Taking root

On-campus employment opportunities help Mizzou students learn and grow.

Hope Johnson
Hope Johnson earned more than a paycheck working for Student Affairs. Courtesy photo.

By Feiyu Su

Hope Johnson recalled seeing the calendar she designed on display in the Mizzou Store and finding the whole experience surreal.

“I was just kind of like circling around it, like ‘Oh my gosh, that’s something I’ve created,” said Johnson, who graduated in December. “It’s been super fun and super rewarding.”

As a graphic designer for Student Affairs marketing and communication, Johnson designed everything from posters to T-shirts. Being able to try new things is what she loved about her job, Johnson said.

“My supervisors have always been so amazing about asking me, ‘What kind of projects do you love? What do you want to work more on?’” she said.

Students such as Johnson who work in the various departments of Student Affairs earn more than a paycheck. They also obtain hands-on working experiences that help prepare them for their future careers.

“Our first obligation is the well-being of our students, making sure they have the resources they need,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Bill Stackman. “Employment not only helps them earn money. It also gives them avenues to becoming engaged on campus and apply lessons they are learning in the classroom.”

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Junior Emerald McKinley is a resident advisor in Residential Life, one of the many departments within Student Affairs. The job has helped improve her communication skills, she said.

“Those skills are then transferable,” McKinley said. “I’m applying for another job as an optometrist’s assistant. I feel more prepared for the interview just because I have a wide variety of like communication skills that I’ve built through different experiences.”

Working for Student Affairs has helped Elizabeth Ustinov to learn by doing. A senior student studying strategic communication, Ustinov works in Student Affairs marketing and communication.

Assigned to produce a video to help new students prepare for their move to campus, Ustinov took it upon herself to learn a type of animation called motion graphics for the job.

“The client wasn’t maybe expecting that, but they like to see us do new and innovative things,” Ustinov said.

“Doing some different things for school and then doing different things for Student Affairs has helped me balance my interests in design and strategic communication in general,” she said.

Student Affairs has provided senior Kimmy Sendelbach a supportive, nurturing environment in which to grow.

“You will never feel like an outcast because everyone wants to be your friend,” said Sendelbach, who works as a member and guest services auditor at MizzouRec.

The Bloomington, Illinois, native doesn’t have family nearby, but said she has managed without their support. “I’ve found that within MizzouRec.”