The Billings Outpost

Top student employee struggled to find plan

MSU Billings News Services

For many Montana State University Billings students, the college experience is much like a juggling act. A full course load, homework, labs, student organizations, family responsibilities and outside activities all require attention. Throw in a job, and there never seems to be enough hours in a day.

In fact, about 80 percent of students at MSU Billings work to make ends meet.  Some of those jobs are in the community and some of them are work-study jobs at the university, tackling assorted tasks and projects.

From time to time, however, those college jobs evolve into something bigger and better, and even life-changing.

Such was the case this year for Morgan Riggs, a health and human performance major who anticipates graduating the Fall of 2015 with a focus on health and wellness.

Riggs changed her major three times during her freshman year.

“When I came to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Riggs said. “I didn’t have a plan for my future.”

That changed in 2011 when the 21-year-old from Glasgow landed a work-study position with Student Health Services. She quickly gained a reputation for hard work and commitment to volunteering her time with SHS organizations and events.

“I realized that I would love to work in health and wellness for the rest of my life,” Riggs said. “I enjoyed coming to work every day and I knew that I had a true passion for health. So, I changed my major once again.”

Her supervisors were so impressed by Riggs’ attitude and work ethic that they created a part-time permanent position just for her as a student health promotion specialist.

“We latched on and were not going to let go,” said Darla Tyler-McSherry, the director of Student Health Services at MSU Billings.

Three years later, Morgan has been selected as the Student Employee of the Year for MSU Billings by Career Services.

“Morgan is truly an asset to our department,” Tyler-McSherry said.

“She has a great attitude, is a hard worker and is never afraid to take on new challenges.”

Triniti Halverson, a health educator with SHS and Riggs’ supervisor, said Riggs is a model student employee. In addition to her full course load and her work with SHS, she also works part-time as a nurse’s assistant at a retirement facility and volunteers as a victims’ advocate for the MSU Billings Phoenix Center and a peer educator with MSUB HEROES.

Halverson said Riggs has a unique way of making a positive impact on the lives of people around her.

“Morgan is always the first person to step up when something needs to get done, or someone needs something,” Halverson said. “She always has a hand to offer.”

Riggs said that in the time she has worked with SHS, the office has greatly expanded on its services, including sexual assault services and massage therapy for students, faculty and staff.

“I really admire the people I work with,” she said. “Student Health Services is so amazing — as a team we want to make everyone’s lives easier and healthier, so we do what we can to make sure that happens,” Riggs said.

Student Employee of the Year winners are honored for their accomplishments in which they demonstrate reliability, initiative, quality of work, professionalism, uniqueness of contribution, and community and campus services.

For more information on the Student Employee of the Year Award, contact Patricia Reuss, director of Career Services and Cooperative, at 657-1616.

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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