Top Student Worker

Jamie Hefley resting on computer desk

More than 11,000 students maintain jobs in various offices and units throughout the Iowa State University campus.

But just one can claim to be the ISU Student Employee of the Year and she just happens to work in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Jamie Hefley, a senior biological and pre-medical illustration major, who since September 2021 has worked as a student biomedical illustrator in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, received the honor earlier this semester. “Jamie has made a remarkable impact to both the teaching and research missions of the college,” said Dr. Michael Kimber, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

“I have a passion for both art and the sciences and my major and this position has allowed me the opportunity to pursue both disciplines,” Hefley said. “I love to learn and enjoy the research aspect, but the creative side is just as important.

“This job balances both seamlessly. It’s perfect.”

For the past two years, Hefley has had multiple assignments in her student job including working with Department of Biomedical Sciences faculty on the 14th and latest edition of duke’s Physiology of Domestic Animals. The textbook is a cornerstone of basic science education in veterinary medicine curricula across the United States and other countries.

Hefley worked with faculty to completely overhaul the images and figures published in the textbook.

“I have worked with about 40 students from the College of Design for the last 34 years,” said Dr. Etsuro Uemura, emeritus professor and Duke’s editor. “They were all talented medical illustrators. However, Jamie stands out as the best student illustrator, with a talent for expressing unique features of biological materials.”

In updating Duke’s, Hefley sought to create more effective visuals than appeared in previous editions.

“My goal was to inspire, educate, and share how science is and can be beautiful,” she said.

Duke’s is just one of the responsibilities Hefley has as a student employee. She also creates visual aids for the department’s graduate students’ manuscripts while updating department’s digital display’s content.

Another job responsibility is working with the department’s faculty on updating images utilized in their lecture content. Kimber worked with Hefley over the past year to improve his teaching materials.

“Jamie was able to generate new figures that helped me better convey some complex concepts in renal physiology to our DVM students,” Kimber said. “Her work transformed several critical lectures and helped student understanding and learning outcomes.”

Even with such praise, Hefley didn’t give a thought that she would be named ISU’s Student Employee of the Year.

“I almost didn’t go to the ceremony,” Hefley said. “When they announced the recipient, It was quite a shock when I realized they were talking about me.

“I didn’t realize what impact my work was having. I was just doing my job.”

Kimber’s not surprised about Hefley’s honor.

“I have worked alongside many undergraduate employees serving in diverse roles,” he said. “Without question, Jamie has been the most accomplished, dedicated and impactful student employee I have worked with in 21 years.”

April 2023