More than 1,700 students are employed by UNLV in 32 departments, colleges, and business units across campus. Student employment helps students realize the full value of their education and the resources that come along with it. Not only does it provide work experience — it’s often a student’s first job — but it also helps them meet new people, develop time management skills, and expand their horizons in dynamic and meaningful ways.
There are plenty of opportunities available for all kinds of students with differing schedules and skill sets. We interviewed two current UNLV students and one former student (and now full-time employee!) to provide an inside look at the student employees who support university activities.
Naseem Benjelloun’s position as a technology development and support assistant with Business Affairs connected him to campus in a way he didn’t expect. As a student, he got to see the academic side of the house while his employment let him see the operational complexities that allowed researchers to complete their work. “My work made me feel close to campus and more involved with it than just being a student,” Benjelloun said.
That’s important because UNLV was his very first job. After graduating from high school early, it was hard for Benjelloun to find a job because not a lot of employers want to hire a 15-year-old. He applied for dozens of on-campus jobs before he got an interview. In order to make up for his lack of traditional work experience, he relied on his high school extracurricular activities and volunteer work to create a skills-based resume.
The administrative technology services team took a chance and hired him. They’re happy they did. The double major in political science and mathematics does everything from providing IT support to developing applications and writing code. His job set the tone for his future professional life. “My student employment taught me what working is really like — how to maintain work life/balance, relate to my colleagues, and operate in the workplace.”
Building an Inclusive Atmosphere
Elaiza Marie Suarez grew up in Saipan, an island 120 miles north of Guam in the Pacific ocean, so moving to Las Vegas was an adjustment to say the least. “It was a bit of culture shock going from relaxed island living to the fast-paced big city,” she said. She doesn’t regret it though: “I love the diversity of the city. It’s so much more than just The Strip to see.”
Diversity and inclusion have directed her work as a student and employee. As a third-year criminal justice student, Suarez has had many student jobs including as a CSUN senator and a diversity outreach coordinator in the residence halls. “We’re a very diverse university by the numbers, but I work on maintaining a truly inclusive atmosphere for students.”
Suarez’s longest-running position is at the front desk of Lied Library assisting students with checking out books and other resources. She loves the library environment with its big windows and open spaces, along with the supervisors and students who serve as her colleagues.
Most importantly though, her work has informed the greater trajectory of her life. “Working at the library, seeing and helping students every day, has helped me blossom into a person with a passion for helping others.”
After college, Suarez plans to sponsor her parents for American citizenship and go to law school to help people like her parents immigrate to the United States.
Benefits of Student Employment
Suarez wouldn’t have known about all of the free resources on campus if it weren't for her student employment. Consultations at the Writing Center, wellness programming at the Student Health and Wellness Center, and the textbook reserve program at Lied Library are all available to students as a part of their tuition. “Realistically, not many students will research resources,” she said. “They want to see it in front of them. By working on campus, I have direct access to what the university offers and can tell my friends about it.”
Benjelloun knows first-hand that if you have finals or an important paper, UNLV supervisors understand that academics should be a student’s first priority. In fact, his supervisor even prints “School comes first!” in bold on top of their bi-weekly check-in agenda. “I’m able to move around shifts to study and to accommodate my class schedule as long as I get my work done and communicate my academic workload,” he said. “That’s not something you get on The Strip.”
Student employment is a way to earn money to support yourself without sacrificing the time required to study. This work also connects students to campus and provides the opportunity to learn about the professional world from supervisors who know, as Benjelloun’s supervisor knows, that school comes first.
Returning After Graduation
After he graduated in 2015 with a degree in marketing, he spent a few years in the private sector but kept in contact with his former supervisor, Susie Greene. When a position opened up on the web and digital strategy team, Kurosu applied and is now a web communications specialist, helping units on campus maintain and update their webpages, and providing long-term web strategy.
What made him want to come back? The people: “I fit in well with my team. I knew them well from my days as a student worker and I liked working with them,” Kurosu said.
UNLV's benefits didn’t hurt either: “The generous vacation and sick time along with the overall flexibility of full-time work at the university is a big draw.”