By Natalie Johnson
March marks the time to recognize student employees at Scripps. As the faces we often see on our first visits to Scripps as prospective students, the guidance we turn to for help writing our cover letters, and the warm hands that brew the coffee for us at the Motley, student employees are the everyday leaders, advocates, and allies that hold the community together.
A committee of faculty, alumnae, and staff honors one student employee for their phenomenal contributions to life at Scripps. The Student Employee of the Year award acknowledges one individual along with two finalists. This year’s award goes to Leslie Moreno ’18, a long time leader and ally whose contributions affect a wide array of the Scripps family and engagement in the larger community.
Moreno currently holds three jobs on campus. She worked as a MathSpot Tutor Coordinator for the Scripps Tutoring Program before taking on the role as an Office Assistant for Dean of Students last semester. She also served as a Pomona Hope Co-Intern last semester for SCORE (Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment), where she taught leadership workshops to 11th and 12th graders with the mission to empower youth of Pomona, CA.
“I love working with my students and seeing them gain confidence in both me and my Co-Intern,” Moreno said in an interview with the Voice. “They remind me why I want to be a teacher after Scripps,” she said.
As a the co-head manager for the Scripps store, Moreno has often been the friendly presence parents and new students meet when they first arrive to campus during New Student Orientation. She recalled meeting one anxious parent during a sale at the Scripps store a few years ago who expressed concerns about her daughter starting school away from home. “I then told her that she doesn’t have to worry, my friends and I will take care of her daughter for her, and she looked reassured. Her daughter and I have been friends since her first-year, and her mom remembers me because of that conversation in the Store,” Moreno said.
Whether it be through reassuring nervous parents as they say goodbye to their child during orientation, or through watching her Pomona Home students passionately engage in their material, Moreno finds motivation and fulfillment in making a meaningful impact on those around her. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that I am a resource to people here at Scripps,” she said.
The committee also recognizes two outstanding finalists: Rachel Geller ’18 and Samantha Richards ’18. Geller dedicated her last two years to help prepare other students for their futures as a career consultant at Career Planning & Resources (CP&R). Richards, with a similar passion for advocating for students, worked to build and support a sense of community in her two years as the program supervisor for Scripps’ Phonathon.
Helping fellow students to hone their career skills, strategies, and aspirations is a given for Geller. Her work involves CP&R’s main tasks in career consulting: one-on-one drop-in sessions for resumes and cover letters writing, jobs searches, and addressing other skill-based needs.
She finds it rewarding to support her peers in tangible ways to achieve their goals. “It’s so satisfying to be a part of the work that prepares Scripps students for their futures,” she said in an interview with the Voice. Geller additionally planned a career panel event this fall on non-profit sector jobs, connecting the community with alumnae and networking to recruit panelists.
“I know how important my work and the work of CP&R is to campus when students come back to the office to share that they got an interview, or a job offer, or with gratitude for helping them grow in their career skills,” she said.
Richards’ work emphasizes the importance of building and advocating for community. “My favorite part of the job is definitely the people,” she said in an interview with the Voice. She took her role as supervisor as an opportunity to foster a sense of community in the Phonathan office.
Richards similarly utilized her position as a student fundraiser, calling Scripps alums, parents, and students, as a call to action for addressing the needs in SCORE. “My sophomore year we knew SCORE was really underfunded for the work they were doing both for Scripps students and other 5C community members,” she said. Richards organized a fundraising push that doubled the space’s budget for the year.
“We know the ways that our work directly impacts the school and students directly,” she said.
This year’s Student Employee of the Year featured three students for outstanding contributions that make Scripps what we know it as today. As seniors at the crux of graduation, Moreno, Geller, and Richards have lent themselves over the course of four years to better the community for all of us.