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Student Employment

Academics / Departments & Programs / Biology / Student Experience / Student Employment

Looking to take your learning beyond the classroom? Want to apply your skills in a real world setting? Looking for a work position that challenges you to use the material you study? Consider working as a student employee for the Biology Department!

Each year, the Biology Department employs more than 50 students in various positions. Students are able to utilize skills and other lessons learned within the classroom and laboratory in these jobs; students also have the opportunity to develop other valuable skill sets that will strengthen them during the course of their careers. Serving as a student employee with the Biology Department also gives students the opportunity to explore their interests within the field beyond the classroom setting, exposing them to a variety of career pathways. We encourage all students to consider the various "student employment" positions throughout the biology department--take your learning beyond the lab and to the next level!

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Biology Department is working hard to restructure the different student employment opportunities. While we still aim to offer high-quality positions that allow students to learn through working and develop extensive skills through hands-on activities and responsibilities, we are also keeping the safety and well-being of every student as our primary focus. Students can expect the following changes to be implemented:

  • Higher number of "remote work only" positions ('Remote work' requires students to complete their work off-campus or outside of the classroom/lab setting. Faculty members will have further information on their individual needs for TA/Lab Assistant/Grader positions within their courses.)
  • Reduction in the number of "in-person" positions ("In-person" positions require student to be physically present within the classroom/lab setting. Faculty members will have further information on their individual needs for TA/Lab Assistant/grader positions within their courses.)
  • Ability and willingness to uphold mandatory mask rules (Student MUST wear masks/face shields while inside classroom & lab settings. Some faculty may require wearing further layers of personal protective equipment ('PPE') and students must be able and willing to comply.)
  • Greater amount of flexibility within academic and personal schedule in order to uphold responsibilities (Some faculty may require flexibility to take on further data input or grading tasks and may turn to student employee to take on assigned tasks

Other adjustments will be made to all student employee positions as necessary in order to stay in compliance with all Administrative mandates for operation.

Please read the descriptions below for more information on the various student employment positions offered throughout the Biology Department.

Lab assistants/graders:

Lab assistants work within the lab course alongside faculty members and students, answering questions about different processes, assisting with the set-up of different activities and demonstrating different techniques to students. Some laboratory preparation responsibilities may vary (such as cleaning equipment, proper storage of equipment, creating solutions or assisting with the set-up of activities, etc.), depending upon the lesson and activity presented. Students that are interested in strengthening their own knowledge and understanding of various concepts, as well as students that enjoy interacting with others in a 'teaching' manner, may really enjoy serving as a 'LA'. To be a lab assistant, you need to be a student enrolled at Calvin, and you must have taken the course or course equivalent in which you are assisting. You are required to have completed the course with a grade of "B" (G.P.A. > 3.00) or higher.

To work in this lab... must have completed and passed these courses:
BIOL 115 BIOL 205 & 206 or BIOL 323 or BIOL 331
BIOL 141 BIOL 141
BIOL 160 BIOL 225 or BIOL 160
BIOL 161 BIOL 224 and CHEM 103 or BIOL 161
BIOL 206 BIOL 206 or BIOL 331
BIOL 230 BIOL 160 & 161 or BIOL 224 & 225 and BIOL 206 or BIOL 331 or BIOL 332
BIOL 250 BIOL 250 or prior research experience
All others You must have taken the course in order to be a lab assistant for that course

Teaching/Research Assistants

Faculty members offer a variety of research projects each summer, offering students excellent opportunities to network within their field, study biology on a deeper level, take up opportunities to become published authors, and work alongside faculty members on advanced research. Whether working within a lab setting or out in the field, participating in a research project strengthens a student's overall resume and academic experience, opening doors to new career opportunities and helping the student gain a stronger understanding of their calling within the field of biology. Students can begin looking at different research projects offered on Calvin's campus towards the end of the spring semester; a listing of projects will be made available and students will be given further information on the application process. Students are also encouraged to consider off-campus research projects during their summer break to help strengthen and enrich their academic experience.Teachings Assistants (TAs) work inside the classroom alongside faculty members; they serve as an 'extension' of the faculty member by addressing questions student may have, further explaining concepts and ideas, and providing solid examples to help students better understand curriculum. TAs MUST have a solid, strong understanding of the curriculum offered in the course. 

Greenhouse Assistants

Greenhouse assistants work with Prof. Dave Warners ( and care for the plants within the department. Students take a hands-on approach within this position, handling responsibilities such as watering plant life throughout the Science Building complex and both campus greenhouses and caring for various plant species. Students also play a role in other related activities, such as plant sales, in order to raise and maintain funding for the greenhouses and its equipment needs.

Aquarium Assistants

Aquarium assistants work within the Aquarium Room in DeVries Hall, as well as with aquarium tanks throughout DeVries Hall, to maintain clean, healthy environments for aquatic life and to promote the well-being and safety of other wildlife species within the Hall. Students are challenged to take a hands-on approach by learning techniques for maintaining healthy, safe environments for aquatic life as well as handling techniques for working with different species. 

Department assistants/Tour Guides

Department assistants and tour guides offer hospitality and service, leading tours of the Biology Department and addressing questions of the guests related to their experience within the Biology Department. These students serve as "liaisons," helping connect guests and potential visits to different aspects of the Biology Department through sharing information about the areas of study, opportunities offered, challenges, and other aspects of being a Biology student. 

Prep Room assistants

Lab prep assistants work with the biology lab manager, Lori Keen (, to set up lab equipment, cell cultures and other supplies needed for the various biology lab courses each week.

Ecosystem Preserve Stewards & other roles

Biology students can also work at the Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens as preserve stewards, educational program leaders, summer camp leaders, and animal care assistants. More information about this position will be posted at a later time.

Students are now able to apply directly for different Biology Department positions using the Workday system. Please visit to view various positions available, gather more information, and apply for positions of interest. 

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