Meet Andrés Castellanos
College: School of Industrial Labor Relations
Major: Industrial Labor Relations
Campus employment: Student Supervisor, The Cornell Store
Career Readiness Competencies gained:
- Equity & Inclusion
Students work at campus jobs and internships ranging from office support to peer advisor to intramural referee -- many of which are hosted within Student & Campus Life. In the interview below, learn more about Andrés Castellanos, who is employed as a Student Supervisor at The Cornell Store.
Out of all the opportunities on campus, why did you choose this one?
Before I arrived at Cornell, I knew I needed a job. I wanted a job, extra money, and I looked into it. What ultimately made me choose the store is that I would be connecting with a lot of students and families. Everyone that comes to campus passes through the store. I thought would be so fun to interact with them and get to know people. I consider myself a people person, so to be in the heart of campus, I thought there’s no better place to go than here.
Describe some of your responsibilities
I take on student projects, and I am a liaison between the professional staff and students. I am one of five student supervisors. We oversee about 60-70 student staff members and balance assignments and department needs. I also am responsible for filling in as needed. I am in charge of training and coaching new student hires.
What skills have you developed in your campus job?
- Equity and Inclusion: Being able to communicate with others properly is important. People are so different than one another. You cannot just use a general formula for everyone. Also, part of my job is getting to learn everyone on staff individually and to be there for them. If they have a concern or issue, I am there to help them and to get them to the right person.
- Leadership: I am taking initiative. I’m a supervisor now, I’m close to the managers, and so I can share my ideas, and they’re willing to learn from the students. For example, I am a part of the student supervisor team effort to revamp nametags so that they have our colleges and pronouns on them.
- I’m thinking bigger picture. As a supervisor, I work on Saturdays when most pro-staff are not in, but students are. And even though, I’m not there for the whole day, I have to plan for the whole day, not just that part I’m there for, making sure everyone gets their lunch, making sure we’re well-staffed for the hotspot times, making sure we’re covered from opening to closing.
- Teamwork: I worked for the first semester as a student worker and was then asked to apply for the supervisor role if I wanted to. I applied for it. I clicked with the management, with the students, with the full-time staff, with the part-time staff. I just felt like I clicked with them, and I was able to communicate well with all of them. I put myself out there and helped as much as possible.
- Professionalism: School is great for learning, but it isn’t the practice of first-hand experience.
What comes out of your position that most surprised you?
I’ve gotten better at working under pressure. There are days where the line gets to the back of the store. It can be stressful, but I’ve worked on how I react to it. I look at the long line, and instead of looking at it as a whole, I go one-by-one and focus on the moment. When we have a lot to do, a lot of assignments, I look at the big picture and assess and schedule it, but once I start in on a project, I focus on the thing I’m working on.
What experiences or skills have you developed that you feel will help you down the road in your career?
Definitely management skills. I’ve learned how to deal with internal conflicts. I don’t get to see that in the classroom. I watch my managers model how to handle different situations. There’s a whole science, a whole art, behind how to handle the situation, and it’s not I win, you lose. It should be win/win. We are there to sell and promote products, but more than that, we are a community of employees who are there all the time and want to be comfortable and safe.
There’s so much talent in every student and staff member. It’s fun to see how they can blossom their talents. I’m not a good marketing person, and I want to be, so I work a lot with the person who does that here. It’s nice to see how she places things and she explains why she is doing it that way.
What advice do you have for other students interested in an on-campus job?
I couldn’t recommend it enough. Cornell is divided by colleges obviously, and whatever on-campus job you have, that’s another one community you’re a part of and it allows you to meet people outside your school. You are connecting with other students from across campus who are going through the same thing. You’re also working and learning things that you cannot in a textbook.