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Library award honors outstanding student workers

Two student employees at the ASU Library have been awarded the library’s spring 2021 Tomalee Doan LibAid for Student Success award

Raquel Salas, who has worked at the library for nearly four years, has been awarded the first-place prize of $1,000 for delivering exceptional customer service as a Library Student Aide III at the Downtown Phoenix campus Library.

Rie Fukuzaki, who has worked at the library for two years, has been awarded the second-place prize of $250 for demonstrating consistent professionalism, expertise and approachability as a representative of the Makerspace in Hayden Library.

Both student employees were nominated for the award by their supervisors due to demonstrated excellence in going above and beyond to serve the ASU community.

Raquel Salas

While juggling a full load of classes for a demanding degree in health care and a guardianship of an 8-year-old member of her family, Raquel rarely misses a shift or arrives late to work.

Dependability, flexibility, resilience and a willingness to problem-solve and step in when extra help is needed were some of the ways the award committee characterized Raquel’s work performance at the ASU Library.

“Raquel’s sense of mission to help others, her sheer joy in doing so, makes her an outstanding model of customer service excellence for us all to admire,” wrote her supervisors, Andrew Barber and Jackie Young, who nominated Raquel for the award. “Whenever other staff have interacted with Raquel, many times they will remark to us how pleasant it is to deal with her because of her remarkable level of professionalism and caring demeanor. She radiates her authentic self in all her dealings with people, whether they are staff, other student workers or library patrons.”

When the pandemic hit, Raquel was forced to pick up a second job to make up for cuts in library pay to help support her schooling and her family.

“A proven leader, Raquel is always looking for ways to problem-solve and make her life, as well as those who depend on her, better,” her supervisors write. “She often shows newer students how to perform their responsibilities without being prompted to.”

Racquel is graduating from Arizona State University this month with her bachelor’s degree in Community Health from the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation with plans to attend graduate school.  

She says she will apply her monetary prize toward the cost of her graduate program.

“My time at this library has given me many things, chief among them being a strong belief that I am not defined by the financial limitations of my past but by the potential of my future,” Raquel said. “Now standing on the precipice of my future, I know that wherever I may go from here, what I have learned and what the incredible staff at this library have given me will stay with me forever.”

Rie Fukuzaki

Rie’s amazing ability to set people at ease in the Hayden Library Makerspace, ultimately empowering them to use technology, is what sets her apart.

Nominated for the award by her supervisors Victor Surovec and Michael Sepulveda, Rie is known to “effortlessly alleviate patron stress and is approachable to both novice and experienced makers.”

Creative, attentive, positive and extremely helpful, Rie goes the extra mile in anything she pursues, making her an invaluable part of the Makerspace team.  

“We often get new tools and procedures in the Makerspace, and Rie takes initiative to learn and adapt quickly,” write her supervisors.

Rie is an undergraduate student studying Industrial Design in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“ASU Library is about creating an environment that nurtures the ideas of people from different backgrounds,” said Rie. “The library not only has given me a space to create, but the encouragement I needed to realize that I am more than capable of developing my ideas. Working at the ASU Library means to understand the ASU community on a personal level and work alongside them on projects that are meaningful to them. It grants me the ability to learn from bright-minded peers to bring their ideas to life and make new discoveries.”

The LibAid for Student Success award was created in 2019 through the generosity of Tomalee Doan, former Associate University Librarian, with the goal of providing further support to well-rounded student employees who show a high level of commitment to serving the library and the university. 

The award is given bi-annually at the end of the fall and spring semesters.