New Professional of the Year Award

Congratulations, Jessica Keever!

University Housing

Jessica's nominator wrote the following:

“In University Housing, August is a very busy time but Jessica hit the ground running, starting her current position in the department only two weeks prior to fall move in. Since then, she has continued to demonstrate a commitment to the student experience and to the department that everyone who works with her recognizes and admires.  One of Jessica’s first tasks was launching University Housing’s student ambassador program. She set up a rigorous hiring process and a comprehensive training program for five student workers who would soon become the voice and the face of the department on social media. Always conscious that her student staff members can get as much out of the experience as the department does from their efforts, she intentionally creates learning opportunities for her staff, for example:     

  • how to represent the skills they learn in this position to future employers
  • how to utilize Microsoft Teams software to maximize efficiency and consolidate communication directing them to LinkedIn Learning or on-campus resources to inform their work
  • making intentional efforts to make her student staff members feel included and heard, such as giving them roles in team meetings
  • challenging them with monthly, self-driven tasks that trigger out-of-the-box thinking and the acquisition of new skills (i.e., get a photo representing the theme of the month)
  • engaging them in the creation of a marketing plan to hire the next group of ambassadors 


Within University Housing, Jessica has served and been asked to serve on several committees because of her confidence, positive attitude, and departmental and institutional knowledge. As a former Arch Society member, she is ideally suited to serve on committees such as the one that welcomed the SEC housing directors’ group during their annual meeting held at UGA this year. Jessica also frequently gives tours of campus and housing to professional staff member candidates during the recruitment process and served on the planning committee for University Housing’s annual End-of-Semester Celebration in December. She has been tapped by internal Housing staff to train maintenance and building services workers in customer service, and served on Housing’s internal pay rate committee because of her understanding of student positions within the department. As part of her work, Jessica has represented the department at several events and on a few panels since July, including the Rainbow Resource Fair, first-year orientation and events run out of the Honors Program, the Mary Frances Early College of Education, and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She represents University Housing and UGA with professionalism, and has a thorough knowledge of housing operations. She makes a point to focus on each person and for them to leave the conversation feeling more empowered or knowledgeable than before they met her. Anyone can learn the information necessary to participate in these events, but Jessica takes it a step further by making purposeful connections with students and visitors so that they are excited to envision themselves as part of the UGA community. 


As a supplement to her excellent work within the capacity of her position, Jessica has also served the division by presenting ‘Working Past Five: Workaholism in College Students’ at both the Division’s Engage conference in September 2019 and at the Collegiate Leadership Conference (CLC) in February 2020. In addition – with her encouragement – all but one of the seven students she supervises attended the CLC conference, after which Jessica called the group together to reflect upon what they’d learned. Jessica also recently volunteered to train as a racial justice facilitator through the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund, and will participate as a facilitator at that organization’s annual ‘It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race’ event in March 2020.  Even though Jessica been with University Housing for fewer than two years, she has made a significant impact on the department because of her skills, knowledge base, and sunny disposition. She is a great example of the caliber of students that UGA has, as well as an example of the positive impact Housing and the Division have on students with respect to leadership, emotional intelligence, and a dedication to serving others.”


Recipient: Individual

Have a new professional in your department that exceeds expectations? Are you a newer professional and feel like you have gone above and beyond?

This award recognizes a UGA Student Affairs staff member with 1 to 3 years total professional experience within their field (not only at UGA) who has consistently exceeded the responsibilities of their position in a way that enhances the success, mission, and goals of the Division.

Nominations will be evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria:

  • Performing job responsibilities in an exemplary manner
  • Seeking additional opportunities to engage within the Division outside of regular position responsibilities through volunteering for and/or participating in initiatives hosted by various departments or the Division
  • Positively impacting, engaging, and/or supporting the Division and UGA community
  • Contributing to their field through conference presentations, digital/print publications, or a volunteer role(s)
  • Nominee serves as a staff member in UGA Student Affairs with 1 year to 3 years of total professional experience (not only at UGA) at time of nomination

Previous Award Winners

Staff Awards

The Student Affairs Staff Awards, given to deserving staff across the division and the University, recognize outstanding accomplishments and leadership in student affairs at the University of Georgia.