UT honors student employee of the year

Lisa Nhan

To recognize his efforts to improve how students learn, senior Raul Pineda was named UT’s Student Employee of the Year on April 10.
Pineda, an applied learning and development major, was honored for National Student Employee Appreciation Week by the Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Human Resources. The award commends his work with OnRamps, a dual enrollment program for students to earn high school and college credit through UT.
“Everyone goes into their job hoping they’ll make an impact,” Pineda said. “To be recognized is just more affirmation that the work I’m doing is really impacting people.”  
Throughout the year, Pineda has created dozens of OnRamps orientation videos to help students learn at their best.
Julie Schell, director of OnRamps and Strategic Initiatives, said Pineda’s videos have had a large scale impact, reaching about 6,000 students across Texas.
“His designs are more user centered, and they’re innovative in that respect because he can remember what it feels like to be in that place,” Schell said. “When you see something he’s designed, that definitely comes through.”
Education was not always Pineda’s path. He started his college career as a chemical engineering major, but did not find the work fulfilling. However, he was enjoying tutoring his peers and had a growing interest in how people learn. Pineda then decided to change to an education major.
Pineda said this experience made him want to improve the transition from high school to college, and to emphasize the pursual of one’s passion.
“I just really want see if there’s ways we can help students to prepare for college and succeed, so they can make those big decisions for something they want to do, not just do it for money,” Pineda said.
After graduation, Pineda will be taking on a full-time job at OnRamps as the senior instructional designer.
Emily Wade, assistant director of enrollment services and strategic operations, said Pineda’s positive attitude and passion make him enjoyable to work with.
“He has already demonstrated such talent and persistence in his role as a part-time student fellow that I really think his professional potential is unlimited,” Wade said.

Pineda was recognized with 10 other finalists at an awards luncheon.