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University Libraries’ Student Showcase celebrates outstanding student work

Credit: Jill Shockey / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recently, Penn State University Libraries faculty and staff gathered virtually to celebrate the contributions of University Libraries undergraduate and graduate student employees across the commonwealth.

The University Libraries’ 2020 Student Showcase and Outstanding Student Employee Awards live-streamed on April 9 offered viewers a glimpse into the outstanding achievements and unique perspectives of part-time student staff, undergraduate interns and graduate assistants. They have worked alongside librarians, archivists and staff to further the Libraries’ mission and played a crucial role in supporting the academic and research needs of the Penn State community..

“Each year I’m struck by the incredible work our student employees are doing,” said Hailley Fargo, student engagement coordinator for library learning services. “The Student Showcase provides a chance for all of us to see the students’ work, celebrate their accomplishments and feel re-energized to accomplish our own work.”

During the showcase, 14 students gave short presentations about the projects they completed and the impact of their work within their units and across the Libraries. The student presenters were:

  •  Lily Murray, Bednar Student Engagement & Outreach Intern at University Park
  •  Alex Boyda, development and alumni relations Bednar Intern
  • Huaibin Zhang, graduate assistant for digital badges
  • Marianne Black, Pennsylvania Center for the Book GIS Bednar Intern
  • Maggie Welch, Stelts & Filippelli Intern in rare books and manuscripts & historical collections and labor archives
  • Thomas Whalon, Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information Library student assistant
  • David Chen, Bednar Statistical Assistant Intern
  • Mauvette Malizia, graduate assistant for accessibility
  • Hannah Fassbender, Bednar Student Engagement & Outreach Intern at Thun Library, Penn State Berks
  • Devin McDuffie, Bednar Global Partnerships Intern
  • Naibin Chen, scholarly communications graduate assistant
  • Ben Mitchell, peer research consultant
  • Samantha Tepper, Bednar Conservation Intern
  • Ally Mastrangelo, Mapping the Student Engagement Journey undergraduate research assistant

This year, for the first time, the Student Showcase presentation included Outstanding Student Employee Awards to recognize and honor students who have provided exemplary service,demonstrated a strong work ethic in their role, and exhibited leadership within the Libraries. Students were nominated by their supervisor or workplace colleagues, with additional letters of support that help the committee understand the valuable contributions each student has made. Each recipient received a certificate and $250. The Spring 2020 Outstanding Student Employee Award recipients are:

  • Mauvette Malizia, graduate assistant for accessibility, for her leadership with the Libraries’ Accessibility Student Advisory Group and her work ethic in continuing to develop projects supporting accessibility within the Libraries;
  • Ben Mitchell, peer research consultant, for his work ethic and service in assisting his peers at the Search Bar, his mentorship of new peer research consultants, and his taking initiative to expand his role to collaborate and create an exhibition in Pattee Library’s Sidewater Commons and now viewable online that highlights political protest materials in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library’s Ken Lawrence Collection;
  • Lily Murray, Bednar Student Engagement & Outreach Intern, for her leadership in creating new library events, such as organizing, hosting and leading three Wikipedia Edit-a-thons that reached beyond University Park for a multi-campus collaboration; and
  • Jada Warner, library staff assistant, for their exemplary service in ensuring that all questions from library patrons are answered with empathy and in being a reliable and adaptable employee for peers and Libraries faculty and staff.

Endowments such as the Bednar Internship program and the Stelts & Filippelli Undergraduate Internship in Rare Books & manuscripts & Historical Collections and Labor Archives make many of the Libraries’ student employment opportunities possible. Such endowments support and enhance the University Libraries by providing monies for paid internship programs that enable students to participate in an active and collaborative learning experience and to gain career experience while earning academic credit.

Established in 2000, the Bednar Internship Program was created through an endowment by Donald Hamer and Marie Bednar. This program enables the Libraries to hire juniors and seniors to complete paid internships with the option of earning academic credit if they so choose. The internships allow students to gain an active and collaborative learning experience with real world skills applicable to their chosen career path. So far, the Bednar Internship program has supported over 160 students; their work has left a lasting impression on the University Libraries.

Established in 2007 by Sandra Stelts and Ronald Filippelli, the Sandra K. Stelts & Ronald L. Filippelli Undergraduate Internship in Rare Books & manuscripts & Historical Collections and Labor Archives supports an undergraduate student each year to work within two Special Collection units: Rare Books & Manuscripts and Historical Collections & Labor Archives.

The partnership between student employees and the University Libraries achieves multiple objectives, said Fargo. “Student workers use their experiences to help us market our services better, provide meaningful, contextual programming for student organizations and classes, and help us — as Libraries employees — better understand what it means to be a Penn State student in 2020.”

Members of the Penn State community can view the students’ individual presentations on a curated Kaltura Channel via WebAccess login. For details about University Libraries internships and graduate assistantships, visit For more information about the Student Showcase and Outstanding Student Employee Awards, contact Hailley Fargo, student engagement coordinator, at

Last Updated April 15, 2020