Working as a Student at KU’S CPPR

Pictured from left to right: Bridget Patti, Marcia Dvorak, Brandon Hutton, Taylor LaRue, Jevan Bremby, Rachel Willis 2017 Day at the Kansas Capitol Event

Photograph by Laura Kingston

I never pictured this as the student job that I would have throughout my time at the University of Kansas. I thought maybe I would be a server at a local restaurant or work in a retail store in Downtown Lawrence. My freshman year, I applied to work at the Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR) with very little knowledge of the type of work that was done there. Since that almost random selection of a student job, I have grown in more ways than I would have expected.

CPPR is a nonprofit research center under the University of Kansas. Its mission is to “optimize the well-being of children, youth, and families.” CPPR’s work culture fosters an environment where everyone is encouraged to try new things, collaborate often, and build relationships. Events like Student Appreciation Day, countless thank-yous, and the occasional tasty treat let us know that our work is appreciated.

The staff here makes it a point to get students involved and help us find our spark. A spark is something that motivates you and that you are passionate about. Finding your spark and utilizing it in the workplace can give you purpose and help find your calling. Although I consider my spark to be working with children, it isn’t what I chose to pursue as a career. The Kansas Enrichment Network has allowed me to incorporate my love for working with children into the work that I do by attending trainings and working hands on with the youth.

STEM activity with students at a Kansas Enrichment Network event

Photograph by Laura Kingston

Working alongside staff members that encourage me to get involved and pursue what I love has allowed me to find my true identity.

At CPPR, students are responsible for reconciling all University purchases, reimbursing travel for staff members, and helping out wherever is needed, but that’s not where I see the growth in my work. The staff at CPPR has given me numerous opportunities to get directly involved in the grant projects they work on every day. Fellow student worker, Gabrielle Jacobi also appreciates the indirect benefits of working at CPPR.

Gabrielle at CPPR

Photograph by Laura Kingston

“I’m able to learn about many ways our work impacts communities in Kansas including; training to help people deal with childhood trauma, connecting expectant mothers with vital resources, and highlighting the importance of afterschool programs.” – Gabrielle

This job allows us to put things learned in the classroom into real work experience. As a student in the School of Business, my daily tasks such as maintaining budget tools and creating project documents relate to my major. Gabrielle’s experience has been similar. 

“Lectures on copy editing have allowed me to help edit resources here at CPPR. Taylor’s accounting classes have allowed both of us to reconcile purchases with more accuracy.” – Gabrielle

I’ve created professional relationships with colleagues that have taught me to always have a little fun at work. The people I work with here are so passionate about their jobs. I’m not sure yet what I want to do with my life, but working here has made it clear to me that I want to find a career I love.

At work with fellow student worker Lindsey Goss

Photograph by Sean Blake

The people I am surrounded by every single day are driven by CPPR’s values

When we work together, amazing things can happen.” – Gabrielle

Thank you to everyone at our Center for allowing my job as a college student help me find my spark and grow as a young adult.

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