W&J Students, Employees Reflect on Student Work Experiences

Created: April 13, 2017  |  Last Updated: January 15, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

Photo: Student workers from the Office of Admission paused for a photo with their staff advisors. (from left) Assistant Director of Admission Brittany Strelnik, Harley Bobnar ’17, Mario Tiberie ’19, and Brooke Beck ’19, Senior Assistant Director of Admission Alex Sossi ’13.

WASHINGTON, PA (April 13, 2017) – Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) is celebrating National Student Employment Week April 10 to 14, honoring more than 400 students who hold jobs on the W&J College campus.

Student Employee of the Year Michael Chepanoske, Lab Coordinator for the Biology Department, and other student nominees were honored at an April 11 luncheon. Chapanoske has worked in the Biology Department for the last three years, and has also served as a lab assistant and a prep assistant in multiple courses in both biology and biochemistry.

“My work experiences here have definitely boosted my confidence in working independently,” he said of his experiences. “My professors have told me that they do not feel the need to worry about lab prep being done because it is in my hands.”

A total of 398 W&J students hold Federal Work Study positions on campus, and an additional 130 student hold non-Federal Work Study campus jobs. Their efforts will be celebrated this week with a series of competitions, prizes, a scavenger hunt, and a trivia contest hosted by the Office of Financial Aid. Details on the events will be in the W&J Weekly.

As National Student Employment Week began, W&J employees recounted their own experiences as student workers during their college years, noting how it helped them in their current careers.

W&J Dean of Admission Robert Adkins ’87 had several jobs while he was a student at W&J, including work in the offices of Financial Aid and Academic Affairs, and some work with the maintenance staff. He said the common theme between his jobs was to be compassionate and kind to everyone, no matter their station, ability or accomplishments.

“Whether it was working with families to come up with creative ways to help a student continue their education financially, working with students on improving academics so they can stay at W&J, or just being a friendly face behind the scenes making sure we had clean, safe, comfortable places to study and live, I learned that a small investment of respect and kindness to everyone has a return on investment that cannot be measured. My time as a student worker and the great people I worked for and with strongly influenced my leadership style,” he said.

Amanda Cowen, assistant director of Residence Life at W&J, had two jobs as a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). She was a tour guide for the IUP Office of Admissions, and also was a Community Assistant for the Office of Residence Life. She remembers the jobs for their influence on her career, and also because of the fun she had.

“I have many anecdotes, but one that sticks out in my mind was when I was pied in the face for a  fundraiser.  I lived in a building named Suites on Maple, so the students thought it would be funny to put maple syrup in our pies,” she said. “Being that both of my jobs were in functional areas in higher education, they gave me great insight into what type of work I wanted to do.  The family atmosphere that I had when I was a CA is what created my love of working with students…Having such a vast support system made me never fear to ask for help in college, and gave me a sense of purpose outside my academics.”

Olivia Howell, W&J’s Coordinator for Inclusive Campus Engagement, had multiple campus jobs as student at James Madison University in Virginia. Howell was a Housing Coordinator in the Events and Conferencing office, where she helped handle logistics for summer conferences and camps on campus. She also worked in student programming, coordinating concerts and other student events.

“This was my favorite position on campus, because we got to plan all the fun events and see other students enjoy it, too,” she said. Howell said her programming experience as an undergrad at James Madison and as a graduate student at the University of Virginia is the reason she loves her current job.

“Now I oversee the students that hold the same experiences that I did in college,” she said. “I love finding new ways to get a new generation of students involved and excited about events because those motivating factors are constantly changing.”


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.