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Meet the SEOTY Awards winners and runners up

The Student Employee of the Year awards 2024 took place at a glamorous awards ceremony on 30 April at Durham Town Hall.

Scroll down for the full list of winners and runners up.
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A student taking a selfie with their employer at the Student of the Year Awards 2024

Full list of winners and runners up

Above & Beyond Award

On Campus winner: Billy Stapleton

Billy’s  commitment and contribution have superseded all expectations in his employment within the Computing and Information Services Team.

On at least 4 occasions, at short notice, he has driven up to Durham from his home in Nottingham to step in and cover staff absence. Despite this not being financially viable for him, he always insisted that he could, and would do this.

He has also volunteered to take the lead on 29 upskilling sessions and he regularly engages with and supports project stakeholders. 

Off Campus winner: Tarika Sodhi

Tarika epitomises the qualities of an exceptional employee who consistently goes above and beyond for her employers at Tealicious Tearoom.

She goes out of her way to ensure that every guest feels welcome and valued, providing excellent customer service with genuine care and attention to detail.

Beyond her designated work hours, she readily extends her assistance whenever needed. Whether it's staying late to help with closing duties or lending a hand outside of her shift, she consistently demonstrates her dedication to the team.

Highly commended:

Crystal Truong has made an incredible contribution to The Durham Student team since joining in 2021. She has generated new ideas to enable them to expand their reach via the introduction of a podcast. This is in addition to always taking an active role with various photo shoots & film productions, reviewing communication materials and always being keen to get involved in proposed projects.

Abby Bierton has made an outstanding contribution as a dedicated member of the student catering staff at St. Mary’s College. Throughout her time in this employment, she has consistently displayed remarkable commitment, an unwavering work ethic, and a relentless dedication to ensuring the success of our catering events while balancing her academic pursuits.

Hoh Shan Poh has gone above and beyond their job description, spearheading significant initiatives and leaving a lasting impact on the process of student-supported curriculum decolonisation at Durham University.


Step up to Leadership Award

On Campus winner: Kate Jones

This award aims to identify and recognise the leaders of tomorrow, today. 

Kate has displayed exceptional dedication and contribution to the team and the broader university community. Her genuine concern for her peers' well-being sets her apart as a compassionate leader.

She exemplifies the qualities of dedication, empathy, and leadership. Her outstanding contributions to the team and the broader community as a Student Community Warden make her a deserving candidate for the Step Up to Leadership Award.

Off Campus winner: Leo Thompson

Leo has shown leadership qualities by listening to the challenges faced by our team, empathising, and using his position to speak out, passionately and publicly, to advocate for our female-led team. This has built trust and respect within our team. He shows up for what we believe in time-and-time-again and is an exemplary leader here at Local Energy Systems.

Highly commended

Charlotte Hunter is a student who combines her role at the college bar alongside studying for a PhD and being a Postgraduate President. Not only has she run the bar, but she has developed an entirely new menu of drink options, widened food choices; redecorated the bar and rebranded it. If that wasn’t enough, she has also been at the heart of the project to develop an entirely new bar next year.

Ainsleigh Montgomery has worked with the library café for nearly 3 years. This in itself is an achievement for a student, however, she is also friendly, incredibly hardworking and a natural leader for other new and often shy casuals. She is always on hand to provide exceptional training and sharing of her expertise.


Self Employed/Freelance Award

Winner: Arabella Tagg

Arabella is an event and wedding photographer. She has shown a strong commitment to her freelance work during her time at university having taken over 170,000 photos at various events, including club nights, balls, and fashion shows. She has also made a meaningful contribution to the local community having founded the 'Durham Photographers Swap and Shop' Facebook group. As founder of this group, she has been instrumental in building a supportive network for both local and student photographers.


Highly commended

Ethan Denis has provided an outstanding service as a tutor for the past 4 years. Since joining Durham he has tutored students in maths and science. His positive influence and his unwavering commitment has helped to raise student attainment and aspirations. He is an excellent tutor who excels at sharing his passion and knowledge to inspire others.


Student Intern of the Year Award

On Campus winner: Crystal Truong

As an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Intern, Crystal has displayed passion and drive to level the playing field and to empower her peers to access careers opportunities.  She continues to exceed expectations in every task and project. Her commitment to peer engagement and building relationships with societies and associations through active listening and tailored communication strategies has been pivotal in allowing previously marginalised voices to now be heard, and beyond this, to be instrumental in shaping careers education at Durham University.


Off Campus winner: Curtis Jones

Curtis has navigated unfamiliar terrain with confidence and leveraged every opportunity to grow personally and professionally and has been of huge benefit to the organisation. He has thrived amongst his peers who have recognised and valued his contributions. Throughout the internship, he has grown in confidence and the experience he has received to-date will serve him well as he pursues a career in engineering. He has taken every task in his stride and shows incredible promise as a structural engineer.

Highly commended

Emma Allison is a Marketing intern within the Careers & Enterprise Department.  She has been proactive in identifying opportunities to increase the departments marketing reach despite having limited marketing experience prior to this role. She has supported a number of staff members with various campaigns, established effective working relationships and has ensured that resources are accessible to all our students. 

Noa Mensch has been working within the Library and Collections team.  Throughout her internship, all aspects of her work have been impressive and her contribution has made a significant positive impact on the outcome of the project assigned.  Her research work and future involvement will help to achieve the University’s commitment to embedding racial equality in order to create an inclusive culture for staff and students from diverse backgrounds.

Jojo Kang category has engaged in 15 structural engineering projects ranging from farm structures, churches and residential buildings during his internship at Blackett-Ord Conservation. He has supported senior engineers with condition surveys, produced accurate drawings based on existing surveys and designed suitable components to reinforce the stability of various structures. He has excelled in every task given.


Team of the Year Award

Winners: The Post-Graduate Student Ambassadors

Despite only working together for a short time, the Post-Graduate Student Ambassadors team have delivered events to a high standard, aiding in the recruitment of postgraduate students. The team have received outstanding feedback and on each occasion there was a significant surge in student applications after the event – clearly indicative of their efforts in selling the university.  

Highly commended

The Durham Student is a team of Content Creators and Student Room Reps. The quality of their work has led to the team consistently outperforming competitors in terms of impact and engagement. They consistently produce high quality content that engages and resonates with their audience which is invaluable in supporting the recruitment marketing team to reach their target markets.

The ASK team have been key in launching the delivery of Durham Student Union's new support service, ‘ASK- Advice Support Knowledge’. They go above and beyond to help resolve any queries or problems service users may have. One of their key strengths is their ability to communicate effectively with each other as they hand over shifts to ensure a smooth journey for service users, enabling them to get the correct support.


Employer of the Year Awards

On Campus winner: The Student Recruitment Marketing Team

The Student Recruitment Marketing Team are inspirational mentors for The Durham Student team.

They give the team creative freedom to explore their potential on various platforms and expose team members to exciting projects which they enthusiastically support.

They have gone above and beyond their role in advancing the teams professional development, but also provide pastoral support by focusing on the team’s overall well-being.


Off Campus winner: The Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington has provided employment opportunities for students over a number of years.

They offer a warm and friendly working environment, go out of their way to make students feel welcome and allow them to learn about their business whilst they work.

The training they receive is first class and the management can’t be faulted – they are hugely supportive and flexible around the academic calendar as well as other commitments.


Highly commended

Treats Tea Rooms is a local family run business in Durham. They are incredibly flexible around student timetables, with schedules tailored around student availability at the start of each week. Not only is it an incredibly pleasant working environment with polite and courteous management, but they generously provide staff with food whilst on shift, regardless of shift length. They truly are a wonderful employer to work for.


Overall Student Employee of the Year Award

Winner: Crystal Truong

Crystal was nominated in three different categories. She produces incredible work across multiple departments in the university and has had tremendous feedback from not only her work colleagues and line management, but also external stakeholders.