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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

JOURNAL: Building Summer Connections

Photo by courtesy of Elizabeth Jonas
SPARK leader Elizabeth Jonas (far right) poses for a photo with her friends.

For some students, living in the Milwaukee area for nine month is not enough, so some stay for twelve. During the summertime at Marquette, the typical trips to the classroom are replaced with trips to the Alumni Memorial Union, clinics and other locations around Milwaukee to participate in summer work.

Some people may assume students take on summer jobs for one main purpose: financial compensation. But a number of Marquette students say that there are many more opportunities that come with working over the summer, particularly on campus.

“You know, it is worth noting that since we aren’t spending time in class, there are so many more opportunities to be social and to get to know other people,” Elizabeth Jonas, a senior in the College of Nursing and SPARK leader director says. “In fact, you aren’t even allowed to be taking summer classes if you are working for SPARK.”

Last summer, SPARK was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has returned to its original in-person format this summer, giving SPARK leaders an opportunity to grow, learn and have fun.

Jonas, who first joined SPARK last summer, says she joined for the convenience of living in Milwaukee.

“I think it was perfect for me because I was able to live in Milwaukee, make money, and learn a lot about myself and the community,” Jonas says.

Jonas says that she didn’t expect the connections and friends she built through SPARK.

“We’re forced to socialize and be with each other a lot, so you kind of get so comfortable with the people around you that when you’re not working you wanna just keep hanging out,” Jonas says. 

However, SPARK is not the only way for students to work on campus or in the Milwaukee area.

Anna Schuster, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, is working at a physical therapy clinic outside of Mequon, Wisconsin. This year is her first summer living in Milwaukee, and she says that she is grateful for the opportunity ahead of her senior year.

“I needed to find a weekday job over the summer and I obviously wanted a job that would help me gain experience in the field of physical therapy that I want to pursue,” Schuster says.

Schuster says that working in an actual clinic is a lot different than simply learning the same tasks in the classroom.

“A lot of what I’ve learned in the past couple semesters has been a lot of textbook information and not real practice,” Schuster says. “So it is great to have an opportunity to truly apply these concepts in the professional world.”

Schuster says that she has furthered her knowledge in her field because of the clinic, and plans to “hold on” to everything she learns.

Jayla Taylor, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, works as a tutor counselor for the Upper Bound Pre-College Program, and serves as a college mentor for high school seniors throughout the week.

“All throughout high school I was able to do summer programs involved with kids from minority backgrounds like myself, so I wanted to continue to be able to stay invested with the kids of Milwaukee, to serve as a reminder of what they can achieve if they work hard,” Taylor says. “A lot of kids from less privileged backgrounds need reminders of the opportunities that are out there for them, which is highlighted in the Upper Bound Program.”

Like other students, Taylor says the connections she has made through the program continue to make her confident in her choice to work over the summer.

“I have met a lot of fellow TCs who are here with the same purpose as me, serving as mentors, and I have been able to serve as a mentor to a large group of high school seniors looking for answers about college and the experience as a whole,” Taylor says.

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About the Contributor
TJ Dysart
TJ Dysart, Content Coach
TJ Dysart is a junior from Boston, Massachusetts studying journalism and criminology and law and is the content coach of the Marquette Wire. Last year, he also served in this role. Prior to this position he served as a new multimedia journalist as well as a news reporter. He is also currently the 2023-2024 Foley Fellow for The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. Outside the Wire, TJ enjoys playing basketball, cooking and hanging out with friends.

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