By Roger Lee Osborne/Who’s that editor

Each year students at Eastern are nominated by their employers for the Student Employee of the Year Award.Smriti Pande, 22, an international student from Nepal, didn’t expect to be the winner this year.

“There were lots of student workers who were nominated and deserved (the award). I was totally surprised,” Pande said. “I was overwhelmed. I felt like I was on the top of the world.”

Pande said she is committed to her work and tries to get the job done as soon as it’s assigned. She works in the International Office at Eastern, a job where she deals with clerical work and handles immigration documents.

“The job has helped me to be more responsible and trustworthy,” Pande said. “It has enhanced my problem solving abilities.”

Beth Blanchard, coordinator of international education, says the recent workload addition to Pande’s job has proven her abilities.

“Since 9/11 we have had to do a lot of extra work with the Immigration Office. She has done well with this,” she said.

Blanchard feels Pande’s character helps her to be such a good employee. Blanchard nominated Pande for the award this year and had previously recommended her.

“She has to meet the public here. People from all different countries. She comes across as kind, hospitable and respectful,” Blanchard said. “One thing is her work ethic. She doesn’t consider this a job to just put in her time. She is very dependable.”

Pande, who plans to get her master’s degree in environmental science, graduates from Eastern next spring. She hopes to work for the World Health Organization, an agency specializing in bringing people all over the world to the highest level of well being. She hopes she can help prevent disease and illness in rural parts of her country.

One of the most rewarding things about her job is working with people, Pande said.

“I get to mingle with students from all over the world,” she said. “I never feel like I work here. There is never a dull moment.”

Pande said her family has helped inspire her in everything she does, especially her parents.

“It was my dad and mom who have inspired me in my life. They have taught me to work hard and be independent,” she said. “My family was so proud of me. They were certain that I will do something great.”

Pande said she is glad she made the choice to come to Eastern. She said the faculty has helped make her time at Eastern a good experience.

“I was lucky that I chose EKU. All my teachers are helpful,” she said. “Working on campus is terrific.”

Blanchard said because of Pande’s dedication to her education and work she is pleased Pande was chosen as the winner.

“She is very deserving. She has done everything she needs to do to make it through school. Often international students have a hard time financially making it,” she said.

Reach Roger Lee at roger_osborne2@eku.edu