Work study provides career experiences for MC students

Work study provides career experiences for MC students

Feb. 10, 2015

At 1 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, Maryville College junior Loudine Louis arrives at the College’s Academic Support Center for her job as academic support assistant. There, she meets a student who has arrived for help with a math assignment. Another student waits for help with a paper.

Louis is one of 238 students who are participating in Maryville College’s work-study program this academic year. Often offered to students as a part of the total financial aid package to assist with meeting the cost of education, the program allows students to be paid for part-time employment while attending school – and provides worthwhile job opportunities to students, which can range from student writers for the Office of Communications to Mountain Challenge staff members who facilitate teamwork exercises.

Work-study positions will soon be an important part of “Maryville College Works,” a new comprehensive career preparation program designed to deliver a transformative educational experience that bridges the classroom and the workplace. This year’s freshman class is the first class to participate in the program.

“The capstone of Maryville College Works is a significant practical experience, which can include internships, study abroad and volunteer work,” said Dr. Karen Beale, chair of Maryville College Works and an associate professor of psychology. “Because our students have varied career goals, we want to provide experiences that will set them up to be successful in their careers. The campus provides many opportunities for our students to meet those goals.”

Louis, a theatre and psychology double major from Fort Myers, Fla., has worked in the Academic Support Center since she was a freshman in fall 2012.

The central academic support component at Maryville College, the Academic Support Center provides learning strategies and consultations to students that focus on learning styles, textbook strategies, note-taking skills, test preparation and test-taking strategies. In her role, Louis also helps with the Cooper Success Center, a group study center for student-athletes.

She hopes to eventually become the event manager for a theater company, but she also loves teaching, which is “one of the reasons I’m here,” she said.

“I love this job, and I love helping students achieve,” Louis said. “If someone has a weak point in a certain area, I not only want to help, but I want to go above and beyond for that student.”

2 p.m.

On Mondays at 2 p.m., Justin Collett, a sophomore exercise science major, arrives at Sutton Science Center to begin his job as lab assistant for Dr. Jerilyn Swann’s cellular biology lab.

Collett took Swann’s class and lab last year and “knocked it out of the park, so I asked him to come back as a lab assistant,” said Swann, associate professor of biology and chair of the Division of Natural Sciences.

Collett, who is from Hiram, Ga., plans to attend graduate school to pursue a doctor of physical therapy degree.

“I want to help people as a career,” Collett said. “My job as a lab assistant allows me to help other students. I also think having this job on my resume will make me a more attractive candidate when applying to graduate school.”

Another student lab assistant, Winode Handagama, is in his third year working in the lab. A senior biochemistry major from Knoxville, Handagama initially decided to be a lab assistant to learn basic laboratory skills and foster closer professional relationships with his professors.

“Working as a lab assistant has allowed me to develop a wide variety of lab skills and essentially hone them to the point that I can perform the same techniques regardless of the kind of laboratory setting I end up working in,” said Handagama, who would like to eventually conduct biomedical research with a specialty in molecular biology. “Because I have spent many hours during my undergraduate years working in various labs, I also now have a solid foundation on which I can build more advanced laboratory techniques upon entering my next phase of schooling.” 

4:30 p.m.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, Hunter Amos arrived at Cooper Athletic Center to begin her job as a student athletic trainer. She entered the athletic training room, which was full of members of the women’s basketball team who were preparing for practice. She immediately started attending to the athletes, performing an ultrasound on a player’s injured thumb, stretching another player’s shoulder and taping an ankle.

A junior physical education major from Maryville, Amos has been working with athletes since she came to Maryville College as a freshman, although she jokes that she has “been here since I’ve been able to walk” (her father, Keith Amos, is a Maryville College alumnus and began bringing his daughter to campus when she was a toddler).

Amos, who is one of several student athletic trainers who provides support for all athletic teams at Maryville College, describes each work day as “anything but typical.” Her duties range from maintenance and setting up the courts and fields for practices to rehabilitation and injury prevention. She also travels with teams for away games.

After graduation, Amos plans to attend graduate school to become a certified athletic trainer, and she said her work-study job is a perfect fit.

“It gives you a lot of in-depth, hands-on exposure – things you can’t get from a textbook,” Amos said. “I’ve worked with so many different sports and so many different things. It’s really behind the scenes. People don’t understand what it takes to prime the athletes to play at their peak.”

8 p.m.

On a Friday night at 8 p.m., Roman Lay begins rounds in Gibson Hall, where he is a resident assistant. When on duty, each Gibson Hall resident assistant performs three rounds per night – 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. – checking to make sure all 140 residents are behaving and that nothing seems out of place.

As one of 32 resident assistants on campus, Lay plans activities and programs, serves as a resource for residents and assists residents with getting involved in campus life.

An English with teacher licensure major, Lay initially decided to become a resident assistant because he thought it would pair nicely with his major – and it’s fun.

“My skill set belongs in instructing others, and I feel like it’s my duty to teach other people,” said Lay, who is completing his student teaching at Alcoa High School this semester. “I enjoy working with students in their development, and I wanted to work with older students because I see this is the point when they’re making crucial decisions in life. It’s neat to watch students grow and have these ‘aha’ moments when they understand why making good choices and being involved on campus is important.”

By Chloe Kennedy, Assistant Director of Communications


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”