By Danielle Gadberry / Staff writer

Shelby Branting was Hutchinson Community College’s Employee of the Semester for the fall.

The Assistant Director of Resident Life and Student Activities, said she was “Very honored and surprised to win,” because it wasn’t just her efforts, it was a team effort from her staff and all coordinating staff around her.

Branting grew up in Hutchinson and attended HutchCC. She then transferred to Kansas State University, where she eventually landed a job on campus. She worked for the Kansas State University Foundation, where she worked closely with students in helping fundraise and help the students on campus. Branting soon moved back to Hutchinson after her time at K-State.

She said that she knew she wanted to work for the college, because she loved the position she had working at K-State.

Branting applied for several jobs on campus and was excited she got this one because she would be working closely with students again.

She has been working at HutchCC for almost five years and said that her favorite part is “being able to have a connection with the students,” because they keep her feeling young and energetic.

In her five years, Branting has never been put in a situation like in 2020 and is hoping she won’t have to experience another year like it. In March, dorm students were sent home for the remainder of the semester, as the college moved to all-remote learning.

Branting’s experience with COVID-19 has been difficult, and she now has to ensure the students in the dorms are wearing their masks outside of their rooms. During the day it’s a lot easier, because there are people on watch, but at night no one is on watch, Branting said, “The next morning, we do watch the cameras from the following night and hand out Bogey’s ice cream coupons or coupons for a free load of wash and dry for the students who are properly wearing their masks during the night.”

They’ve also had to put up limits in dorm rooms and visitor restrictions for the dorms. Anyone who is not roomed in the dorms is not allowed to come in, including parents or family members. This is true for ambassador tours as well.

“The ambassadors or parents are not allowed to come in for the tours, just the student,” Branting said.

Branting and her staff have been giving the tours of the dorms.

Branting said she hopes that COVID is gone before they have to revamp everything, it’s been very challenging, but she thinks everything is going in the right direction.

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