Graduating student employees say their campus jobs changed how they see themselves and others

Graduating student employees say their campus jobs changed how they see themselves and others

By Gabriela HarrodUniversity Communications
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America Curl, user experience information architecture and content student assistant, University Libraries
America Curl, user experience information architecture and content student assistant, University Libraries
Yashu Vats, user experience and data analyst student assistant, University Libraries
Yashu Vats, user experience and data analyst student assistant, University Libraries
Jo Eckhardt, desk manager at Villa del Puente dorm, Housing & Residential Life
Jo Eckhardt, desk manager at Villa del Puente dorm, Housing & Residential Life
Lexi Tuttle, co-manager of social media for study abroad, Arizona Global
Lexi Tuttle, co-manager of social media for study abroad, Arizona Global

A campus job can be a valuable part of the University experience for any student. For graduating seniors especially, it can also serve as a key component in their preparation for the next chapter of their lives.

In addition to obtaining hands-on, professional experience, many students say they have gained new perspective on themselves and others, thanks to their time working for the University.

America Curl, who just finished her bachelor's in information science and e-society with a minor in global studies, has been working as a user experience information architecture and content student assistant with University Libraries. She says her job was research-focused and deals with "how students perceive, communicate and interact in digital spaces" around the University.

After looking at responses from student surveys and usability tests, she not only learned to get rid of her assumptions about human behavior, but also "gained a lot more empathy for everyone."

Thanks to her work with University Libraries, she said, she learned to "understand that we are all coming at things from really different perspectives."

After working in the position for two years – one in person, one remotely – Curl says her favorite aspects of the job were the "random camaraderie" between all departments and learning that her co-workers wanted her to be successful as much as she did.

Curl now heads to InSight in Phoenix for a job as as a cloud computing consultant. She also plans to attend graduate school at Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

Yashu Vats, who worked as a student assistant first in user experience, then in data analytics, at University Libraries, says he can think of "no better jobs on campus" to complement his management information systems and operations and supply chain management majors at the Eller College of Management.

"Working at the libraries showed me how things are done from the inside, and working on our UX team has helped me gain a ton of experience in content strategy and information architecture," Vats said.

While transitioning to working from home presented hurdles for many, Vats faced more challenges than most: He spent the first year of the pandemic in his home country of India. He says the UX team was very supportive throughout his time in India – which is 12 and a half hours ahead of Tucson – by directing its focus on projects that could be worked on asynchronously. He detailed his experience in "continuing my U.S. lifestyle on the other side of the world" in a blog on the open platform network Medium.

Vats will attend Rutgers as a doctoral student in communication, information and media studies beginning this fall.

Jo Eckhardt, desk manager at the Villa del Puente dorm, is graduating with a bachelor's in neuroscience and cognitive science. Eckhardt says her major taught her "diligent time management, organizational skills and management skills" to ensure that things were always running smoothly at Villa del Puente.

Eckhardt says that from her job, she gained confidence in her ability to manage others and that she enjoyed the freedom of being a leader and taking on bigger responsibilities.

Another benefit of the job, Eckhardt says, was meeting "so many fantastic individuals from all places, backgrounds and experiences." She says that her job diversified her experience and led to some of the best friendships of her life.

After graduation, Eckhardt will begin doctoral work in the Neurosciences Graduate Program at the University of California, San Diego. She will be doing research on neurodevelopment disorders.

Lexi Tuttle, who worked at Arizona Global as a marketing assistant and as co-manager of social media for study abroad, just graduated with a degree in retailing and consumer science.

Tuttle says the pandemic and the switch to remote work presented her with both challenges and opportunities

"To work a job that promotes travel during a global pandemic was perhaps the most challenging and surprising experience," Tuttle said.

Tuttle added that working remotely also helped her develop new communication skills, saying, "I now understand that it takes discipline to stay connected and effectively communicate."

Aside from gaining professional experience, Tuttle said that she is thankful to have been "offered the chance to learn about different cultures and places that I otherwise would've never learned about in the immersive way I did."

Tuttle will pursue a master's degree at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.


Gabriela Harrod was a student employee in the Office of University Communications during the 2020-21 academic year. She graduated this week with bachelor's degrees in journalism and Spanish.

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