First-year Hopkins student named Maryland Student Employee of the Year
As a first-generation college applicant, Autumn Hughes said there was no one in her immediate network to help navigate the complex transition between high school and college. She felt overwhelmed with questions she didn’t know the answers to—and questions she didn’t even know she should be asking.
Soon, though, she received a helping hand through Johns Hopkins University’s Hop-In program.
“I didn’t really know anything about college other than it’s the next step beyond high school,” said Hughes, a first-year student majoring in biomedical engineering. “There were so many things that I didn’t know how to navigate, and all of a sudden when I joined Hop-In, I had advisors and other people going through the same experience as me to help me through it.”
The Hop-In Program supports first-generation and limited-income college students, providing peer and academic support, financial assistance, tutoring services, and more. After participating in Hop-In’s five-week summer program, which aims to acclimate students to the college experience, Hughes found herself eager to help other first-generation applicants and students like herself. When the opportunity to work as an assistant to program director Candice Baldwin presented itself, Hughes was eager to apply.
For her work assisting Baldwin and helping execute Hop-In’s goals, Hughes was named Hopkins Student Employee of the Year, an award presented annually to a student who has made a significant contribution to the university through their student job, demonstrating their work ethic, reliability, initiative, creative thinking, and professionalism. More recently she was named Maryland Student Employee of the Year, an award that recognizing those same qualities in college students across the state.
As Baldwin’s assistant, Hughes is responsible for managing logistics and helping to organize Hop-In. These tasks can include working at the front desk, scheduling interviews for the incoming cohorts, managing and visualizing data, and presenting figures about the program’s initiatives. Baldwin said Hughes was an invaluable resource, aiding in the search for an assistant director for programming, creating an end-of-semester survey, and compiling information on student participation in High Impact Practices.
“Autumn has shown a tenacity for tackling assignments with new approaches, new tools, and to her credit, new energy,” Baldwin said. “It is rare to find a student at this age who is able and willing to perform at such a high level.”