Apr 152009
Authors: Emily Johnson

Coming out on top is something CSU senior Kate Quillin is proud of, but she’s more likely to blush than boast.

Unaware that she was even nominated for the CSU Student Employee of the Year award for her community service and contributions to university leadership programs, Quillin said she cares more about actively combating the effects of social issues and improving the lives of others than herself.

“I’m there to make a difference in their lives,” Quillin said of the homeless men and women she works with as a case manager two days a week.

But it’s more than that. Throughout the entirety of her CSU career, Quillin has played an active role in promoting change in the Fort Collins and CSU communities and across the nation.

Quillin, who was awarded Tuesday, was chosen from a pool of 22 other nominated student employees for her work with the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office.

Those who nominated her from SLiCE said Quillin’s character embodied the award requirements.

“Kate is an absolute outstanding employee in every aspect of the term. She has an incredibly well-rounded skill set for her job, including excellent people skills, creativity and organization,” said Jen Johnson, assistant director of SLiCE.

“She is a joy to work with and has really contributed positively to the alternative break program.”

Quillin said she didn’t feel she deserved the award.

“It really belongs to SLiCE and everyone who participates in the programs,” she said.

Quillin, a senior social work major, was nominated by Johnson for her outstanding performance as the Alternative Spring Break Program coordinator for SLiCE. Johnson was impressed by the general creativity and competence she said Quillin brings to her job.

“I’m always able to count on her for an excellent job done,” Johnson said.

Sam Bowersox-Daly, special events coordinator for SLiCE who is slotted to take over Quillin’s position next year, said he knows she has “very big shoes to fill next year” and is “honored to be given the opportunity to pick up where Kate leaves off.”

“The thing with Kate very simply is that she cares to the point that others around her are compelled to care as well,” Bowersox-Daly said.

Bowersox-Daly said he holds Quillin in high esteem on and off the job.

“Kate has a lot to offer outside of her employment. She is one of those people that everyone enjoys running into, which makes the office and work environment infinitely more welcoming for everyone else.”

Quillin has made significant and lasting contributions to the Alternative Break Program, including the development of new, detailed program guides for alternative break trip leaders and a database of non-profit organizations around the world that provide opportunities for alternative breaks.

Since her participation in Key Service as a freshman, rebuilding homes, working with inner-city kids at a science camp in the Redwoods and advocating for Mexican immigrants are just a few of the projects Quillin has been involved in during her four years at CSU.

Whether it’s out in the community or in the workplace, her colleagues said she consistently rises above and beyond the call of duty.

“Kate is always willing to assist others in SLiCE with their events or programs,” Johnson said.

Quillin has lifelong plans of service and community development. Her next adventure includes a two-year Peace Corps term working with at-risk youth in Eastern Europe or Middle Asia. Upon her return, she aims to get a master’s degree in either public policy or non-profit management.

“I would love to find a career path that would allow me to either focus on issues around homelessness and poverty or on providing sustainability and social equality to developing countries,” Quillin said.

For all of her life though, Quillin has lived her life according to her mother’s words.

“Every morning she said, ‘Hello world, what have you got for me today?’ meaning every day is a new adventure, so you just have to go for it and make the best of what comes at you,” Quillin said.

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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