PITTSBURG — There was a surprise announcement during Pittsburg State University’s 29th Student Employee of the Year Awards Ceremony on Monday.

PSU student Michaela Bedene, of Franklin, was selected to be the Student Employee of the Year.

She was one of 26 finalists to be nominated for the award out of 600 student employees working on the PSU campus.

"In the less than two years that she has been part of our team, she performs and develops procedures that improve efficiency and customer service," her nominator wrote. "She is professional, and her dedication and thorough knowledge of the processes serves this office, our students, and this university unlike any other student employee.

“She fully embraces the ability to assist where she is most needed and works diligently to provide the best service to not only this office, but all those we serve."

Inspired by her mother to be a nurse, Bedene enrolled at Pittsburg State University.

For the past two years she has worked at the Registrar's Office where she assists students with adding and dropping classes, sending out transcripts and other customer services.

Bedene said she enjoys the work environment and the people within it.

“I like working with the people there, they are family-oriented,” she said. “It’s like having a second family there.”

Her favorite part of the job, she said, is assisting students from Saudi Arabia, working with their country’s embassy to help them get through college at PSU.

But this award wasn’t the surprise.

She was also selected as the Kansas Student Employee of the Year.

“I was really surprised,” Bedene said. “It is such an honor to be nominated and then to actually receive the award is crazy.”

On top of her two awards, she just found out last week that she made it into the school’s nursing program.

At the ceremony Bedene was presented with a framed certificate and a medallion that she may wear around her neck during her commencement ceremony in 2020.  
During the awards ceremony, Pittsburg State President Steve Scott said the university couldn't operate without student employees.  
"Your roles are extremely important to us," he said in a release. "In a word, you're awesome."
Also recognized were first runner-up Jaycie Polhlopek, a junior in exercise science from Franklin, who works in Alumni and Constituent Relations.

Polhlopek graduated high school with Bedene, a neat coincidence she said.

The second runner-up is Kiersten Morris, a senior in nursing from Cheney, who works in Health, Human Performance and Recreation.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.