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Q&A with Student Employee of the Year

Meet Lia Tillman '21, recipient of this year’s Student Employee of the Year award for her work as a public services manager in the Bethel University Library.

By Carolynne Camp '21

April 15, 2021 | 12:35 p.m.

Lia Tillman

Lia Tillman is a Public Services Manager for the Bethel Library

Every year, Bethel University asks student employee supervisors to submit their nominations for Student Employee of the Year. The award exists to recognize employees who excel in eight core competencies: communication, digital technology, problem-solving, professionalism/work ethic, intercultural fluency, career management, leadership, and teamwork. This year, Lia Tillman ’21 was the outstanding nomination. In this Q&A, she shares a bit about herself and how she’s been impacted by her experience as a student employee.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what your life looks like at Bethel?

I grew up in the Philippines and was there until I graduated high school. My parents are missionaries in the Philippines. Then I moved to Minnesota with my siblings. I am currently a senior math education major at Bethel and am student teaching. Along with working in the library, I am also a leader of MuKappa. MuKappa is a club for third culture kids—kids who grew up in a culture that was not their original culture or parent’s culture—and international students. Student teaching takes up a lot of my time, but I really enjoy my time in these organizations.

How did you get involved with working at the library?

I started working at the library during my first semester of college. That year, the library was hiring public service assistants. My siblings had worked the role in the past and encouraged me to work there as well. In my opinion, working in the library is the best job on campus. My job consists of answering questions and helping everyone who comes to the front desk of the library. These tasks can range from library-related questions to general Bethel questions. I also help with processing the books in our library, processing the books coming in from other libraries, laminations, and putting books on reserve for classes. The hardest part of the job is definitely helping people with general Bethel questions because it requires you to have an understanding of a lot of Bethel’s policies, but we have wonderful staff in the library that are always willing to help.

How has your work at the library at Bethel prepared you for the future?

As a lead public services assistant, I use a lot of problem-solving skills when processing books and making work schedules. I have grown in my customer service skills because of this job, especially in the summer when we would have more guests on campus. Sometimes we get difficult questions or have messages pop up in our system, and solving these problems is my favorite part of the job. When these things occur, I get to work with my other co-workers and librarians to solve the problem.

After graduation, I will be working as a math teacher in the Twin Cities area. I want to take the skills I learned in my library job and apply them to a classroom setting. I have learned so much about teamwork and having patience, and I can see those skills already translating into my line of work.

Any advice for students looking for employment on-campus?

My advice for students looking for an on-campus job is to get a job with good staff support and coworker support. The other student employees at the library are fantastic and always willing to help out.  

Any other comments you would like to add?

I just want to say a big thank you to the library staff for not only giving me a job but letting me grow within the job as well. It has been the best experience working there and I recommend anyone who has a good work ethic to work in the library.

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