UB students get work

Spectrum survey shows most students work in addition to class load


Diana Rudz hit her limit two weeks ago.

The ex-Mighty Taco employee used to work 10 to 15 hours a week, balancing her 19-credit school schedule with 10 weekly hours of research and the need to pay her bills.

After three and a half years of assembling nacho buffitos, she forced herself to quit so she could focus on her schoolwork. The senior biomedical engineering major later got a job related to her field, but that also proved to be too much to balance. So, early into this semester, she quit working again to focus on school.

Up until recently, Rudz was one of the approximately 63 percent of employed UB students who are carving time out of their schedules to earn money for tuition and expenses, according to a survey conducted by The Spectrum.

Because Rudz ultimately wants to work in orthopedics and help develop innovations in prosthetic technology for amputees, her second attempt at part-time work was at MedAssembly.

She helped assemble various medical products such as suction ablators, which are used in surgical procedures.

“Having a job on or off campus helps make [students] more marketable,” said Edward Brodka, a career counselor at UB Career Services.

He advises students to only work 10 to 12 hours a week “if they can afford it.”

“Being a student is their full-time job,” he said.

When Rudz was at Mighty Taco, she was working 10 to 15 hours per week. The Spectrum found the majority of students surveyed who are employed work 11 to 15 hours per week.

For Rudz, working over the summer at MedAssembly was fine, but once her senior year of biomedical engineering classes and research on possible alternative materials for shoulder replacements started again, her schedule didn’t allow for enough study time.

“I needed so much more time than I had expected to do all of my homework,” she said. “I ended up not having enough time to do research, but I wasn’t going to give that up, or give up my homework. So I stopped working.”

Rudz is currently applying to graduate school and knows how important a high GPA and research experience are when it comes to getting accepted into a good program.

She said she saved enough money over the summer to mostly get by this semester. Luckily, she said, combined with the multiple scholarships she gets from UB, she’s comfortable stopping work for now.

“But now I have no money to spend during the semester and it’s a pain” she said.

Forty-six percent of students at UB are responsible for at least half of their expenses, and one-third of UB students are working and earning $8 to $8.50 and hour (the New York State minimum wage is $8), according to The Spectrum’s survey.

Rudz isn’t the only student whose work life has affected her academics.

Respondents to the survey mentioned some conflicts their employment had with their full-time 12 to 18-credit course load.

“My on campus job wouldn’t let me take off for a few of my exams,” said one student. While another responder said he or she got “called into work on days I wanted to take off so I can study.”

Another student said his or her job “cut down the time I had to focus and work on schoolwork.”

Rudz doesn’t miss rolling tacos, and this winter she plans on working at MedAssembly again to save money.

For now, she’s a student first.

Here is how some other UB students make some money:

Name: Jenna Forman

Major: Health and human services

Year: Senior

Job: Teaching Assistant for ES102: Fundamentals of Wellness

Paid: slightly above minimum wage

Description: Forman works with the professor as a “right hand man.” She assists in grading assignments, logging attendance into a database and helping students with day-to-day questions about the curriculum and various assignments.

“My favorite part about my job is working with the professor,” Forman said. “She’s my favorite professor that I’ve had since I’ve been at UB. She’s always been so helpful and is an all-around-great person to work with.”

Name: Laura Wanerka

Major: Masters in Business Administration

Year: First-year graduate student

Job: TA for MGS351: Introduction to management information systems

Paid: A stipend for the semester

Description: Wanerka teaches six undergraduate recitations each week, holds office hours for students twice a week, proctors exams, grades homework, quizzes and in-class activities as well as assists students with their semester-long projects.

“This job is definitely a lot of work but I chose to do it not only because it’s helping me afford my MBA but it’s also giving me a more in-depth understanding within the field of business, which I haven’t had much experience with prior [to this job].”

Name: Kristina Goehringer

Major: Accounting

Year: Junior

Job: Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor

Paid: Above minimum wage

Description: Goehringer is in charge of lifeguarding while UB’s Dive and Swim team practices on Saturday mornings. She also teaches beginner-level swim instruction to kids as well as intermediate and advanced swim instruction for adults.

“My favorite part about lifeguarding is being able to socialize with people of different temperaments, abilities and backgrounds,” Goehringer said. “It’s also so rewarding to see people of all different ages improving because of my instruction.”

Name: Emma Bocchino

Major: Psychology

Year: Senior

Job: Student Union Manager

Paid: Slightly above minimum wage

Description: Student Union Managers are in charge of setting up and managing various events within the student union. Bocchino makes sure rooms are clean, unlocked and set up accordingly for various events.

“The people working at the Student Union were so nice and sweet when I first transferred here,” Bocchino said. “I started working here right when I transferred and I love being able to see the cool events that take place here as well as helping in situations when things go awry. I’m also here to help students and I love being able to see them happy after helping them solve their problems.”

Name: Leonard Arambam

Major: Industrial Engineering

Year: Junior

Job: Student Assistant at Center For Student Life

Paid: Starting at minimum wage

Description: Student Assistants help various clubs and organizations reserve rooms for events. They organize and record exactly what students will need for the specific events that they plan on campus.

“I love the office work environment,” Arambam said. “My boss is awesome, and everyone here has the same mentality and goal in mind – helping students.”

Rachel Kramer contributed reporting to this story.