Summer Shifts


While last year’s SPARK@Home program was condensed into a fully virtual format, SPARK has returned back to an in-person format this summer. Marquette Wire stock photo

As COVID-19 cases slowly decline and vaccination rates rise, a variety of summer jobs have changed their protocols since last summer. 

Marquette University’s Summer Priority Advising and Registration Kick-off gives incoming students the opportunity to meet other students, register for classes and adjust to being on campus before the school year begins.

SPARK leadership roles are held by current Marquette students who facilitate small group discussions at the summer program for first-year students. As a SPARK leader, students must complete various training throughout the spring and into the summer, including five two-day sessions throughout June. In return, SPARK leaders get paid a stipend of $1200. 

While last year’s SPARK@Home program was condensed into a fully virtual format, SPARK has returned back to an in-person format this summer.

Elizabeth Jonas, a junior in the College of Nursing and SPARK orientation leader, says it was her own experience at SPARK a few years ago that attracted her to the position. 

When I went through SPARK/Orientation, I remember thinking about how fun it seemed to be as a student leader and I wanted to experience it myself,” Jonas says. “I thought it would be the perfect way to have a lot of fun, meet a lot of new people and give back to students who are in the position I was in a couple of years ago.” 

Although Jonas was not a part of last year’s SPARK@Home, she is thrilled to be able to give guidance to other students in person. 

“It’s hard to feel connected to others through our screens, whereas in person you can actually interact with one another beyond answering the questions the leaders are asking, seeing names on screen and following one another on Instagram,” Jonas says.  

However, campus jobs aren’t the only positions shifting their format this summer.

Lily Kate Rogers, a junior in the College of Business Administration and intern at L3Harris Commercial Aviation, is now able to go into her office, unlike last summer.

As a procurement intern, Rogers works as a purchaser, which entails calling suppliers to get parts to make military products ranging from black boxes in airplanes to navigation systems. 

However, because Rogers is the only intern in her department, she says she still works from home a majority of the week. 

“The position I have now was fully remote last summer due to COVID-19, and it still continues to be partially remote,” Rogers says. “But the times I come into the office are by far my favorite part solely because of the relationships I’ve made.” 

However, supply chain management is only the surface of what Rogers has learned from her internship. 

“I have come to realize from working in a corporate setting for the first time that the job can be a lot more than sitting at your cubicle and plugging away at an excel sheet,” Rogers says. “I’ve learned to work with others and step out of my comfort zone.” 

Gabriel Fernandez, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, also had to step out of his comfort zone while working in construction this summer. 

Fernandez’s job entails demolishing outdoor decks, then constructing new ones in the Milwaukee area.

“It’s very labor-oriented and I’ve never had a job like that before,” Fernandez says. “Working in the summer heat is also difficult to get used to at first.” 

Fernandez was first introduced to the job by a friend, and because of its good starting pay and the ability to work right away, he decided it was a venture worth trying. Since then, Fernandez says he has surprised himself with all that he has accomplished. 

“Seeing the completed decks at the end of the day, and how much work you put in to make that happen is super satisfying and very rewarding,” Fernandez says. 

Although Fernandez’s job has always been in person, he says he is glad COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to lift and that a variety of summer jobs no longer involve staring at a computer screen all day.

This story was written by Claire Driscol. She can be reached at