Teaching assistant chosen as Student Employee of the Year 

A student who played a big role in a department’s shift to online instruction during the pandemic has been named Pittsburg State University’s Student Employee of the Year. 

Marty Tholstrup, a senior from Pittsburg who will graduate in May with a degree in electronics engineering technology, has been a teaching assistant to Professor Randy Winzer for three years. 

Student employee

In his nomination, Winzer called Tholstrup “the definition of a professional.” 

“The biggest difference Marty has made while working here at Pitt State was during our shift to on-line instruction during the pandemic,” Winzer said. “He assisted with setting up recording equipment and creating multiple lab demonstration videos, including one wholly on his own.  He also edited several of the finished videos, enhancing their usefulness. He always takes care to perform every task to the best of his ability and to ask questions when he isn't sure.” 

Tholstrup, one of eight finalists for the award, was named the winner and given a medallion and trophy by President Steve Scott during a ceremony on Monday afternoon at the Overman Student Center. The ceremony was hosted by the Office of Career Services under the direction of Jamie Dalton and Olivia Biondo. 

Following the ceremony, Tholstrup said he’s gained as much from the job as he’s given. 

"I’ve learned many things from this job, such as writing better emails and reports, working with Microsoft Excel, better consistency, better analysis, and better organization. The list could go on and on, and I'm sure there are things that I don't even know that I learned along the way!” he said. “I also believe that helping to teach students every semester about electronic components and fundamentals really solidified my own understanding of the material, which definitely helped in my earlier years here.” 

“The role has definitely helped me prepare for my career, as everything I have learned can be either directly or indirectly applied to my future.” 

Tholstrup said it also allowed him to become better acquainted with his professors, improved his communication skills, and helped him meet new people. 

Other finalists included Sam Eddington (Admission) of Columbus, Kansas; Hailey McGuire (Alumni & Constituent Relations) of Mulberry, Kansas; Margo Moody (Kansas Center for Career and Technical Education) of Pittsburg; Strom Stroker (Custodial and General Services) of Overland Park, Kansas; Marci VanBecelaere (College of Education Teacher Education) of Pittsburg; Kinley Walden (Kelce College of Business) of Columbus; and Shakota Woolsey (Department of Communication) of Altamont, Kansas. McGuire and Walden both were named runners up. 

Student employees

"I was honestly very surprised when I was named Student Employee of the Year,” Tholstrup said. “After I saw the other nominees' pictures online a week before the ceremony, my first thought was that I wasn't going to win, that these students deserve to win more than me.” 

But Professor Clark Shaver, who works with Winzer in the Electronics Engineering Technology Department and also signed the nomination letter, said Tholstrup was quite deserving. 

“He is a completely reliable person. He goes out of his way to assist other students, he always projects a positive attitude, and he is a hard worker,” Shaver said. “He is an ideal student employee. But even more than that, he is an incredible person who will find success wherever he goes in life.” 

Tholstrup is the son of Julie and Terry Tholstrup.