College hiring student ambassadors

Applications for Pierce College student ambassador positions are available until May 26.

Suzanne Buchholz, Senior Reporter

Paid positions are open for students who want to work as student ambassadors for the next academic year. Applications will be accepted until May 26.

Christine McMullin, director of advising and entry services, said the job application requires students to provide some information about themselves in regard to their student careers at Pierce. Questions ask applicants how they feel about attending Pierce, their best experiences at the college and why they wish to be a student ambassador.

“What we’re looking for in an ideal ambassador and through the application process is a student who’s interested in gaining some leadership and office skills, so really important things for the future, but also really interested in giving back to Pierce College,” McMullin said.

Student ambassadors fulfill myriad duties on campus. The job involves making outreach phone calls, arranging appointments with advisers, giving campus tours and helping new students become acclimated to the college. These tasks all serve to create an easier experience for new students and strengthen the Pierce community, McMullin said.

Originally, Pierce officials hired ambassadors for specific jobs to accomplish within the Office of Student Success. However, because many ambassadors were working with limited available hours and were under stress from having to handle certain specific tasks themselves, this practice was changed so that ambassadors now share all tasks.

“We have created more generalized positions for the ambassadors,” McMullin said. “But if a student a quarter or so into it really feels that they have a passion for working with a particular student population or would like to learn more about something, we can definitely talk about that and kind of customize it to the ambassador’s needs.”

For the upcoming school year, Pierce leaders plan to hire five student ambassadors. With this number, each ambassador would work about 10 hours per week. Depending on applicants, scheduling conflicts and workstation availability, McMullin said they might hire for four positions instead, which would allow the ambassadors to work more hours each week.   

Following the May 26 application deadline, interviews for potential new ambassadors will begin prior to finals week. Once selected, the new ambassadors will begin training in September, before fall quarter begins. In addition to this training, the ambassadors also will attend a retreat in late August with other student employees from the Office of Student Life and The Puyallup Post.

McMullin said a new director of advising was recently hired on the Fort Steilacoom campus and with that comes a renewed focus on how ambassadors will be trained. She said most likely ambassadors will have more cross-training between the Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses.

McMullin said her own experience as a student employee in college helped to change the way she saw herself and her outlook on career opportunities. She said students would benefit from working as an ambassador, and the experience would teach them more about themselves.

McMullin said she had initially gone to college as a pre-med student because she was good at biology in high school, but her time working in the admissions office helped her realize the opportunities in other fields.

“In my first class, I failed a test. It was my very first time I’d ever failed anything in my life,” McMullin said. “And so I was in this total state of panic, like I’m not good enough to be here, I’m not smart enough. If I’m not going to be pre-med what am I going to be? And so really giving students tours and realizing that I had some gifts and talents in other areas, I think, is what kept me in school.”

McMullin said students on the other side make a valuable gain from student ambassadors as well, as it seems to comfort them, interacting and getting help from employees who were so recently in the same position as them and remember what it was like.

For example, when the student email accounts switched from Gmail to Microsoft Outlook last year, the student ambassadors as well as other student employees were able to provide assistance while staying on the students’ level.

Students said they thought student ambassadors are a helpful resource for the college to utilize.

“I think (having students help students) would benefit them,” student Daniel Bramhall said.

Current students said the outreach could help new students feel more comfortable at the school and feel less discouraged by college life.

“A lot of the time, students are struggling,” student Kallee DeBord said. “If someone reaches out to help them, it’s good for everyone.”

McMullin said being a student ambassador can round out a student’s experience at Pierce in addition to earning some extra money.

“Student ambassador is definitely one of those options for somebody who wants pretty much a schedule that’ll work around their classes, but a chance to really get to know how the college works, how people in an office work together,” McMullin said. “I think it’s just a great way and a great complement to most student’s experiences here.”

Students have until May 26 to turn in applications for the upcoming year. They can drop off applications in the Gaspard Administration Building.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Suzanne Buchholz

College hiring student ambassadors

by Suzanne Buchholz time to read: 3 min