For his genuine attention toward and care for everyone who enters the Moraine Valley Community College Veterans Resource Center, second-year student Denzel Pennix, of Chicago, has received the 2020 Student Employee of the Year Award.

The college’s Job Resource Center (JRC) honors a student every year for his or her efforts, standout work and influential contributions while working in a department on campus. Pennix was nominated by his supervisor, Ryan Kelly, Moraine Valley Veterans coordinator, and chosen from among eight other contenders.

“Denzel is a remarkable young man. He really does care about people he works with. In general, when you sit down with him, you’re going to get someone who will listen and pay attention. He’s always the first one to volunteer and has that heart. We’re really proud of him,” Kelly said.

A member of the Illinois National Guard, Pennix has worked in the Veterans Resource Center for three semesters. He helps students fill out and process their necessary veteran paperwork to attend school, and is especially helpful for those in the National Guard. Pennix is a tutor, covering all subjects from science and math to English, and he writes for the college paper, The Glacier. He also is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society and is vice president of the Boots to College student organization.

“I get to help people, and relax and be comfortable in my own space. It’s the best of both worlds,” Pennix said. “I really appreciate this recognition. I’ll continue to do my best to be someone who deserves this award.”

With the college temporarily closed, the JRC was unable to hold its annual recognition event and instead held a surprise online chat to congratulate Pennix. Members of the JRC and other employees, some with balloons visible on screen or virtual celebratory backgrounds, shared the exciting news and congratulated him.

Pennix is in his last semester at Moraine Valley but is planning to transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study biology. He aspires to earn master’s and PhD degrees, and work in a lab someday.