Student Award Recipients

December 12, 2023

College Library proudly announces the recipients of its Fall 2023 Excellence-in-Service Awards, recognizing outstanding contributions from student assistants who go above and beyond to make the library a vibrant hub of learning and discovery.

This semester, the spotlight shines on Elias Cassis and Ash Jenks, whose exceptional dedication, leadership, and passion for creating a welcoming library environment have earned them the highest praise from colleagues and patrons alike.

Elias, who works in the library’s computer lab as part of the End User Computing unit, “is more than just a student assistant; he is a true leader among his peers and an invaluable asset to the entire library team,” says one colleague. “His unwavering commitment to excellence shines through everything he does, from mentoring new staff members to spearheading innovative projects that enhance our service for everyone.”

Elias’s passion for technology and problem-solving has yielded tangible results. His recent work on WebCheckout, streamlining the late and overdue checkout process, ensures equipment remains readily available for all patrons. This behind-the-scenes initiative, coupled with his meticulous attention to detail and go-getter attitude, has transformed how the library infolabs serve the college community.

“Elias’s willingness to share his knowledge and go the extra mile for his colleagues is truly inspiring,” says another colleague. “He creates a supportive and positive learning environment where everyone feels valued and encouraged to ask questions and grow. His kindness, intelligence, and leadership make him a role model for all of us.”

Ash, meanwhile, is equally appreciated for their efforts in access services. Their supervisor notes, “Ash has been an incredible help during our hiring process – reviewing applications, interviewing applicants, making hiring decisions, and training.” Indeed, Ash’s leadership goes far beyond their official role. According to one colleague. “From spearheading our hiring process to actively seeking professional development opportunities to share with others, they are a true champion of growth and inclusivity.” Ash’s tireless efforts in hiring and training have ensured a strong, diverse team that reflects the university community.

But Ash’s impact extends beyond staffing. “Their commitment to creating a welcoming and safe space for all is evident in everything they do,” says another colleague. “From setting up seasonal displays that invite patrons to connect and celebrate, to championing events and trainings that promote inclusivity, Ash leads with compassion and creativity.” Ash’s calm demeanor and thoughtful approach to problem-solving have fostered a supportive and collaborative atmosphere in the circulation department. “Their ability to create solutions on the fly creates an environment that allows all circulation staff to thrive and feel comfortable,” says a team member. Ash leads by example, inspiring everyone around them to strive for excellence.

The College Library is deeply grateful for the dedication and talent of all its staff, and especially proud to recognize Ash and Elias for their exceptional contributions. Their combined commitment to excellence exemplifies the library’s core values and paves the way for continued success in serving the learning and research needs of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Carrie Kruse, director of College Library, presenting the award to Ash Jenks.
College Library's Carrie Kruse with recipient Elias C.