Student Employment

Academics / Departments & Programs / Chemistry & Biochemistry / Student Experience / Student Employment

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department offers various opportunities for students to directly apply lessons and skills developed within their classrooms into a hands-on learning experience while gaining valuable work experience. Whether assisting faculty with laboratory set-up or utilizing editing skills to help perfect a publication, students have many opportunities to experience a work setting that will promote usage and development of their current skills set. Consider applying for a position if you're looking to take your learning to the next level!

Lab Assistants/Teaching Assistants (TA)

These paid positions not only provide excellent experience in laboratories, working alongside faculty and students, but they also serve as great resume builders. Lab Assistants must be familiar with the techniques and calculations used in classroom activities and be capable of solving problems immediately in order to help students with their work; a Lab Assistant should be comfortable and equipped to work in settings that require them to clearly explain different processes and how to carry them out. Lab Assistants have a great opportunity to learn and develop specific laboratory skills that can prove beneficial in various research projects and internships.

Similar to Lab Assistants, Teaching Assistants work alongside faculty and students, providing support within the classroom and lab sections, but focus more on providing support to faculty members. Teaching Assistants may address questions that students may have on the curriculum; they may also serve as a "right hand" to faculty through managing tasks like inputting data from various activities or editing articles and other academic writing. Some tasks are relatively small, such as classroom preparation (Ex. making copies of reading materials) while other tasks may be considered more demanding (Ex. conducting literary reviews for faculty). In both the Lab Assistant and the Teaching Assistant position, a student employee must have the flexibility and availability within their weekly schedule to be present for lab and class sessions, unless other agreements have been made with staff and faculty.

Requirements for lab assisting/serving as a 'TA':

  • As a Lab Assistant/Teaching Assistant, you must have taken the course or course equivalent in which you are assisting.
  • You must have earned a grade of "B" or better in the course in which you are assisting.
  • You must have availability within your weekly schedule to be present within the class section you are serving (unless other agreements have been made with faculty regarding your attendance).

Application process

The following steps must be completed to apply for a Lab Assistant/Teaching Assistant position:

  1. Review the listing of currently available student employment positions. A listing of positions can be found here. Be sure to pay attention to the times and locations for each class section to make sure you are available to work during those sections.
  2. Submit a Student Employment Application to the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department office. Check in DH100 to determine current open student employment positions if you have questions.
  3. Once your application has been approved and a position confirmed, you need to stop at the Payroll Office (Spoelhof Center 370) to fill out all student employee forms. NOTE- Even if you have served as a student employee on Calvin's campus in past academic years, please be prepared to complete and resubmit employment forms (such as ID proofs and tax forms). This information is required of ALL student employees. 
  4. After you have delivered all completed student employee forms, you will receive an "Authorization to Work" card. Please bring this card to DH100- it is proof that your paperwork is completed and you are eligible to begin working in your position. Once this card is submitted to DH100, a new e-card will be created for you. You may begin working in your position once you are able to access this e-card.
    1. IMPORTANT - Students may NOT begin working in their position until these steps are completed. Students may NOT submit "retroactive work hours" that may have been completed prior to the submission of the required paperwork to the Payroll Office. These hours will NOT be recognized by the Payroll Office. Please BE SURE to properly follow all outlined steps to ensure that you will receive your expected pay on time!
  5. Complete Online Student Employment Safety Training. Submit all verification of the completion of your online training to DH100; this information will go into your file.
  6. Please reference the Student Employee Manual for time tracking, and enter your hours using your e-card.

Research Assistants

Faculty members maintain vigorous year-round research programs designed to enhance the undergraduate experience. Through participating in a research project, students have an excellent opportunity to gain a direct view and understanding of what different career pathways require; students are able to work within various laboratory settings, among seasoned professionals, and can access a wealth of resources that help them form connections and networks useful for future career searches. Interested students should discuss specific research interests and opportunities with department faculty members in order to get more guidance on identifying research projects that may be a good fit for the student and the application process.

Research Assistants work one-on-one with faculty members on their projects. These are paid positions that provide fantastic opportunities into additional research opportunities both on-campus and off-campus. These positions are available based upon need, so it is advantageous for students to connect with faculty members to discuss their interests and to determine if a position may be a good fit.

Also, students are encouraged to consider participating in the annual "Summer Research" program. Annually, faculty from across campus offer various projects for students to work on during the summer season here on Calvin's campus. Students are able to view a listing and description of projects offered and can apply for a position; this information is made available towards the end of the Spring semester. Students that are interested in gaining extensive research experience while also enjoying the convenience of working on campus are encouraged to consider applying to this program. The Science Division will provide further information about this program at a later time during the academic year.

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