Each year, a Pittsburg State University student employee is awarded the Annual Student Employee of the Year Award for demonstrating exceptional behavior and characteristics in specific sections, as well as for making outstanding contributions to the office or department they work in.
The 2020-2021 recipient of the award is Sarah Linville, who works in the Health, Human Performance, and Recreation (HPPR) department.
“I’ve been the director in our HHPR department and over all of the aerobic fitness classes for over 11 years, and every now and again I’ll get really outstanding instructors and she, obviously, is one of them,” said Shelly Grimes, HPPR instructor, who nominated Linville. “So, not only does she just teach not just one, but she teaches three of them for me.”
Linville, who has taught yoga classes for the past year and a half, received the award during the ceremony on Apr. 12, said she was “shocked” yet very grateful to receive the award.
“… I am very grateful for professor Grimes,” Linville said. “She had messaged me and told me ‘Can I nominate you?’ and I said ‘Sure.’ It was pretty fun going and being at the ceremony and seeing how excited she was about the award. She’s a really good professor and definitely supportive.”
Linville juggles her job at PSU with also teaching yoga at the YMCA, Pinamonti Wellness Center, teaching for herself, doing events once a month, all while being a single parent to her six-year-old son.
“I have a paper calendar, I use my phone and I don’t sleep,” Linville said. “I have a lot of support.”
Despite her busy schedule, Grimes said Linville stays committed to her work, which is more than usual as most students teach one class while she teaches three.
“She is very passionate about it and she’s one of those students that she’s 100% all in,” Grimes said. “I can tell she’s full committed. I can tell she fully enjoys what she does. She’s great with the students, so I just kept watching her throughout the semesters when she’d teach and I thought ‘gosh, this lady truly, truly loves yoga.”
Linville credits much of her ability to manage her schedule to the support she gets from the university, which has confirmed her calling.
“That the Pittsburg State… department… is super supportive, that I chose the right field,” Linville said. “I have a great support team. I have professors and people that are paying attention to what you do… Not all universities have that where you can reach out and message them and say, ‘I’m having a pretty rough day, can you help me with this?’ Even though they have a lot on their plate, and they take the time out to help. And they have way more students to deal… and they still take that time to totally support you and help you grow.”
Linville enjoys the community she has grown into while working at PSU.
“Just getting to know… the other students, creating that community, and that support system
(is great),” Linville said.
Grimes said Linville always goes the “extra mile” to help the students she works with in every way.
“She’s not just about the stretching but she’s about total body wellness with the kids,” Grimes said. “So, she kind of incorporates the spirit, mind, and body which is what it’s supposed to be about. She’s very unique… and certainly does everything she can to go the extra mile.”
Linville strives to create a safe and relaxing environment in each of her classes where students can feel free to talk about any aspect of their life, and in response she aims to help them to the best of her resources.
“A lot of times people don’t have someone to reach out to and I have told them that any time they come into yoga this is a safe place, you can talk about whatever..,” Linville said. “…Every once in a while, someone will or will pull me aside at the end of class and ask ‘what do I do…’ and… do the best you can with general advice, and provide them with resources on campus. As a member of SVP, I do talk a lot about the services they have… so they do know they have resources to reach out to.”
Linville will graduate this semester with a degree in recreation services, sport, and hospitality management with an emphasis in community worksite wellness after which she plans on applying for a few jobs while spending time with her family.
“As soon as I’m done with graduation, I need some time at home to spend with my family,” Linville said. “I haven’t taken a summer to myself since I’ve started… I have so many personal things to catch up on that I already have my whole summer booked out and I’m going to spend time with my son.”
Second runner up for the award was Grace Haworth, who works in Campus Activities, and first runner up Bralyn Wilson, who works in Student Success Programs, were also honored in the ceremony.