Our department needs quite a few student workers every semester, most of which are lab assistants. We only ask our top Biology students to be lab assistants so it is quite an honor to be in this position. It is something that can certainly go on your resume later and it also allows the Biology faculty to get to know you much better. This can result in a much more thorough and helpful recommendation for you later when you apply to graduate or professional schools or for a job.
The requirements for being considered for a lab assistant position include the following:
- A major in Cell Biology or Organismal Biology or Clinical Laboratory Science;
- a GPA of 3.0 or higher (both in overall GPA and in the Biology courses you have taken);
- a good work ethic -- dependable, able to take instruction well, willing to do more than you are asked to do, careful, well-prepared;
- having done well (an A preferably or a B) in the class and lab you want to assist in;
- and an okay from the professor you will be working for.
We do not, as a rule, consider using freshmen as lab assistants – we want to watch you for a few semesters. We also will generally only accept sophomore lab assistants that have exceptional GPAs overall and in their Biology coursework.
If you believe that you fulfill these requirements and would like to be considered for a lab assistant position, talk with that professor or with Dr. Wood.
The department also usually needs one or two office workers during the semester. "Office" is a rather broad term in our dictionary! You may actually be doing some office work but you may also be rearranging a Biology storeroom, watering plants, or cleaning out a frog cage. Someone in this position needs to be quite flexible. We prefer to have Biology majors in this position and your GPA should be relatively high. Talk with Dr. Wood about this position.Lab Assistant Resources
Student Worker Job Descriptions
Your main job is to do what you need to do to help the students in your lab understand and learn the material they are responsible for. Some professors will want you to actually do introductory lectures during the lab periods, while other professors will do all the lecturing and only require you to be available to work one-on-one with the students if they need help. You may be expected to make up lab quizzes, grade lab reports, set up lab practicals, hold lab help sessions for interested students, etc. Talk with your professor to find out exactly what is expected of you during the semester.
You are also responsible for keeping the lab clean and straight -- other labs will be meeting in that same room and will not appreciate walking into a mess. Even if your professor doesn't direct you to keep the lab straightened and cleaned, that IS your responsibility.
If your lab uses microscope slides during the semester, you will be expected to do a slide inventory at the end of the semester and do a thorough cleaning of the lab. Talk to your professor about this or talk with Dr. Wood.
And speaking of microscopes ... you must watch the students at all times to be sure that they are treating our microscopes properly. Do not hesitate to correct any student who is not carrying a scope correctly or who does not store the scope properly at the end of lab. We have a system in place to keep track of who is using a particular scope so you will be able to track down any offenders. Do not take this lightly.
You will be expected to do any general office work that any of the Biology faculty or the Biology secretary asks you to do. This may include typing, going to the copy center, shredding old documents, scanning documents, going to the library, going to the bookstore, etc. It may also include jobs in the labs that need to be done such as cleaning, slide inventories, reorganizing storerooms, feeding animals, watering plants, helping set up a lab at the last minute, grading papers, etc. A Biology office worker is really a jack of all trades.
When you report for work, you will report to the Biology secretary. She will often know what the faculty need for you to do and will help you coordinate your efforts so that the most urgent things get done first. As you finish a particular job, you will report that to her. If one of the faculty asks you to do something (and that will probably happen quite often), let the secretary know. She is your immediate supervisor and needs to know what you're doing.
You are expected to be available to work during the entire time that you are scheduled to work and you are expected to be on time. We are looking for students in this position who are hard workers and who are not content to just do enough to get by. And we expect good attitudes -- that makes a great impression on us and will help us give you a good recommendation later on.
In general, this job takes about 9 hours per week, more or less. It requires a student who is a Biology or Chemistry major with a high GPA in their science courses and a knowledge of general laboratory procedures. This student must be dependable, to include the completion of all laboratory assignments on time. The student must also be meticulous and detail-oriented. Such a student must be willing to spend the time necessary to prepare media and other lab materials for the microbiology and bacteriology labs scheduled for the week. The job is not done until that preparation is finished.
The job also includes collecting and disposing of contaminated materials in an appropriate manner, washing/cleaning glassware and pipettes, being familiar with any hazardous material in the lab and exercising appropriate care in handling such material. There may be additional tasks required in any given week. Dr. Joni Ylostalo is the primary contact person and supervisor for this position.
Dr. Kathleen Wood, Department Chair
firstname.lastname@example.org • (254) 295-4214
900 College Street, Box 8432 • Belton, TX 76513
Page last updated September 28, 2018