​Graduating senior Kendra Occhipinti has been named the 2013-14 Student Employee of the Year by the Student Employment Office.

Occhipinti’s nominators said “she embodies what it means to be a student employee at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. Not only has she made huge contributions to the School of Education and Human Development, she has also nurtured her academic career and is a well-rounded and exceptional student. She has managed all of this by being focused, determined and hard working with exceptional grace and pose.”

Occhipinti was nominated for her “tireless work within the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD)” under the guidance of Maria Ruiz-Primo, associate professor and director of LEARN and the Research Center.

Occhipinti first started work there in 2010. Since then, she has had several different roles and responsibilities. Currently, she is the Grants Project Coordinator within the Laboratory for Educational Assessment, Research, and Innovation (LEARN). Occhipinti was asked to serve on the LEARN team due in part to her academic background as a biology major, coupled with her work at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as a Museum Educator.

In her current position, Occhipinti manages data for three ongoing research projects. Her duties include organizing, storing and backing up sensitive research data and selecting, scheduling and processing payments for research participants and videographers. She oversees the video equipment, and she maintains and manages the research interview transcriptions as well as participates in the actual data collection and interview process of these projects.

According to Occhipinti’s colleagues, she is a “dedicated, positive, courteous, and professional student employee who never hesitates to lend a hand or give an honest and professional opinion when asked.”

“I really enjoy this work because I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much,” Occhipinti said. “Since my degree is in biology and I plan to go into research, I’ll be able to apply the skills I’ve learned in post-award grant management to wherever I end up in my future career.”

Occhipinti arrived at CU Denver in the summer of 2010, and now she is set to graduate May 17 after maintaining an above average GPA (grade point average).

“I am very excited to be completing my degree this term with a BS in Biology and minors in geography and anthropology. As much as I love to work, I also love learning, which is part of why I branched out beyond my Biology core to incorporate very different fields,” Occhipinti said.

In her quest for knowledge, Occhipinti has applied to several graduate programs and has been accepted to multiple schools. No word yet on which direction she plans to take.

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