SIU announces Student Employee of the Year

By Shawn Bowen, @ShawnBowen_DE

Every April, the Financial Aid Office sponsors an award to recognize the accomplishments of a student whose work extends beyond the classroom.

Kathreen Cayo, a senior from Smithboro studying agribusiness economics, received this year’s Student Employee of the Year award on Thursday.

Cayo, who will be graduating in May, already secured a job with the Illinois Farm Bureau. As the award winner, she received a plaque, a letter from President Randy Dunn and a $300 scholarship.  


Since January 2014, Cayo has held two jobs within the College of Agricultural Sciences. She said working in student services and the dean’s office has further cultivated her lifelong interest in agriculture.

Aside from work, Cayo stays busy as president of the Collegiate Farm Bureau, a Registered Student Organization she helped create.

“Being here on campus and starting the Colligate Farm Bureau definitely introduced me to the [Illinois] Farm Bureau as a whole and that opened that door to get a job with them,” Cayo said. 

Susan Graham, assistant to the dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, nominated Cayo in part because of her willingness to go the extra mile. Graham said Cayo excels at her position and is confident she will continue to in the future.

“I expect Katie to go as far as she would like to go,” Graham said.

Cayo was one of 19 student employees nominated by their supervisors for the award. 

Senior Kristi Strobbe, who was nominated by Olinda Hubbs from the Office of Information Technology, was runner-up.  She received a certificate, a letter from President Dunn and a $100 scholarship.


Terri Harfst, director of the Financial Aid Office, said the 4,200 students employed annually by the university play a vital role in the operation of the school.

“We couldn’t do what we do on this campus without student employees,” Harfst said.

 Shawn Bowen can be reached at [email protected]