a staff that has to keep up with the needs of a facility that sees 3,000 to 4,000 people coming through every weekday." McGee noted both Kayla’s ability to work well with those patrons and her dedication as characteristics that distinguished her from her colleagues. He said, “What sets Kayla apart from a very fine staff of student workers is that she has always gone above and beyond. She once volunteered to spend her spring break reorganizing our book collection, an extraordinary level of dedication for a 10-hour-a-week work-study job.”
Kayla has a history of such diligence, starting to work when she was fifteen. She still remembers her first job at the Hong Kong Restaurant in Mooresville, especially since it’s home to the best Chinese food she’s ever had. Her mom still brings her frozen egg rolls from there as a special treat. Kayla also worked at Stone Creek Restaurant in Greenwood, as hostess then waitress then runner, ultimately helping with their catering at Zoobilation at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Kayla transformed these experiences—which gave her a zest for event planning—into high level skills that she puts to work at the IC and in the courses she takes at the Kelley School of Business where she has just completed her junior year majoring in Marketing and Operations Management.
According to Kayla, her supervisors are the best thing about her job at the IC. As she explained, they understand that student workers are students first and employees second. She credits their flexibility with allowing her to participate in multiple summer intern interviews the same semester she was in Kelley’s intense ICore. She submitted 30 internship applications, was interviewed by 20 different companies, and received 6 offers. During one week alone, she interviewed with Pepsi in Pittsburgh, Polaris in Minneapolis, and Discover in Chicago. Ultimately, she selected the offer from Anheuser-Busch, will train with them in St. Louis, and will work this summer in Los Angeles as a Sales Intern.
Although at first she wasn’t sure what role her job at the Information Commons would play in her life, Kayla found that dealing with so many different people and having responsibilities as a supervisor gave her great advantages. According to Kayla, “"I'm so lucky to have found a job my freshman year that I could maintain during my entire college career and to have supervisors who are so understanding, trusting, and supportive of me. Working at the IC has undoubtedly had a positive impact on my experience at IU."
Kayla received her award at the 28th Annual Student Recognition Brunch, which took place earlier this spring. Sponsored by the IU Career Development Center and Arts & Sciences Career Services, this award is associated with Student Employee Appreciation Week, designed to increase public recognition of student employment by acknowledging the contributions student works make in the multitude of roles they fill.
The IU Libraries are proud of our student employees and extend a hearty congratulations to Kayla on her accomplishments both at the IC and beyond.
About the IU Business/SPEA Information Commons:
The Business/SPEA Information Commons provides the space, research tools, and services that support the Kelley School of Business and School of Public and Environmental Affairs community. The recently-renovated library facility, accessible 96 hours/week and housed in the SPEA building, has 16 group study rooms, 40 individual computer workstations, spaces for collaborative and quiet study, a core collection of print materials, and a café. See the Business/SPEA Information Commons website for more information.