Finding an On-Campus Job



Photo from PSC Facebook of SeVohn Hunter and Lucy Litten

The hardest part about working in college may be finding a job on campus that fits your interests. “I really enjoy the Student Ambassador Program because it’s an excellent opportunity to encourage others to come to our college,” said Lucy Litten. “It has taught me how to talk with people and work on a team and I definitely plan on coming back next semester.”

Most of the jobs offered at Potomac State College are run through Federal Work Study, but there are also student employment jobs for students who are not awarded work study.

What is work study?

“Federal work study is a need-based “self-help” aid program which allows students to earn money by working a part-time job (up to 20 hours per week) on or off campus.” The student and their supervisor decide on a work schedule based on how much they are awarded and the student’s schedule. Students are paid $8.75 an hour and their money is deposited directly to their bank account. There is also a page on the PSC website that explains Federal Work Study. This page tells how to qualify for work study, what to do once you have qualified, and where to find Federal Work Study jobs. It also tells what to bring for payroll processing.

PSC Job Resource

MoutaineerTRAK is the best resource for finding an on-campus Federal Work Study job. After logging on to MountaineerTRAK using your MIX username and password, simply select WVU Keyser Campus under the employer directory. This will show all available jobs on campus.3cb88884-92ca-4013-850b-8c47e9dfb4ae

Work Study Jobs

Many work study jobs are office assistants, who complete tasks like making copies, organizing files and other basic office work. There are also more interesting positions. A student assistant for athletic training helps the athletic trainers of PSC sports teams during games and practices. Student assistants for marketing and communications write press releases and take photos for PSC public relations. Game workers work athletic events on campus for many different sports.

Student Employment Jobs

PSC also offers some interesting student employment jobs on campus. Student employment jobs pay $8.75/hour. The supervisor works with the student to determine a schedule that does not exceed 20 hours per week.

Resident Assistants are chosen through an application process at the beginning of each semester. RAs are appointed many responsibilities. These include attending activities on campus, organizing floor meetings, and completing work related duties and tasks. Moreover, they must meet academic standards at all times. RAs are compensating with a scholarship that pays for their room and board.


Photo by PSC Flickr

RA color crop

Photo by PSC Flickr of Emily Curtin and Rocky Morgan

The Student Ambassador Program is a revamped job on campus. Student Ambassadors make calls to prospective students, answer any questions they may have, and schedule tours or meetings with the needed persons on campus. Student Ambassadors also prepare the materials for open houses, orientations and tours. They are also trained to lead tours.

Dining services offers many positions on campus, both work study and student employment jobs. Workers for dining services prepare and serve food. “The student worker positions are competitive due to the number of applicants. While no experience is necessary, we look for students with good attitudes and stress the importance of dependability,” said Brian Olden, food service manager.

The Academic Success Center hires student employees as tutors. There are also student employment jobs offered at the farms and the equine facility.

With so many work study and student employment jobs to choose from, finding the perfect one should be a breeze.

PSC Men’s Lacrosse Update

by Cody Brazil

The Potomac State College Men’s Lacrosse team begins the season with a streak of 3 losses. They played at Delaware Technical Community College on February 21, resulting in a score of 19-10 in favor DTCC. They then played at Harford Community College on February 24, ending in favor of HCC with a final score of 17-3. The most recent game the Catamounts have played was at home against Hudson Valley Community College on February 26. The game ended in the final score of 10-5 in favor of HVCC.

The 2018 team roster is filled with players from all over. There are 7 players from Maryland, 6 players from West Virginia, 2 players from Pennsylvania, a player from Massachusetts, a player from Missouri, a player from Delaware, a player from Virginia, a player from Ohio and a player from North Carolina. The team is led by head coach Josh Seese, who is coaching for his second season at PSC.

Upcoming games include a home game against Mercyhurst North East on March 3 at 5:30 p.m. and an away game at Howard Community College at 4 p.m. Be sure to head out and show your Catamount pride.

For more in-depth data on the scores of the games that have already been played you can check out the Men’s Lacrosse page on the PSC website.

The STEM Festival Returns to PSC

By Cody Brazil

Drone Photo for Online

David Miller tinkers with his drone before the STEM festival. Photo by Cody Brazil.

The time for the Potomac State College student body to showcase their knowledge in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math is almost upon us. The STEM festival, which is a day for the community to learn about many interesting topics in those fields from the students themselves, will be taking place on March 24, 2018 from 12-4p.m.

Past favorites such as green screen technologies and Rubik’s Cubes mosaics will be making a return this year, but some new and exciting demonstrations will be on display this year. One of these displays will be the drone demonstration put on by David Miller of the PSC library.

Miller explained that he will be setting up an obstacle course for people to fly a training drone through, so that they may learn the basics of operating a drone. Miller went on to talk about how bigger drones have built-in GPS to keep them level in the wind and smaller ones do not. Teaching people to fly on a smaller drone helps them to build the skill to manually keep their drone level if the GPS were to ever go out.

Drones are going to play a bigger part in industries, such as shipping, so it is important for people to get comfortable with the use, and soon we will have to decide laws on how drones will be allowed to be operated. So it is important for people to gain experience in order for them to make informed decisions,” said Miller on why it is important to learn about drones at a young age.

“Hands on Anatomy” is a display that will be returning this year that aims to teach the public a little more about their bodies. The display consists of posters that will be created by the Anatomy and Physiology 2 students. Each poster will cover a different organ system that the students will be on site to explain. Along with the posters there will be actual dissected organisms on display for viewers to interact with. This display is put on by Sheri Chisolm the PSC Anatomy and Physiology professor. Chisolm explained that she loves the STEM festival because she enjoys interacting with the public and seeing her students be able to teach the materials that she taught them.

“A lot of what we will be teaching transcribes to human health, so hopefully you’ll be able to be your own advocate at the doctor,” said Chisolm

The engineering department is doing a Moon Racers Robotics Obstacle Course and a Solar System Rocket Launch. There will also be a display on identifying different kinds of trees and a math activity about triangles.

“It’s a can’t miss opportunity for families to explore all aspects of science,” said Andrea Schafer, STEM Festival organizer. The event is free.

Greenback Observatory Researcher Lectures at PSC

By Matthew Timbrook, Contributing Writer

Green Bank Pictures

Andrew Seymour gives his lecture in the Davis Conference Center. Photo by Matthew Timbrook

The students and guests gathered in the Davis Conference Center to experience a close encounter of the third kind, but it wasn’t an extraterrestrial who had come to deliver a message.

Dr. Andrew Seymour, a researcher from Arecibo Observatory and Green Bank Observatory, came to share a presentation on the subject of radio astronomy.

Seymour is an experienced astronomer who has worked as a research associate at Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico made famous as the setting of the 1997 lm “Contact” starring Jodi Foster. In addition to working on the cutting edge of radio astronomy, Seymour attended Potomac State College in 2002 and was a research assistant in the Department of Physics at West Virginia University from 2010 to 2014.

In his presentation, entitled “Fast Radio Burst: The Eagles of The Universe,” Seymour showed the relative size of the massive satellite dishes used in radio astronomy, discussed some of the techniques currently being applied to discover pulsars and explained how radio waves can be identi ed by likening them to bird calls.

The students in the audience asked questions about some of the technical aspects of scanning the skies.

Seymour emphasized the importance of passionate students offering fresh perspectives “Radio astronomy is a eld that still has engineering puzzles to be solved,” he said “Finding new solutions to these problems will quickly result in great scienti c advances.”

At the end of the presentation, the students were given details and directions on how to sign-up to further their education through research programs.

For more information on the Arecibo Observatory and Green Bank Observatory, you can visit and

PSC Fly-Fishing Course Coming Back this Spring



Students and community members will get the opportunity to learn the aspects of fly-fishing in PSC’s returning Spring course. Photo by The New York Times.

By Levi Linn


Students and members of the community can take a course that isn’t about hitting the books — it’s about learning how to fly fish. Potomac State College’s Introduction to Fly-Fishing course returns this spring.
Professor Tom Sydow is co-teaching with Charlie Laffey who has extensive knowledge of the Savage River watershed and regional Brook Trout streams. “He’s like a walking encyclopedia,” said Sydow regarding his colleague.
In this course, students will gain all the tools and knowledge they need to pursue this unique hobby. Students will learn about the equipment used, knot tying, entomology (the study of insects), how to read the water and on-stream tactics. All equipment for this course will be provided by the instructors.
“I’m always excited,” said Sydow when asked how he felt about the class starting soon. Sydow has been fly-fishing for almost 30 years and still enjoys it. “It means spring’s here.”
Sydow describes fly-fishing as far more advanced than regular fishing. It’s more difficult but more rewarding and far more interactive as opposed to sitting and waiting for a fish to bite. “Students will be interested because it’s an entirely different style of fishing than most people are used to,” said Sydow, “It’s interesting and takes a lot of skill.”
As for teaching with his colleague Laffey, Sydow can’t wait to get started. “It’s always fun with Laffey,” said Sydow, “We’re both easy going and very enthusiastic about teaching this subject.” Sydow and Laffey have fished together for years.
The fly-fishing class starts on March 8, with meetings every other Thursday in Science Hall 120 from 5-8 p.m. The cost is $99, and the course fills up quickly. The course is open to both students and the public, and registration is available on the PSC website. For more information on the course, contact
Sydow at

Growing Textbook Prices a Problem on the Rise

For some college students, textbook prices are a heavy weight that they can’t always afford. Potomac State College business student, Zoe Sypolt, stated she budgets $500-$1,000 for her text books each year. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the price of textbooks has risen from January 1977 to June 2015 by a 1,041 percent increase.


The chart above shows the increase of textbook prices from 1977 to 2015, based on information from BLS.

Impact on Students

Lesley Nester, a PSC freshman, typically uses her financial aid to pay for books but still explained, “it’s a lot of money for books I don’t use.” Payten Reese, PSC sophomore, finds himself in the same scenario. “It’s ridiculous, considering you don’t use them half the time,” said Reese. Alex Ritte, a PSC student, said she uses rentals and online option to try to “take down cost as much as possible.” Sarah Hutton, a nursing student at Allegany College of Maryland, stated she spent $1,500 for one semester of books, $500 for another semester, and $400 for her most recent books. All of these she said she only used “a couple of times.”

Online Course Materials

Some classes don’t require a traditional textbook but online access codes. These codes are typically used to do online homework and provide access to a digital copy of the textbook. These codes also provide extra resources like studying tools or help from tutors. The only downside to this option is the cost. According to The New York Times the average online textbook access code bundle costs $126.

Math professor Dr. Stephanie Beck Roth explains that the benefit of these codes outweighs the cost. Through the program Beck Roth uses, students perform mastery learning. Through this method of learning, students must repeatedly get questions correct before they can move on to the next section. Beck Roth stated that with this program she has seen an increase in test scores. She believes with this system of learning, students are understanding more material.

Beck Roth also sympathized with the struggle to buy expensive books as a young person. “I was a student in this situation, it wasn’t easy,” said Beck Roth. She recollects stressing to the point of tears over having to purchase a $300 textbook in her college days.

“I typically don’t purchase textbooks for classes,” said PSC student James Beall. Beall expressed his frustration in already having to pay heavy amounts in student loans. “It would be a different story if I were failing classes, because then it would just be irresponsible for me not to buy books. But anything I need to know that goes unanswered in class I can find on one of the many databases provided to students by West Virginia University Libraries or other scholarly sources.” Beall also explained that his primary professor, Nicklaus Goff, is so good at teaching, that his ample class notes enable him to succeed.

This situation isn’t uncommon for students, however. Based on a study by NBC news, 65% of students admitted that they skipped buying books– some because they couldn’t afford them.


Image from screenshot of video by NBC News.

 What’s the Solution?

This epidemic hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. On Oct. 8, 2015, the Affordable College Textbook Act was presented to Congress. Within the bill it states, “more must be done to address rising costs.” It argues that with the rising price of books, opportunities for higher education diminish for some who can’t afford it. The goal of this bill is to expand the use of digital open textbooks to achieve savings for students. This would be made possible with educational grants.

Open textbooks are “high-quality college texts with an “open” copyright license allowing the material to be freely accessed, shared and adapted,” as defined by WVU is now offering training to faculty on open textbooks.

Professors can also place their textbooks on reserve for students to use within the library. More than 70 courses have texts on reserve. One professor who makes most of her required textbooks available is English professor, Dr. Martha Johnson-Olin.

“I believe in providing my students with as many opportunities to succeed as possible,” said Johnson-Olin, “I worked my way through school, so I know what it is like to need two or three paychecks to buy a semester’s worth of textbooks. I want my students to know that they can succeed in my classes regardless of any financial struggles they may be experiencing.” Johnson-Olin stated that she makes sure her students know her books are available in the library, but they don’t always take advantage of it. “It depends on the student’s drive to succeed. I make the resources available to help, but it is a student’s choice to use the materials.”

Johnson-Olin also stated how she dislikes the rising textbook prices just as much as her students do. She attempts to provide open online access materials to help save money. “I have passed on excellent textbooks when I feel the cost is not reasonable for my students,” said Johnson-Olin.

Lastly, Johnson-Olin wishes that students understand a key aspect about textbooks: “Most teachers do not decide to use a book randomly or on a whim, and we build our courses carefully around the book(s) we ask students to purchase.” Johnson-Olin also explained that if students expect professors to be prepared for class, they should do their best to be prepared as well.

The rise in textbook prices is due to lack of competition in the textbook publishing industry. According to, only five publishers control 80 percent of the market. One of the most commonly known and wealthiest of these is McGraw-Hill Education. McGraw-Hill made a revenue of $2 billion in 2014 alone.

With this kind of industry, the average college student will spend approximately $655 on text books each year, based on information from The National Association of College Stores (NACS). But this price could be much higher with books costing as much as $300. The PSC website does not list an average cost for books per semester.

Resident Assistants Receive Training

By Cody Brazil, Editor

RA color crop

Resident Assistants Emily Curtin (Left) and Rocky Morgan (Right) hard at work. Photo Courtesy of the Potomac State College Flickr

While Resident Assistants enjoy benefits such as free housing and dining plans, their lives can be an extremely stressful, dealing with problematic peers and juggling work and college. PSC provides training to prepare the students for the position.

Carissa Carter was a RA at PSC in the fall semester of 2016. She admitted to retiring from the position because she did not feel that she personally was ready to cater to other freshmen’s needs while she was getting used to college herself, but she spoke very highly of the ten-day training camp that every RA has to go through.

“So basically during the training we did a lot of team building exercises, we had a re training, active shooter training and a bunch of other general safety classes. Besides that, we just made decorations for our halls and our resident’s doors. It was a lot of fun,” said Carter.

Carter felt that the training period was a good time and the information learned was relevant to her position as a new RA. But not every person who went through the training felt the same way. A current RA who wishes to remain anonymous admitted feeling that the training period only contained one day of relevant training.

“The main job of a RAs to build a community on their floor. It is important to us that our residents feel at home on their floors,” said Michael Lynch the PSC resident hall supervisor.

Lynch stated that the RA training is an intensive week-and-a-half long program where the RAs are trained to adequately do their jobs while attempting to achieve three main goals set for them: building a community on their floor, completing administrative duties and teambuilding among the RAs.

“For a lot of the residents, this is their first time being away from home, so we try to make sure the transition is both seamless and a little fun for them.”

– Colton Dickerson, University Place resident assistant.

A RA on the PSC campus is tasked with building a bond of trust and mutual respect with their residents. They do this by planning programs for the residents and by generally keeping up with their residents. Lynch stated that it is clear when RAs are not doing their job because residents start to move off of the floor.

“RA’ s take a lot of heat for simply doing their jobs. This can be difficult, especially in younger RAs, because it can make them nervous to do their jobs. This is probably the main reason for turnovers in the RA positions,” said Lynch.

The RAs are obligated to complete certain administrative tasks while they are in the position. These tasks can range from roving the halls to handing out temporary keys and guest passes. Lynch would like to ensure residents that the admin responsibilities are completed to ensure the safety of the residents.

“It is a common misconception that when an RA is roving they are out trying to get people in trouble. They are not. They are just out to make sure the halls are safe; they look for broken glass or even lights that may have burned out in the stairwells. But they are instructed to deal with any violations they come across,” Said Lynch.

The final goal of the RA training is to stress the importance of team building. The RAs are backed by their supervisors when they are forced to enforce disciplinary actions.

They always have a Resident Hall Coordinator or Lynch himself on call to back them up if they are not comfortable handling anything alone.

PSC recently hired six new RAs for the spring semester who also underwent training for the position.