Yale Daily News

Many students who ordinarily held jobs on campus during the academic year as office receptionists, library assistants and dining hall workers saw their positions and paychecks come to a premature halt last spring. With physical office and classroom spaces largely shut down for the foreseeable future, students and employers alike have had to transform existing work opportunities — or create new ones. 

“The job landscape has changed dramatically this year,” wrote Student Employment Manager Heather Abati, in an email to the News. “As most of Yale was working remotely, departments had to restructure their student positions to allow students to also work remotely where possible.”

The total number of jobs available for all students in the fall semester was down approximately 13 percent from the previous fall. 1,800 jobs were available last term, compared to just over 2,000 in 2019, according to Abati.

Still, many students, like Zoe Hopson ’22 and Michaela Markels ’24, were able to retain their jobs.

Hopson has worked at the Afro-American Cultural Center since her sophomore fall. She is currently on the student leadership development team, where she helps support and advise the Af-Am House’s resident student groups. Most of her responsibilities have stayed the same, though she’s manning online events and supporting these organizations through Zoom. 

“It’s the dream job,” she said. “But with the House being closed and everything online, it’s been a struggle, because part of the pull of events is being in the community with your friends.”

Markels, who is taking a leave of absence this year, was also able to continue logging hours for her job as a student recruitment coordinator at the admissions office through the pandemic. 

According to Markels, due to the admissions office’s efforts to host events remotely, she was able to work nearly as many, if not more, hours as usual. For instance, Markels noted she worked remotely on the 30 Bulldog Days of April, the virtual replacement for Bulldog Days, last spring.

“The [admissions officers] gave us tons to do with new forums and information sessions, partly for outreach, but also to give us payable work,” Markels said. 

The Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale has also worked to maintain a similar number of student workers amidst the pandemic. According to Communications Director Laura Mitchell Tully, most student positions at Tsai CITY have remained available since the transition and offer similar hours. Roughly 60 students are hired annually to support Tsai CITY’s programming and operations, with responsibilities from program coordination to graphic design. 

Lily Dorstewitz, Staff Photographer

And when many students lost internship opportunities last summer, the center hired a group of students to work for specific projects for the center’s summer fellowship. These positions have remained available to students during the school year. 

Abati also pointed out that new jobs were created to assist faculty with remote learning and to support various community service and research programs. 

Kunsang Dorjee ’22 landed a new position this semester as an undergraduate technology assistant, a role that is administered through the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, where he helps manage the Zoom and Canvas functions of a seminar.

And Jade Tolentino ’24 got a job as a residential college distribution assistant following a conversation early last fall with Davenport College administrative staff. 

“We coordinate deliveries and receive packages meant for the Student Receiving Center and distribute them in a way that is compliant with COVID safety,” Tolentino said. No such equivalent to this position existed in years past. 

What positions are available to students depend on their locations and the type of work that they are interested in. Departments will continue to post positions throughout the semester, following safety protocols as established by the state and Yale.

“The Student Employment Office has always advised hiring departments to give preference to students on aid when hiring within the first few weeks of the semester,” Abati wrote. That policy did not change for this academic year.  

Jobs are posted on the student employment website and employment forms are processed via Workday. 

Emily Tian | emily.tian@yale.edu