The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost’s Office works to provide educational opportunities for students to inspire them to lead and prepare them for life after graduation. One initiative, the Provost’s Professional Experience Program (PEP), gives students the chance to work with NC State entities to participate in research and expand their professional development.
PEP aligns with NC State’s strategic plan, which emphasizes student success, including making timely progress toward a degree. Creating meaningful on-campus employment gives students a greater ability to focus on their studies and excel in the classroom.
“The program debuted in the 2015-2016 academic year in response to faculty advocating for more opportunities for students to work on campus, as off-campus jobs are not an option for many students,” said Krista Ringler, director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA). “PEP benefits all parties involved – students, faculty and staff can connect with one another to collaborate on research and other important work being done on campus.”
Administered by the OSFA, PEP connects university colleges and departments with students seeking on-campus employment. The Provost’s Office pays 80 percent of student wages, with the remaining 20 percent paid by colleges and department, and students may earn up to $2,000 during the fall and spring semesters combined.
Initially, PEP started with $250,000, but the Provost’s Office increased funding to $500,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year. Available positions range from lab assistants and technicians to business operations and communications positions in various colleges and departments.
“The feedback from our partners has been exceedingly positive,” said Ringler. “So many students expressed interest in the program this year that we have more demand than we are able to meet at this point, and we’re looking to expand in the future.”
Employers from across campus request positions funded through PEP, and any undergraduate student may apply for a PEP job. Students may participate in PEP for the duration of their undergraduate careers, and may hold positions from year to year.
“It is great for our office to have additional support from PEP students, who truly show an interest in learning and developing their professional skills,” said Stephany Dunstan, associate director of the Office of Assessment. “We utilize lots of data in our office to drive campus decision-making, and having a conscientious student worker to assist in all facets of our work is extremely helpful.”
In addition to colleges and departments receiving support, students employees find a community of support from their employers. Students working on campus often develop a greater sense of belonging, and create a network of faculty and staff with a vested interest in the academic and professional development success.
“Students in PEP get a sense of belonging from the people they work with, who really care about them,” said Dunstan. “They not only engage with us on work-related initiative, but we care about them personally. They really have a home base on campus.”
Dunstan has worked with Connie Wong, a junior business administration major, since PEP’s inception. Wong assists the Office of Assessment with everything from managing statistics data and analytics to testing initiatives and more.
“I’ve had some sort of job since I was about 10, and going into college made me realize that I needed one on campus,” said Wong. “A lot of people think that an office assistant just works quietly in a corner, but participating in the program [PEP] gives me real experience with many different people that I can use after I graduate.”
From real-world experience for students to fulfilling research, administration and communications needs for faculty and staff, PEP creates unique opportunities and experiences for the entire campus community. The program continues to expand and reach all corners of NC State.
“I plan to participate in the Provost’s Professional Experience Program through my senior year,” said Wong. “In the program, you get great opportunities to interact with others on campus and find mentors that you really can’t find anywhere else.”
Learn more about PEP and the meaningful student employment opportunities the program creates.