Jackson Cox started at ITS Response Center as a student worker but stayed on after graduation to make it a career.11-3-2014

Working for Walk-in Services within the ITS Response Center can be stressful, for sure. Students, faculty and retired professors come in with all sorts of technology problems. Sometimes clients fear they’ve lost everything on their computer only to find that the staff members are able to recover their information.

Easing clients’ worries is rewarding

It can be a challenge to sooth worried clients and put a smile on their face, said Jackson Cox, a Walk-in Services supervisor. That’s why the job is so rewarding. Clients appreciate the help.

“It’s rewarding just to have people say thank you,” he said.

Helping variety of customers adds to enjoyment

Cox gets to help people every day. He likes that he gets to help a variety of people –- a University retiree-turned-state-senator, an assistant basketball coach, student athletes and professors who have worked on campus for three and four decades.

Cox, 25, has experienced this work as a full-timer and as a part-time student employee. He worked for the ITS Response Center for a little more than a year as a UNC-Chapel Hill student. Upon graduating with a degree in media studies and production, Cox didn’t know what he wanted to do. He had always enjoyed video editing and computers, so he inquired about sticking around.

“If you would have told me three years ago I’d be here, I wouldn’t believe it,” Cox said.

As a Walk-in supervisor, Cox oversees 40 student employees – up to eight at a time. He’s one of four Walk-in Services supervisors. Some of Cox’s student employees don’t realize he was in their shoes not long ago.

“Quite common” for student workers to return

Student worker Caleb Hayes & permanent employee Jackson Cox of ITS Response Center 11-3-14Walk-in Services offers software and service support for the Carolina community and hardware support for Lenovo and Apple computers purchased through the University. It has six full-time, permanent employees who previously were student employees, said Sharon Glover, ITS Response Center Director. “It is quite common for our student workers to return as permanent employees,” she said. “Many of the ITRC managers were student workers during their UNC-Chapel Hill college years.”

The Walk-in Services, Frontline Support and Infrastructure units within the ITS Response Center collectively employ a dozen people who used to work for the ITS Response Center as students. The Frontline employees serve as the first point of contact for ITS support through 919-962-Help, Web Submit and Chat. Walk-in staffers offer software and service support for all members of the Carolina community. They also provide hardware support for Lenovo and Apple computers purchased through the University.

Returning former student workers provide “holistic insight”

ITS benefits from having these former student workers come back as permanent employees. “I think these employees have a great understanding of the environment in which we work,” Glover said. “They know campus and have an understanding of how different aspects can be related.

They know our customers because they’ve been that student who has a paper due in an hour and can’t get their computer to boot. They know our student staff and the challenges of balancing academics and work, professionalism and youth. And now they know the employee side and the work required to keep a service running effectively across locations and shifts. They can provide a holistic insight that many others can’t.”

The ITS Response Center student workers impress Cox with their IT knowledge and all that they fit into their schedules. Student workers are required to put in 15 hours a week. Many are involved in other campus activities and additional jobs. And yet, students are working hard and sometimes solving tech issues that their supervisors have never seen. Walk-in Services is pretty much student run, Cox said.

Surprisingly, most employees are not comp-sci majors

People would be surprised to learn that the majority of ITS Response Center employees are not computer science majors, he said. The student employees are pursuing such degrees as English, history, math, biology and political science.

“You don’t have to be a comp sci major to get into the field,” Cox said.

If you want to inquire about a student-employee job at the ITS Response Center, contact ITS at its_communications@unc.edu.

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