Before Jake Rowe’s freshman year began, he knew he needed to rake together some cash to pay his own way in life, so he found himself a job at the University’s Molecular Bioscience lab.

“I knew coming straight out of high school that I would need extra money,” Rowe said. “I came from a small town so I knew that I had to work if I wanted to get things I wanted.”

Rowe moved from Mound City, Kan., a town of 682 people, to Lawrence, which has a population of over 90,000.

On the job, Rowe works in the molecular bioscience bio-store, selling and packaging chemicals for scientists at the University to use.

Now Rowe is a junior and just last month, he won the University’s 2015 Student Employee of the Year in his position as a molecular bioscience employee. He still uses the money to pay rent and other living expenses.

“It was a good feeling, a feeling of achievement, for sure,” he said. “Finally after working there for three years, it’s good when people notice that you put effort into your work.”

Rowe was given an engraved plaque and a $500 award in a ceremony for the honor on April 12.

Judi Harris, one of Rowe’s supervisors at the molecular bioscience bio-store, nominated Rowe for the award.

“He’s reliable and dependable. He’s always willing to pitch in,” Harris said. “He’s very self-motivated and definitely deserving of this award.”

Harris received a campus-wide email with the opportunity to submit a nomination.

As an athletic training major, Rowe doesn’t study bioscience, but he still found that it’s a learning experience working in the molecular bioscience department.

“He was the first student I have had that I thought was even worthy of being nominated,” Harris said.

— Edited by Valerie Haag