Student Assistants Learn Valuable Skills, Build Career Networks and Get Paid

iStudent Blog

Published: April 30, 2015 by Allison Randall Gatt

If you’re looking for a way to fund your education, you can make some extra money by applying to join the team of iSchool graduate student assistants. SJSU’s School of Information employs about 30 student assistants every year to work as research assistants, web team assistants, peer mentors, marketing assistants, and writers for Community Profiles and this blog.

Student assistantships are posted during the academic year, though most frequently in the spring and late fall as graduating students are vacating their positions. When jobs become available, postings are sent out using the iSchool Alert system. Just another reason to read those emails—it could get you a job!

Leading peer mentors
As student assistant to the LIBR 203 peer mentors, Eddy Hamelin used his teaching experience to lead and manage the teams of peer mentors who are there to help new students navigate their first introductory class at the iSchool. Hamelin organized and led online meetings, conducted surveys and helped both student assistants and faculty troubleshoot the Canvas sites for peer mentors.

From his experience as a leader and mentor for peer mentors, as well as having been a peer mentor himself, Hamelin says, “I have learned how to teach in the online environment—so know I can successfully teach in person or online.”

Hamelin also takes great personality traits, such as being a personable leader as well as funny guy, to his role as a manager of peer mentors. “My sense of humor has gone a long way in helping people navigate the ins and outs of student assistantship, graduate school and the juggling that goes on when trying to get it all done.”

Supporting iSchool faculty
Elaine Hall spent her student assistantship during her final semester helping iSchool Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh with a multitude of research assignments and presentations, as well as being the project coordinator for Hirsh’s new book, Information Services Today: An Introduction. Hall says, “The opportunity to work with such a variety of LIS professionals, including SJSU faculty and leading experts in the field, in addition to working side by side and being mentored by Dr. Hirsh, has been an amazing experience.”

Hall’s skills as an events and communications manager, writing and obtaining grants for a nonprofit organization, made her a strong candidate for being able to manage a variety of complex projects. Her work as Hirsh’s assistant continued her growth as an information professional. “My work as a student assistant has provided me the opportunity to develop a variety of skills,” says Hall, “including research skills, editorial and copy-editing skills, and presentation development skills. It has also expanded my approach towards innovation, project conceptualization, and project management.”

Without a doubt, the professional network Hall has built during her assistantship at the iSchool is priceless!

Maintaining the school’s website
Bob Lucore is one of three student assistants working under the direction of Derek Christiansen as part of the iSchool’s Web Technology Team. Student assistants working on the team need a strong familiarity with the Drupal web content management system, which Lucore learned and gradually mastered through LIBR 240 and LIBR 249 classes with Raymond Dean and Christiansen. Anything else he needs to know, he learns on the job. “When I take on a challenging assignment,” says Lucore, “I learn something new, rise to the occasion, and really become immersed in the process of solving the problem. That feeling of accomplishment is the best part of being a student assistant.”

Unlike some of the other student assistant jobs at the iSchool, the Web Technology Team works as a group to get things done, with Christiansen as their “air traffic controller,” handing out assignments to team members depending on their strengths and workload.

Lucore is graduating this semester, and with previous careers teaching economics at the university level and providing consulting services to labor unions, he is ready to add his new tech skills to his resume. “I would love to combine my skills and experience, by perhaps teaching, tutoring or consulting in web-related technologies, information literacy and business reference services.”

Congratulations to these amazing students who are all graduating this semester (in a couple weeks!). They have all done amazing work for the iSchool.
Apply for a student assistantship and you could be next!

Stay tuned next week to find out what the iSchool’s marketing and communications student assistants do and learn in their jobs. In the meantime, check out these related stories:
Exploring iSchool Career Pathways– Web Programming and Information Architechture

Tips from Peer Mentors: What to Expect in Your First Course

Another Way to Pay for School– Be a Student Assistant

The Many Ways an Online Program Saves You Money


image courtesy of ddpavumba


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