KU Libraries honor student workers with annual DASEE Awards

On Thursday, May 5, leaders at the University of Kansas Libraries hosted the annual DASEE Awards luncheon, where two outstanding student employees were recognized for their positive contributions to KU Libraries. The honor was a surprise for both winners. 

Hard at work in the University Archives at Kenneth Spencer Research Library, student employee Jenna Bellemere was examining old photographs and posters from the School of Fine Arts, trying to finish inventory of a few items when a co-worker insisted she come to lunch. Jenna soon learned she wasn’t just being invited for a meal – she walked into a room full of smiling faces, including University of Kansas Libraries Interim Co-Deans Scott Hanrath and Beth Whittaker, who immediately announced Bellemere as one of two recipients of the Dean’s Award for Student Employee Excellence (DASEE) in the Three West Reading Room at Watson Library. 

Jenna Bellemere receives a DASEE from KU Libraries interim co-deans Beth Whittaker and Scott Hanrath.

Bellemere, a junior studying Anthropology and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, is one of 135 student workers who lend their efforts across all major offices and divisions of KU Libraries. With the support of faculty and staff supervisors, student employees have a significant impact on the work and reach of the libraries, putting in approximately 62,000 hours of service this school year. All the libraries’ student workers were invited to a taco bar lunch as part of the DASEE celebration. The DASEEs, now awarded annually, were established by former dean of KU Libraries Lorraine Haricombe to recognize the dedication and quality service student employees provide.  

“Student employees have a huge, huge, impact on the libraries, enabling all kinds of special projects and all kinds of routine daily activities that our faculty and students depend on to make the university run,” Hanrath said to the DASEE lunch crowd of students and supervisors.  

Belle Cersovsky, a second year undergraduate student studying Biological Anthropology, was the other recipient of a DASEE this year. She was unable to attend the DASEE ceremony, but was honored the next day at KU Libraries monthly meeting of all faculty and staff. 

“Receiving the award was very exciting,” said Cersovsky. “It was also a big surprise. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I was delighted and honored to be selected.” 

Cersovsky works with the libraries’ Digital Initiatives Department and described the work as “enjoyable and useful.” 

“I love working for KU Libraries,” Cersovsky said. “Everyone is very kind and welcoming, and I enjoy working with them.” 

Belle’s supervisor, Digital Initiatives Librarian Erin Wolfe, said Cersovsky contributes to challenging, time-sensitive projects in a thoughtful way, taking the initiative to troubleshoot and fix problems when they arise.   

“I have found her to be extremely trustworthy regardless of the task,” Wolfe said.  

Bellemere’s supervisor, Archives and Manuscripts Coordinator Marcella Huggard, said the records Bellemere works with vary in size and complexity from a handful of boxes to hundreds of linear feet.  

“Jenna adapts to each of these projects extremely well and is never daunted, no matter how complex or large-scale the record group may be,” said Huggard. 

Bellemere enjoys the work.  

“It’s a really cool job,” she said, describing how she recently came across a handwritten record from the late 1800s with doodles of funny faces in the margins. “I’ve had other jobs, but none of them have allowed me to engage with history in this way.” 

Cash prizes were awarded to the winners, who were selected by a committee including members of the KU Libraries Board of Advocates.