Student workers earn extra experience on their way to graduation

Jessica McCrary

Jessica McCrary | Photo by Katherine Divas Juarez

May 19, 2023

By BZ Zuniga

Two thousand students will have graduated from CSUMB on May 21, 2023. And many of them were employed on campus at some point in their academic journeys. 

This spring semester, 703 students worked on the CSUMB campus, averaging 10 hours per week, according to the payroll department. They work in a variety of roles, helping to meet the needs of the campus by assisting senior members of staff and generally pitching in where needed. 

One student who worked her way to her degree is Jessica McCrary. She is a business administration major with an emphasis in marketing and is graduating this semester. She worked  Student Engagement and Leadership Development for three years, starting as a student assistant before being promoted to student office coordinator.

McCrary manages office celebrations, which help build a sense of trust and community within the office. She assists in processing catering orders. She also oversees club budgets, assists with ordering all supplies, and serves as a liaison. She helps manage the Associated Student box office and farmer’s market, and also assists with travel requests and budget reports.

“I help in whatever way that I can,” McCrary said. “I love my job! The experience I have been able to get has been awesome. I like being able to contribute to a team.” 

Her enthusiasm is not uncommon among student workers. It carries through in their studies and other responsibilities at CSUMB. 

McCray said being a student worker has afforded her extra insights into campus operations and helped her network. She is raising a son and finds time management a bit challenging, but believes that what she is learning along the way is invaluable. 

Emilia Davies-England, another graduating senior, is a collaborative health and human services major with a concentration in social work and a minor in creative writing and social action. She was an orientation leader for two years and a student coordinator for one, both in the First Year Experience program. She is now a Student Engagement and Leadership Development student assistant. 

“Working on campus has given me so much knowledge,” Davies-England said. “I was able to become an expert on CSUMB and the student experience. My leadership skills developed greatly and I am now able to talk to anyone on campus and relate to so many different student experiences.”

She said she is sad to be leaving college life and her friends who have become like a family – all of which made CSUMB feel like home. 

Jacob Morales is an environmental studies major with a concentration in sustainable communities and a minor in pre-law. He works on campus as a cultural engagement student coordinator for the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Sustainability, as part of the Otter Cross Cultural Center, and as a student assistant at the Otter Student Union.  

“My student positions really provided me a platform for the advocacy work I love doing,” he said. “I was able to highlight our native communities and bring them to campus for a number of culturally significant events.” 

He is grateful to the staff, faculty, and fellow student assistants who supported him on his academic journey. 

“Their impact has shaped who I am and I can never show enough gratitude,” he said. 

Students who work on campus resolve the debate over whether college should be dedicated to intense intellectual rigor or be more focused on job training. For them, it’s both. All of these students have managed to balance work and school obligations along with other activities and life demands. 

“A major benefit for students who work on campus is that they are supported in their academic pursuits and they are able to develop leadership and professional development skills,” said Kaci Turpin, First Year Experience programs specialist in the Division of Student Life.

Those working students who graduate have managed to push themselves further along the path to mastering real-life time management, a critical skill they will need after graduation. They are one step ahead in the game.