Getting The Job Done
Published: Monday, January 27, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 09:01
Cristian Lopez, CSOM ’14, has hopped around from job to job throughout his time at BC. A little bit of luck and his characteristic willingness to strike up a conversation with just about anyone eventually landed him his most recent gig in the Student Services office.
Heights: How long have you been working in the Student Services office?
Lopez: Since September. I was lucky to get a job here as a senior—they usually hire lowerclassmen here.
Heights: Here at Student Services, you work in administration. What’s a usual day like?
Lopez: I basically consider myself the personal assistant of Jane McGuire, who oversees pretty much the scheduling for all of Student Services. Mostly, it’s stocking up the closets … and running errands, because Student Services sends a lot of inter-office deliveries. It’s really anything. We do a lot of lunches where Jane will pay for the office to have lunch, so I’ll help set up for the lunches. Normally she has a card so that when we don’t do lunch, the workers can have a free lunch in the Rat so I’ll be downstairs swiping for everybody. A lot of random tasks like that.
Heights: How did you get this job? It seems like one that not many people would know about.
Lopez: Luck, definitely! I came in here in September, and the position was posted because the person she’d had for the past four years was graduating in the fall. It so happened that when I went to apply, she was there, and she’s normally not because she’s always running around. So I got to talk to her in person. We just clicked, and I didn’t even know she was Jane McGuire! But she liked me and pretty much hired me on the spot. It was nice.
Heights: Is there anything that you find tricky about the job?
Lopez: I would say that because Jane is in a position where she interacts with a lot of people here, and a lot of them just come in and grab something, I have to know who is allowed to do that and pay attention to things like that.
Heights: What do you find most interesting about your job?
Lopez: My job is more project-based. Jane will give me something like early on in the semester where I had to do an Excel spreadsheet where I counted up all of the students in each major at Boston College to help her for a presentation. There’s no traditional day I would say. There’s no routine, which I like. Maybe some people wouldn’t.
Ryan Dikdan, A&S ’15, is one of many students who are already contributing to science by helping a biochem professor conduct research in one of BC’s many on-campus labs.
Heights: Which lab are you working in for this semester?
Dikdan: The Chatterjee lab. I’m working on a project about … in layman’s terms, we’re trying to make a special protein so that we can turn it on and off with UV light. The protein’s involved with cancer—once the protein activates, the cell will kill itself, so if the cell becomes cancerous it has a self-defense mechanism if we turn this protein on. If one cell gets cancer you’re fine, but if it metastasizes and gets bigger it’s a problem.
Heights: How long have you been working there?
Dikdan: Just a week.
Heights: How did you get this job?
Dikdan: To see whether or not I liked research I emailed Dr. Burgess and worked in his lab last semester, so I knew how to do it. All I did was email a bunch of bio professors and go, “Hey, can I work in your lab?” They pretty much just tell you if they have room or not. I saw a lecture by Dr. Chatterjee ... on something I find very fascinating, protein engineering and incorporation of amino acids in the protein. So I emailed him and talked to him about working in his lab and doing a thesis next year. I kept bugging him about working there.
Heights: So this research might lead to a thesis?
Dikdan: I might get a paper published before that, which would be awesome. We’re working in a field that not too many people work in for some reason, although I think it has amazing potential.
Heights: How did your previous lab experience prepare you for this one?
Dikdan: All the basic techniques of biology are really similar. That’s the best part of working in a research lab. I took a bio lab course, but it’s different when you actually have a purpose and are working under a grad student.