Washington State University senior Lauren Doll has been selected to receive the institution’s annual Student Employee of the Year award, according to an announcement by the Academic Success and Career Services (ASCC) office.

“Our selection committee was impressed by the qualities Lauren brings to her job as communications assistant for College Access Programs (CAP) in the Office of Academic Engagement (OAE),” said Alena Hume, student employment coordinator in ASCC. Hume coordinates the annual search for the top student employee and leads the committee charged with the final selection.

“While there are hundreds of invaluable student employees at WSU, Lauren’s outstanding contributions and achievements made her especially stand out this year, and we are pleased to recognize her with this honor.”

“Receiving the award is a surprise, but it’s a wonderful feeling to know I’m doing a good job,” said Doll.

She is an apparel, merchandising, design, and textiles major and communications minor, a graduate of Bellingham High School, and the daughter of Tom and Jayne Doll.

Big impact quickly

“Though Lauren started in her position a mere five months before we nominated her, she has left an indelible mark in our office—so much so that her act will be difficult to follow,” said her nominator, supervisor Ray Acuña-Luna, OAE CAP director. “I am in awe of how much she can independently accomplish and how quickly she adapted to the position.”

Closeup of Lauren Doll
Lauren Doll

Doll’s tasks include oversight of multiple social media channels and production of a popular podcast series, Coug Cast. Acuña-Luna said she has dramatically increased followers while producing high-quality outcomes. Coug Cast listeners have gone up on average 200 percent each month.

“Lauren quickly evaluated her role and tasks, developed a marketing plan, scrapped initiatives that were not working, and implemented new and innovative ways to reach our audiences. She keeps clear outlines of her work assignments, produces reports, and asks for clarification as needed.”

He complimented Doll’s ability to learn quickly, think critically, be professional, demonstrate a high standard of work ethic, and turn ideas into actions despite inherent challenges brought about during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as working in an online environment rather than in the physical office.

Acuña-Luna said, “One of the challenges of hiring new teammates is how they will impact the existing team dynamics, but I could not have been happier with the way Lauren conducts herself and relates to others inside and outside our team. She is open, inclusive, and sensitive to individual needs.”

WSU, job a great fit

Doll said she choose to attend WSU because—in addition to a great education—she “wanted big football, Greek life, and a spirited experience in a great community.” Following graduation, she plans to seek a business career in retail merchandising and will use her branding and social media skills to the fullest. She gained further experience as marketing and public relations director for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi (@wsupibetaphi).

In August 2020, when classes were being offered online and the pandemic kept people close to their homes, Doll said she noticed the CAP job posting and was intrigued by the program. Its focus is to engage low-income, first-generation high school students across the state with the opportunity of a college education.

“Though this is my first experience working remotely, it’s been great, and I’ve been impressed by CAP’s close-knit staff, and how meetings are fun and lighthearted yet personal. I appreciate that Ray is always willing to help me and to bounce around ideas with.”

What advice does she offer to other student workers?

“Never be afraid to ask for help, collaborate in every work environment, and use feedback and critiques as ways to elevate your performance. Also, if you find a job that sounds interesting, reach out—you can’t get it if you don’t apply.”