When Spring Arbor University Radio faced a time of need due to maternity leaves of two employees, senior Eric Iden stepped up to help fill the void. SAU Radio benefited from his commitment so much that his supervisor, Tonya Hernandez, nominated him for Spring Arbor University’s annual “Student Employee of the Year” award. After taking top honors, the university entered him into the statewide Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators (MASEA) competition, which he also won.
“When I heard I received this award, I was humbled. I’ve always had the mindset of doing my job to the best of my ability and never thought anything of it,” says Iden.
As on-air personality for HOME.fm and production assistant for SAU Radio, Iden plays an important role at the radio station. He has a two-hour show every weeknight on HOME.fm. “I get to share stories and pass on important information our listeners may need. I am also the production assistant and one of a few sports broadcasters at SAU. I am in charge of broadcasting men’s basketball games for SAU Radio. This means I go to the games and either broadcast the play-by-play or color commentary with one other coworker,” says Iden.
The contest is sponsored by MASEA, a non-profit, professional organization comprised of administrators and counselors from post-secondary institutions who are involved in securing employment opportunities for students. Iden’s state recognition marks the first time a Spring Arbor University student has won since the Student Employee of the Year program began in 1995. Iden competed with 74 student employees from other colleges like Michigan State University, Grand Rapids Community College and more.
Iden was honored thanks to characteristics he displayed in several categories including reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and uniqueness of contribution. “Eric stood out because of his charisma and attitude. We look for any attributes that stick out. Students who see a bigger picture and make it easier for others to work,” says Deb Scripter, director of student employment and MASEA member.
According to Hernandez, Iden possesses those characteristics and then some. “Students often show interest in one or two aspects of radio and focus their energy into that specific area. After his first couple of years working with us and focusing on his DJ skills, Eric decided he wanted to learn more. He wanted to know everything about radio. He took it upon himself to improve his sports play-by-play abilities, but also asked for more responsibility and training other ‘off-air’ radio duties. He quickly learned several production procedures and started gaining more production duties as part of his job with us,” says Hernandez.
“Outside of his regular work with us, Eric has taken the initiative to mentor other students in their roles with us. Oftentimes, students will reference something they learned because, ‘Eric stopped in the studio the other night and told me,’” says Hernandez.
“One of my favorite parts about working here is I have been mentored the whole time by my amazing bosses and really have learned so much from them, both as professionals in the workforce and through my interactions outside of work. I also love working with other students and watching them grow as broadcasters as well,” says Iden.
Iden, a youth ministry major who graduated in May, plans to work as the teaching pastor at the Allen United Methodist Church.