WT Recognizes Year’s Top Student Employees

Chip Chandler Apr 11, 2023
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WT Recognizes Year’s Top Student Employees

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — An information technology employee who arranged for continual campus tech support during a school shutdown and a graduate assistant who makes sure students get their diplomas from one of the University’s largest Colleges are West Texas A&M University’s Student Employees of the Year for 2022-23.

Christopher Bland, a senior computer information systems major from Fritch, and Emma Deer, a graduate agriculture science student from Canyon, were recognized by WT’s Office of Career and Professional Development at an April 10 reception in Legacy Hall inside the Jack B. Kelley Student Center on WT’s Canyon campus.

The celebration was part of National Student Employee Week.

“Student employment offers students career-enhancing opportunities that allow them to ultimately pursue and articulate personal, professional and career goals,” said Beth Mowry, senior career services coordinator. “On our campus and throughout communities, student employees perform invaluable services.”

In all, 26 undergraduate and graduate students were nominated by their supervisors.

Bland, who works as a team leader in WT’s IT department, was lauded for his skills in multi-tasking, problem-solving and mentoring other student employees.

“Chris … took up the leadership of adjusting and arranging a modified schedule for the HelpDesk and the Hastings Electronic Learning Center after an overnight snowstorm,” wrote supervisor Mike Young, IT Support Center manager, in a nomination letter. “While I was away in another state, I awoke to discover that he had already worked out the scheduling details to assure continued support for students still on-campus as well as faculty and staff who were suddenly forced to work from home.”

IT “is what I like to do most,” Bland said. “Student jobs are so important because they give you experience to take out with you into the real world and help you step up to the plate.”

Deer, who works in the dean’s office in the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, was cited for her exceptional and diligent work in providing accurate information to students and faculty.

“Emma’s primary responsibilities are management of academic records as they relate to the process of earning a degree for all three academic departments in our College,” wrote Rebekah Bachman, assistant dean, in a nomination letter. “Not only is a comprehensive knowledge of the 19 different majors required for degree-plan checks, substitution processing and graduation applications, assessments and verifications, but also a high level of attention to detail and problem-solving to manage individual student records with accuracy. The responsibility of verifying degree requirements is foundational to our institutional integrity.”

Deer said working closely with Bachman and the rest of the College entails “a lot of responsibility that I take very seriously.”

“I put in a lot of hours in my job, but I love it,” Deer said.

The full nominee slate included:

Krista Bishop, a sophomore marketing major from Sherman; Christopher Brandon, a junior social work major from Canyon; Bianca Campos, a graduate student in sports and exercise sciences from Petersburg; Amelia Casasanta, a senior biology major from Amarillo; Lezley Cummings, a junior nursing major from Amarillo; Anna Estrada, a senior health sciences major from Borger; Tucker Gattis, a graduate student in public administration from Pottsboro; David Hardin, a senior psychology major from Clyde; Abby Kate Hays, a senior sports and exercise sciences major from Boyd; Kylee Henneberry, a junior agribusiness and economics major from Hartford, Wisconsin; Baiyleigh Higgs, a junior communication disorders major from Tulia; Alyssa Higgs, a senior accounting major from Claude; Makenzie Jones, a sophomore sports and exercise sciences major from Peaster; Makenzie Knipe, a senior agriculture major from Canyon Lake; Lexi Metz, a senior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Monte Vista, Colorado; Jacob Mills, a senior business major from Midland; Amber Page, a senior engineering technology major from Canyon; Adriana Rademacher, a graduate environmental science major from Canyon; Rylie Schlessman, a senior accounting major from Beaver, Oklahoma; Vanessa Vidana, a senior interdisciplinary studies major from Tulia; Cara Walker, a junior wildlife biology major from Canyon; Kyler Wilhelm, a junior management major from Canyon; Macy Willis, a graduate student in counseling from Canon City, Colorado; and Gaston Yobol, a senior business major from Canyon.

WT's Student Employment Week also will include a part-time job and internship fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 13 on the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughan Pedestrian Mall.

Recruiting, retaining and rewarding the best students is a key principle of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $120 million.




About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.