Transfer students STEP up for summer jobs on campus

student behind a desk helping a customer at UW-Madison

Amanda Hamm wanted to work at UW–Madison last summer while going to school. A transfer student from Madison College, she got an email about the Summer Transfer Employment Program (STEP) and took 30 minutes to fill out an application. A week later, she was given a choice of campus jobs.

“It was so easy to apply,” she says. “It’s really nice to have an on-campus job because it’s close to your housing. You don’t have to go anywhere in a car or bus—that was the main reason I wanted to try it.”

The STEP program started in the spring of 2018 to help ease the transition to UW–Madison for transfer students through connecting them with employment opportunities. It offers guaranteed jobs to any qualifying student for Summer Term, with the opportunity to continue working into the next academic year. Of course, there are plenty of campus jobs to go around for all students, whether or not you transfer to UW–Madison.

“We believe that students can increase their sense of belonging to UW–Madison, expand their community, support coursework, and ultimately gain key skills through working on campus,” says Justin Mumford, assistant director for student engagement.

Boosting skills, building community

A fifth-year student majoring in retailing and consumer behavior and Spanish, Hamm is also getting a certificate in entrepreneurship. Through STEP, she got a job at Recreational Sports that could help her in a future career.

headshot of student Amanda Hamm with background of spruce tree
Transfer student Amanda Hamm: With STEP, they put me in a job right away and gave me a lot of responsibility and eventually authority. It’s a great program

“This employment opportunity allows students to gain key outcomes such as establishing a sense of community, supporting coursework, and developing important transferrable skills,” says Mumford.

Hamm started as a facility attendant in the summer at Ogg Hall Fitness Center but also worked at The Shell over winter break.

“We made sure machines were clean and running, checked people in, and dealt with membership sales and equipment,” she says. “I had an incredibly accommodating supervisor who really worked around my exam and study schedules. He was easy to talk to and great about job references.”

Hamm also made friends at the gym, and she appreciated the opportunity to get good training and advance in the job—in her case from a facility attendant to member services assistant.

Easy to apply

Each spring, students who transferred into UW–Madison in the spring or fall automatically get an email from the STEP program. They complete a simple application, which collects preferences among available jobs. Students then receive a formal offer and are connected to their new supervisor and job-specific training.

STEP students have worked at the Wisconsin Union, University Housing, Campus & Visitor Relations, Athletics, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Recreational Sports, and the Libraries. Positions might include event support, facility maintenance, food service, marketing, or guiding tours. Students start in entry-level roles that could turn in to supervisory or administrative positions.

“We work with several employers across campus to ensure there are guaranteed spots for students who may be interested,” Mumford says. “These are offered without a need for a separate application or interview, which helps to eliminate potential barriers and really streamline things for students.”

For Hamm, it was a cinch.

“I appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to go through a long process to get this job,” she says. “It took me a month or more to get other work off-campus. With STEP, they put me in a job right away and gave me a lot of responsibility and eventually authority. It’s a great program.”

For more information see the STEP program website or email student.employment@finaid.wisc.edu. To browse and get involved in a student job opportunity, visit studentjobs.wisc.edu. Here, any student can browse through hundreds of available jobs, updated daily and featuring opportunities through UW-Madison as well as the surrounding community.