As the job market becomes more competitive, employers are increasingly looking for work experience in recent college graduates. At Muhlenberg College, The Presidential Assistantship program provides a great opportunity for students who want to both study and gain work experience.

A Presidential Assistant (PA) can work in one of 13 departments across the campus and are considered entry-level management positions. Though every PA’s responsibilities differ, the position works closely with their departments to provide transferable skills to help students transition into the workforce.

PA’s are expected to live off-campus and work an average of 20 hours per week. In return, traditional students receive seven tuition-free courses while Wescoe students receive nine. Therefore, students have to make sure they have enough credits to graduate. However, if credits aren’t an issue, it’s a wonderful opportunity for students to gain experience for their careers.

“The benefit to the student is having the opportunity to work as a recognized team member on projects, where they can develop and demonstrate time management, enhance their business/computer application skills, and grow in their own professionalism,” says Anne Speck, Vice President of Human Resources.

To help give a glimpse of life as a PA, The Muhlenberg Weekly interviewed Kaitlynn Ely ‘19, Evan Plaza ‘19, and Phelize Bristol ‘19, all PA’s in different departments.

Ely works in the Career Center while Plaza works in Haas with Alumni Affairs. Working on the other side of campus, Bristol is a PA for the Office of Communications.

Below is a Q&A with Ely, Plaza and Bristol:

The Muhlenberg Weekly: What are your responsibilities as a PA?

Ely: My responsibilities include improving student engagement with Handshake, connecting employers to Muhlenberg students, and organizing on-campus networking events.

Plaza: Some of my responsibilities include assisting our office for our events on campus, updating alumni information in our systems, getting the opportunity to work independently on projects that I am interested in, as well as network with the wonderful alumni that went to this school and have my student perspective valued during meetings.

Bristol: I am basically the mouth of the school to the outer world. I help create stories on Merit, I used Adobe software to make posters, edit videos and photos. I post our best stories all over campus. I sometimes go on photoshoots and write stories for the website.


The Muhlenberg Weekly: How would you describe your experience?

Ely: The experience has been so rewarding. The staff members in the Career Center make my time spent in the basement of Seegers so enjoyable. I’ve gotten to know them on a personal level and consider them great friends and mentors!

Plaza: It has been a very hands on experience which has given me a lot of skills and lessons that I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else. My office is also very supportive of the projects and career paths that I am interested in pursuing and is never afraid to offer advice that assists any assignment or idea I’ve come up with.

Bristol: It’s definitely a learning experience. Some days I feel like a student and others I feel strictly like an employee. I’ve learned a lot from the program and I think it’ll help me with future job perspectives after I leave ‘Berg.


The Muhlenberg Weekly: How do you like the program?

Ely: The PA program has given me skills that no other internship experience has. I am not an assistant that buys everyone coffee, but a team member that offers new ideas that the Muhlenberg community can benefit from.

Plaza: I enjoy this program because I am receiving entry-level experience in my office and get to explore a potential career path that I would not have gotten the chance to if it weren’t for this opportunity. Not only that but I am also making connections I would not have been able to for the same reason.

Bristol: The people I work with are so nice and helpful. They have taught me a lot. Of course, it’s not perfect, but I am happy in the position I’m in.


The Muhlenberg Weekly: What is the most important thing that you’ve learned through your position?

Ely: I always thought I managed my time well during my time at ‘Berg since I’m involved in many organizations. But being a PA has challenged this! Working 20 hours a week and taking three classes was difficult at first, but it’s taught me how to weigh my priorities while getting enough sleep at the same time!

Plaza: The most important thing that I have learned from my position is communication. In my job, I am responsible for multiple projects that have deadlines all near each other, so it is important for me to keep in consistent contact with my coworkers where I am at in my project, or if I experience any difficulties on completing a project.

Bristol: It has taught me a lot of skills that I will need for the future such as different Adobe software skills and how to work in an office setting.


The Muhlenberg Weekly: How will your presidential assistant experience help you after you graduate college?

Ely: Since working in the Career Center, I’ve been exposed to the world of event planning. I’m now thinking about doing fundraising for non-profits and other political organizations after graduation!

Plaza: This experience will help me after graduation by making me more confident in taking initiative. If I am interested in pursuing something, I need to make the effort to attain whatever I am looking for. It also helped me become more organized with project management and how to budget my time with working 20 hours a week and balancing my extracurriculars.

Bristol: Like I stated before, it has helped me learn how to work in an office setting and has taught me important communication and editing skills that will help in the media related fields I will hopefully be in next year. It’s a great transition into adult life.


The Muhlenberg Weekly: What advice would you offer others who would want to become a presidential assistant?

Ely: If you’re interested in being a PA, definitely plan out your course schedule early! Make sure you can get all your credits in so you can make the most out of your senior year.

Plaza: The advice I would offer to any aspiring PA’s is to understand that this position is very rewarding yet it is a big commitment. This position will shape you into a better individual but you also have to put the work in to become that individual. Not only that, but I would say to be a sponge if you get this opportunity. Time truly has been flying as a PA so it is important to take in as much information as possible to get the most out of your experience. Another pearl of wisdom would be to make sure that you are on track to graduate and have a clear understanding of your schedule. By knowing what classes you need to graduate and how you can have the most effective schedule can help you have an amazing experience as a PA.

Bristol: Make sure to schedule your life out well-meaning classes, activities and free time. Also, make sure you have enough credits to do this!


For students interested in the position, apply via Handshake by Nov. 30.

+ posts


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here