GA positions allow students to gain work experience


Maggie Tregre/The Lion's Roar

Bailey Zachary, a GA for the Center of Student Excellence, helps with Academic and Career Exploration. There are multiple GA positions around campus that are offered through various departments and offices.

Graduate assistantships offer opportunities for students to support themselves by taking an employment position at various departments on campus.

A graduate assistantship is an employment opportunity where graduates work for the university in exchange for a stipend and for having their tuition for graduate school paid for.

There are five types of graduate assistantships offered at the university: Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTF), Teaching Assistant (TA), Research Assistant (RA), Professional Service Assistant (PSA) and Administrative Assistant (AA).

The process of becoming a graduate assistant depends largely on what type of assistantship the graduate is interested in. Generally, students can find which departments are hiring by staff listings on the university website.

Upon finding a job listing, graduates will have to fill out an application and the posting will list qualifications, required skills and abilities and whether it is a part-time or full-time position. 

From there, graduates will have to provide a resume detailing their previous work experience. For departments or programs of interest, graduates may have to obtain letters of recommendation.

The employment term of graduate assistants follows the university’s academic calendar from the first week of freshman orientation through the week of final exams for all semesters and are employed on a semester-by-semester basis. 

Shawn Johnson, a graduate assistant with the Office of Graduate Studies, shared some of the benefits of becoming a graduate assistant.

“I think the one benefit that most students would like to know about is that should they be qualified for an assistantship, they also get a tuition waiver,” shared Johnson. “Please keep in mind that to keep said assistantship you have to be enrolled full-time in your graduate courses. The other benefit of earning an assistantship is the hands-on experience you’ll gain. I’ve gained group speaking, app-specific and office-related skills from the office I work at. Again, some of the skills you’ll learn and use will vary depending on the assistantship you have, what office you work and perhaps the program you’re in, too, but you will get experience that will carry over, whether you decide to stay in academia or not.”

John Boulahanis, Ph.D., director of the Office of Graduate Studies, shared his thoughts on how graduate assistants are beneficial to the workplace.

“I think GAs play a critical role both in the function of the university and training for their career,” commented Boulahanis.