What's it like working in the CCE?

July 8, 2011
Jeanessa Perry

In August 2010, I started working as a student assistant for the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). As a freshman at Sonoma State University, I acquired the job over summer during the Educational Opportunity Program Summer Bridge Orientation. My supervisor, Merith Weisman, Coordinator of the CCE, presented the student assistant job opening at one of the gatherings. On hiring day I went to interview for the position.

I am very content with my decision to interview to work for the Center for Community Engagement because I get to use my talents as a video recorder/editor, American Sign Language speaker/translator and blogger while attaining a first hand look at the politics of University academics. Although my title at the Center for Community Engagement is student assistant, I get to assist in putting on workshops, conferences and meetings while managing archives, blogs and other media forms such as Facebook and Picasa. Each of these components gives me the skills I need for my aspiring careers of entrepreneur and in press relations. For becoming an entrepreneur, I get experience holding meetings and workshops with faculty and staff to discuss different issues or propose ideas. These skills are necessary in a business career field in order for the business to be affluent and grow. For the communications field, I get the experience of seeing firsthand the efforts needed to put together events, advertise, and follow up through blogs and media sites.

Working for the Center for Community Engagement allows me to get a faculty and staff view of Sonoma State rather than simply a student view. Attending the meetings with faculty, staff, and community partners allows me to see all the efforts put into developing new classes or implementing resolutions for doing something differently. I witness the University process of making a decision and the hierarchy of authority one must go through before reaching the chief individual who makes the decision. From my view as a student, I feel like many of the decisions can be simply resolved, but understand that politically things are not as simple. I am appreciative of having this opportunity because it prepares me more practically for the work force rather than academically. Regardless of my profession, I will have to work within these politics. I feel as though I have every year in college to study the academics, but it is not going to prepare me for the real world.

My boss takes it upon herself to not only give me a job but to make sure I understand how society works. She often will discuss the different problems that arose in meetings so I understand why or how things were handled. As an aspiring entrepreneur, when I own my business I want to be just like my boss. She is able to manage her workers while not belittling them, even though she holds a higher position. She makes me feel like an equal so I make decisions for myself with her as a guide. She is very passionate about her job, which has influenced me to pursue a career that will help with non-profits and focus on common good.