A bit of a secret, nestled in the curving crook of the Educational Skills Building, sits the offices of the combined programs Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search. At their front desk sits UB and ETS Program Assistant Amanda Cerda: here, she’s a student fulfilling her duties assigned by a Federal Work Study.

Amanda Cerda (left), Program Assistant for Upward Bound Educational Talent Search, and Keely Eldredge (right), Director of UB and ETS, stand to greet visitors to their office.
The Mainstream

UB and ETS are programs both designed to promote college-readiness to local qualifying middle school and high school students. As a program assistant, Cerda says, “We do phone calls, plan trips — like cultural explorations and college visits — and help chaperone events, too, if vaccinated. It’s a good position if you’d like to work with younger students; it’s really fun!”

However, Cerda’s path to where she is today began with uncertainty. “At the start, I didn’t want to be the face — of anything. But UCC was an inspiring environment,” Cerda says, “and eventually I decided not to let fear stop me.”

“I became ASUCC President,” Cerda says. “Those kinds of opportunities here are amazing. Everyone’s support and encouragement and my own love for psychology have all informed my perspective: I want to meet people where they’re at, help them grow and make a difference.”

As Cerda talks, UB and ETS Director Keeley Eldredge walks out of a back room and stands by her side. Nodding in agreement, Eldredge says, “For our work study students, we want to get to know someone with the upfront understanding that everybody walks a different path — our job is to help students in our programs, but we also want to help those here with a work study toward their goals.”

Another student familiar with the Federal Work Study program is Kassandra Miller, a transfer from Australia currently pursuing a teaching degree. Over the phone, Miller speaks about Financial Aid Specialist for Veterans and Work-Study Ann Abel. “Ann is really friendly,” Miller says. “[When you apply,] she’ll ask you what you’re interested in, which is good. It makes you enjoy the work.”

With a passion for art, Miller decided to apply for the Ceramics Assistant position. She got it and spent her time in the studio doing a variety of activities alongside the instructor: mixing glazes, making slip out of clay and cleaning up after classes. “I learned so much more about ceramics. I’d see students’ work laid out on shelves.” Miller says. “It was inspiring.”

The position was also helpful in lining Miller’s resume. She calls it “quite handy for extra pay” and mentions the study allowed her to not only seize new opportunities but also the relief of financial independence.

Elsewhere on campus are more positions readily available for students to fill, like Library Aide, one such role taken up two months ago by student Ivana Calderon. Majoring in Humanities — and wanting to become a teacher — Calderon appreciates the job because she’s “able to help people.”

Calderon, soft-spoken and always smiling, says, “For me, the library is such a safe space. I’m a quiet person, so I like its environment the most. But I also like to communicate with students and help when they need assistance.”

She believes applying for the job is a good stepping stone in her longer path of career goals. Beyond helping students in the computer lab, Calderon explains how Library Aides maintain the area, shelf-read, complete library projects like relabelling or mending books, and check the book-drop returns. “The work can be a little bit challenging — tedious — but I’m used to it,” Calderon says, citing her prior experience helping out in other school libraries.

Kelly Peter, Library Director, offers a smile in her office.
Robin Bruns / The Mainstream

Behind the couch where Calderon sits on-break is the office of the Library Director Kelly Peter. She’s brand new to the position. “It’s my first time having student workers,” Peter says, looking out her window at the quiet bustle of students, “and I think I’m really lucky.”

To get employed or apply for a work study at UCC, refer to their associated sections on UCC’s website. Student employees are paid directly by the college and can begin work as soon as an opening is available, but Federal Work Studies can only provide hours according to current grant funds allowed to UCC; students must also be enrolled at least half-time, or have six credits worth of classes, in order to qualify for a work study.

For more information, a list of step-by-step instructions concerning student employment can be found on SchoolJobs.com’s Online Employment Application Guide. If students have questions or need help completing forms to register for Federal Work Study, they may contact Ann Abel — either at her office in the Financial Offices of the LaVerne Murphy Student Center, or by calling her number at 541-440-4621.

See previous part of job opportunities here.


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